My reflections on 9/11.

I remember pretty clearly where I was and the events that unfolded around me on September 11th, 2001. I was at work sitting in my cubical when the first coworker came by and mentioned something about a plane accident they had heard on the radio just before they got out of the car and had I heard anything else about it. Of course it turned out not to be a plane accident and before long both of the TVs in the cafeteria were tuned to CNN and most of the employees were crowded into the room, watching as the towers burned and eventually fell.  I can remember clearly the reactions of my fellow employees, the most common of which was stunned horror at what they were witnessing on the screens. The gasps among some people when the first tower fell, the open weeping among others when the second tower collapsed, the growing anger among yet another group as the full impact of what had occurred started to hit home.

Myself, I was a little surprised, but no where near as shocked as a lot of people seemed to be. I tend to pay more attention to various news sources than a lot of people I know and I can recall various investigators and reports over the years that have been saying that something like 9/11 was not only possible, but growing more likely with each passing day. If anything, I was amazed it had taken so long to come to pass.

My response to the tragedy struck some folks as being a bit emotionless and it’s true that in emergencies I tend to keep my emotions in check. Certainly I didn’t feel the anger that a lot of folks felt over the attack. I wasn’t particularly frightened by the attacks nor was I worried that something might happen here in Michigan. While I did empathize with the loss of so many people, I wasn’t overcome with grief or appalled at the scale of the event. My two most immediate thoughts were first that we needed to figure out who was responsible and bring them to justice and secondly that the damage from the attack would reach beyond the loss of life and property to damage the freedoms and liberties that are a part of what make America great.

Massive tragedies such as the events of 9/11 are the stuff of every demagogue’s wet dream and I knew it was a matter of hours before they would be out in force and milking it for all they could. Americans in general seem to be easily swayed by demagogues when emotions are running high and that’s often when the greatest damage to the country is done. Yes, the loss of life was massive as was the loss of property, but some of the greatest damage to come from these attacks would be the intangible damage we would inflict on ourselves and our way of life. It’s that last sort of damage that the terrorists are most happy about.

Pardon me for a moment. The fire alarm here at work just went off.

Well, that was interesting. As we filed out into the parking lot most folks assumed it was a drill until the fire trucks pulled up. That’s when people starting talking about how today is September 11th. I could tell that some of my Arabic coworkers were suddenly feeling a little self-conscious and one or two people did seem to be eyeing them warily. I made a point to go over and engage them in some pointless banter to try and lighten the situation a bit. Turned out it was a false alarm caused by someone changing a light bulb and setting off a sensor by accident, but it was amazing how quickly people started to jump to conclusions when the fire trucks started arriving. And that’s exactly the sort of damage I was talking about.

11 thoughts on “My reflections on 9/11.

  1. I had a reaction of shock and horror. I yelled, I cried. But in 2 years, I have come to accept it all and go on. The only reason I cried today was because I was listening to the kids of the dead reciting names and crying. It bothered me that we would use children to tug at heartstrings and continue to make a case for war. That’s what it was in my opinion. Keep playing this over and over and the people will support the war. Bush knew and did nothing. People are dead and he did nothing. I am more angry about that then anything else at this point. I just wish people would share happier memories then keep replaying the deaths .

  2. I was mildly surprised when it happened. I knew we would eventually get hit but not so spectacularly, that was the only brief moment of shock I felt. Since then it has been one big exploitation after another using 9-11 to sell Americans on the idea of a war without end, remember the Alamo folks, remember the Alamo.

    I am angry at the pointless loss of life in the towers but I was angry about Rawanda, saddened by Kosovo, disgusted at Liberia. Death occurs every day on a scale sometimes unimaginable in the name of politics, religion, or just plain cruel stupidity. Was 9-11 a tragedy? You bet, and that is why it is even that much more reprehensible to use it to market war to a grieving nation.

  3. I had horror that day, but then I was working four miles uptown when it happened.

    I wrote this last year, and while I’ve come to accept things, there’s still a psychic wound, of sorts, in NYC. This yawning pit downtown sort of really calls for closure, instead of jingoism.

    I’m with Kat—using children to raise emotions is contemptible. I was rendered speechless earlier when I read it here and on her site and didn’t comment, as it really made me pissed off.

    Quelle surprise, eh?

    I still feel skittish at times in the city; it’s hard not to, given all that’s happened. The nightmares stopped, finally, but that’s to be expected. We all lost people we knew, or knew of, that day.

    As I said earlier today on my site: pax.

  4. If you somehow thought that I was being overly sentimental and weepy Mild Bill, perish the thought. I am just as sick of the state sanctioned yearly televised sob-fest as I am of the half-assed knee jerk flag waving “patriots”. I am all for a person dealing with their grief privately, not on public display playing to the cameras to whip up public outrage for our hundred year war on terror.

    Mark Fiore has given me something to remember on a day when I didn’t feel like joining the rest of the nation in a pity party. Since when has becoming paralyzed with fear and crippling sorrow the way to move on?

  5. Who was bitching about there not being grieving to our liking? I was low-key this year, as were most folks I know.

    Take the blinders off, dude.

  6. Scott

    Did you call me Dude?  Anyway I refer to when the blogger known as Kat who said:

    But who was he?
    Was he good and kind, cruel and mean, funny and brilliant? What is your favorite memory of him?
    What was the greatest day of his life? The day he married? The birth of his first child? Graduating from college?
    What was it? Who was he??
    Is there nothing you can smile over?
    Is there no memory of joy that can wipe the number of the floor from your mind even for just a moment?
    All these pictures of faces and buttons with faces.
    Who were they?
    I don

  7. You AmeriKKKans make a big deal out of everything. People are dead so get over it because it was you who brought it on yourselves. Stop whining and trying to gain some sympathy. AmeriKKKa isn’t the center of the world and it never will be.

  8. @ Getoverit:
    The entity that is America may by it’s foreign policy have brought tragedy upon itself, but the people that died were individuals. Although I do think that perhaps to other cultures Americans do seem to go over the top with things, but that’s cultural differences for you.

    I think senseless and insensitive namecalling is not only pointless it is callous, I think perhaps you should accept that Americans have their way of grieving, nobody is forcing you to listen or take part in their grief, so maybe take some of your own advice and ‘get over it’.

  9. My previous post was brought to you on behalf of feed a troll(TM) a registered charity, no trolls were harmed during the making of the above post…. raspberry

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