September 11, 2006

The WTC and Me...

When I was 17 years old, in the summer of 1994, I was part of a summer program that invited science students to New York for two week to study and be a part of "real" high level research. Among the amazing and wonderful things we did that summer was a tour of New York City. After taking the Circle line out to the Statue of Liberty and back, we boarded the bus and went into downtown. We stopped at the foot of the World Trade Center.

I remember looking up and up and up, unable to see the top. Wondering at the immense feat of engineering standing before me. Face to face with these twin giants, my friend and I laughed at the presumption of a handful of terrorists who tried to bring it down with a truck bomb. My friend J said, "You know, they built the towers to withstand a hit by a 747." We were all duly impressed. It seemed like overkill.

And it became a joke amongst us.

Fast forward 7 years.

September 11, 2001. 9 am.
I was sleeping in. It had been a late night Monday night, as a friend who had been staying with us in NC was set to fly back to CA that afternoon. Also, I was supposed to teach that afternoon after taking her to the airport.

The phone rang. It was my husband, stationed in TX in the army. "Turn on the TV." he said. "Any channel".

I fumbled for the remote, half awake, and turned on the TV to see the WTC, one tower standing, the other on fire from a gaping hole near the top. The morning show people were just beginning to realize that it wasn't a cessna that hit the building, but a fully loaded jumbo jetliner.

Before I could comprehend that, another jet hit the other tower. And I knew.

My heart stood still. But still, I thought, the buildings will stand. The people can get out, or be rescued from the roof, right?

I called my parents and Ben, woke up my friends, and crawled to the big TV in the den. What next? Were there more planes? Were any of my friends there?

The rest of the day is a blur of images: People jumping from the buildings, the towers collapsing in a cloud of ash, that video of the asian woman running in high heels and nearly being run down as the towers collapsed behind her. I remember screaming "just take your damn shoes off so you can run..."

I don't remember eating, and I don't think I slept. I just sat in front of the tv. The towers came down. They were supposed to withstand the unthinkable, that kind of hit, but they came down anyway.

I spoke to my friend a few days later. We reminisced about that day at the towers, and how we all believed them to be invincible. And how that came to stand for a lot of things. And now those things were gone.

I think we grew up a lot on September 11, 2001. But it's easy to forget. It's easy to over analyze and twist the facts to fit your own mindset instead of facing the difficult facts:

+Nineteen Islamofascist fuckheads hijacked four planes
+They deliberately chose flights that would be the fullest and carry the most fuel
+They succeeded in crashing three of those planes into pre-selected targets
+It was NOT a government conspiracy. Unless you mean the governments of Iran, Syria, etc.
+2,996 innocent people died. Many of them heroes who died trying to save the lives of others
+Unless we wipe jihadist thinking from the face of this planet, something like 9/11 WILL happen again

And if you don't believe that with even some small part of your soul, then you need to get your head out of your ass.

Posted by caltechgirl at September 11, 2006 08:29 AM | TrackBack

I was just talking to a friend about that day and I had about the same rememberance too. I will always remember sharing that day with you and how our nation changed. Let's not forget that our nation survived and is stronger today and honor the memories of the people who lst their lives that day.

Posted by: Sarah at September 11, 2006 11:00 AM

RE: the getting your head out of your ass part...

Before the attacks, I used to listen to NPR every morning, while I got ready for work. In the days immediately following 9/11, I got so disgusted with them & switched stations. Never went back.

I felt like I had taken my head out of the sand & they hadn't.

Posted by: Marie at September 11, 2006 11:35 AM

I'm a day late, but Amen Sister. I still get knots in my stomach...

Posted by: Richmond at September 12, 2006 01:45 PM