Remembering 9-11

In our age of mass communication, it has become possible for a whole nation, or even the world to be a witness of historical events in a way that would be inconceivable a century ago. There are those things which have happened, in which everyone alive remembers where they were and what they were doing, like the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the first Moon landing, … and the terrorist attack on 9-11.

On that Tuesday morning, I was at work, driving from Madison to North Vernon when I got a call from my wife, the lovely Kristine. She asked me if I were listening to the radio. I was not. She told me to turn it on because something terrible was happening. I turned my car radio on and listened to the coverage of the attack.

I went about my duties at the stores in North Vernon in a sort of state of shock.  The North Vernon WalMart and Jay C played continuing news coverage of the day’s events instead of the usual soothing Musak. Not too many people were working or shopping in the stores. They were mostly just listening.

I had to go to Seymour for a meeting that afternoon. On the way I noticed that some gas stations had raised the price of gasoline to a then unheard of price of $5 per gallon. At the meeting, no one wanted to discus the business at hand. Instead we talked about the terrorist attack. It seemed certain to us all that more attacks were on the way and that this time we couldn’t just launch a few missiles, blow up some tents, and then move on. We were in for a long fight.

I don’t remember much about the rest of that day. I went home but I don’t remember much about it.

I was once in the World Trade Center. I was in New York with some friends as a sort of tourist and we took the elevator to the top floor of one of the twin towers. There was a gallery up there where you could look out over the city of New York. The day was foggy so I didn’t see anything. They had a gift shop in the center section of the floor. It sickens me to think that the people who worked there went to work one morning, and then had to choose between burning to death or jumping, Not to mention the tourists, who only wanted to look at the city. I swear that if I ever meet Ward “little Eichmanns” Churchill in person, I will kill that SOB, or at least punch him in the nose.

I don’t think that I have ever seen the video of the plane hitting the World Trade Center all the way through. I haven’t avoided watching it. I just happen not to have seen it and haven’t gone out of my way to look for it.

Well, that’s it. I am not sure what else to write. After ten years, you tend to forget about things. The wounds start to heal and you move on as an individual and as a nation, which is good. But we can’t forget things entirely. With the tenth anniversary remembrances, we can remind ourselves of the tragedy and the heroism of that fateful day, even if we have to feel a little of the pain all over again.

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