It was a beautiful day. I was at work at a cube farm that I had just transferred to, sitting in a sterile conference room when a lady passes through and told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. “How big a plane?” I asked. I had a passing thought about that small plane that hit the Empire State Building about 50 years ago.
“Oh, I don’t know.” She answered, “Pretty weird, huh?” She shuffled out the door on her way to make a batch of copies for some unknown file somewhere.
There were no TVs inside the cube farm. Radio reception was spotty at best so I left the conference room and sought out a friend of mine who I knew was a news junkie and man of all media (let’s call him Pax Romano). Pax was attempting to get a decent signal from his radio by adjusting the antenna and dial. He must have sensed my presence. He glanced over his shoulder and asked, “Do you believe this?”
“What do you got?” I asked as the two of us huddled around his radio. He began explaining what had happened, that it wasn’t a small plane – that it didn’t sound like an accident. I remember that another co-worker and friend (let’s call her Zelda Parker) joined us at his cube she was one of the people training me in my new position. The three of us heard the announcement that a second plane had hit the other tower. The creeping fear that this was an attack instead of an accident was confirmed in our minds. We just stared at each other with looks of disbelief on our faces as we listened on.
I had to retrieve my work from the conference room and rendezvoused over at Zelda Parker’s cubical. She too had a small radio and had managed to find a decent signal. I called my wife, Mother Hen waking her up in the process. I told her to turn on the television and brought her up to speed on the unfolding events. I needed to talk to her just to touch base with some constant in my life. I told her that I loved her and went back to listening to the radio with Zelda. We listened to anything we could – desperately gathering information as it came over the radio. Mother Hen called and told me that the Pentagon had been hit. I passed this along to Zelda. Once more I told my wife that I loved her and returned to listening to the radio with Zelda. We heard that United 93 went down somewhere in PA and we were there listening when the first tower fell. “This is not good.” Zelda said.
I looked at her, agreeing without saying anything. “Zelda, I’ve got to find a television. I’m going to Wal-Mart.” I said. The Wal-Mart was across the street. And that’s what I did. When I exited the cube farm I looked skyward and was struck by the fact that there was nothing to be seen. No air traffic whatsoever. It was all shut down – from coast to coast.
The world would never again be the same.
Wal-Mart failed me. They did not have any live feed in the store. The first video that I saw was later in the afternoon while Zelda and I were at a field visit down in Wildwood Crest. We stared in slack jawed and terrible wonder.
Certain moments in time always have resonance; the Kennedy assassination the space shuttle blowing up and 9/11. They are part of our shared collective unconscious. 9/11 should never be forgotten. 3,000 lives ended that day in the only attack on American soil in my lifetime. Blind agendas, no matter what they claim to be, are dangerous. Osama Bin Laden has friends – that’s why he hasn’t been captured or killed. There are people out there actively planning what the where’s, why’s and how’s of the next attack will be. Life in the twenty-first century now means being ready (or at least as ready as possible). Always being vigilant and walking around with one’s eyes open has become one of our most important defenses. It pays to be observant these days.
So on this anniversary I humbly whisper a prayer for the future and remember three thousand people who were just going about their everyday business on 9/11, six years prior only to be murdered by the madness of a blind agenda of hatred spawned half a world away. …Everyday people like you and I Gentle Reader – just like you and I. Who knew that we were so hated, so feared? I didn’t. I do now but prior to 9/11, I was blissfully unaware of the many thousands of people who were plotting to kill me – me; a humble infidel – no not a person or human being with thoughts or feelings or aspirations mind you – an infidel. Infidels are easier to kill than human beings are. It’s less messy that way – after being indoctrinated and everything.
Que Sara Sara. We live in interesting times, Gentle Reader; interesting times indeed. Enough about psyche; this blog is about memorializing a moment in time.
…So where were you when the towers fell?