Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11 Remembered

I drove to work on 9/11 oblivious to what was happening. I was listening to a CD in my truck instead of the radio. When I arrived at work I went straight to my office and gathered some papers I had intended to give Larry, a coworker on the Garnet team, the previous day and I headed off to his office. I first heard about the crashes standing in the door frame of Larry’s office. “Did you hear a plane’s crashed into the World Trade Center? They think a second one may have just crashed as well”. Larry said. I responded something like: “That’s doesn’t sound like an accident, that’s an act of war.” I remember the war thought clearly. I recall immediately thinking things in the world had just changed dramatically even though at this point the buildings still stood tall and I had no idea that the planes had been hijacked airliners.

I left Larry’s office wishing I was at home so I could turn on the news. I wandered down back towards my office when it dawned on me that the Iris second floor lunch room had a TV. I bolted up the stairs to the second floor. The lunch room was already fairly full with people fixated in the TV. I can’t recall who was in the room or if found a seat or stood but I can recall the stunned, jaw open looks on peoples faces when the first tower fell. My own feeling I find hard to describe. Like most people I felt a mixture of horror and awe but I also felt excitement. I’m embarrassed to admit that last emotion but it was there. The best I can describe it is like the feeling of excitement when you get in a fight and you’ve just been hit by the first punch and you now feel morally justified to unleash your own civilly constrained animal anger and violence.

The rest of the day and the following weeks are a blur. I recall watching a lot of news and feeling a pent up anger aimed at Afghanistan as we waited for the seemingly unavoidable war to follow. I recall all the flags people hung on their cars and doors. I recall the giant smoking pile of rubble and human remains that had once been the two towers. And I recall the seemingly never ending funerals for the lost firefighters and other emergency responders.

Sitting here now, it seems almost like ancient history even though it was only four year ago. The event changed me like I’m sure they changed most every other American. I’ve changed in ways I recognize and probably in ways I don’t. Personally, I know I’m more jingoistic than I ever was before and while most people still label me a Liberal, I’m finding less and less of the Liberal agenda I agree with. It will be interesting to see how things change in my perspective on the major anniversaries of this event to come.

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