♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Remembering 911. Most of us remember where we were, what we were doing, and whom we were with when 911 occurred, share your experience and remember those who were lost.
I’m a native New Yorker–upstate New York. But, even though miles separate me from the Island and the city proper, I am still very much connected to the City that boasts my State’s name. New York has been a part of my life since I can remember. Immortalized in film and music, I longed to see the storied streets from the first moment I learned of them. That first visit was on chilly November day to see the Rockets. I was in junior high school. I was not prepared for the cold. The buildings collect and focus the winds on the grid-like streets. I love New York.
There were various other times I have been down: to see the Lion King when I was in college, to visit friends after college, to see The Daily Show and The Colbert Report live. I love shopping there. My favorite section is China Town. I have a restaurant I adore on Elizabeth Street. Last time I visited, the waiter was a little miffed we showed up so late, but I had to stop. I love their food. I hope that he understands–but, that’s New York. The attitudes can be as brisk as the Northeast winter.
On September 11, 2001, I showed up for work at my day job at the University at Albany Purchasing Department. located in the Capital city of New York State. The day was bright. I had driven in really shitty traffic to make it there barely on time, and on a beautiful day I’d have rather been home. Back then, I had my mom’s old Honda Accord, 1989, teal with cream interior. I liked to play my music loud, and still do.
At the time, a young woman had been placed in our office from the mail room, and she was known to frequent the internet instead of working. A trait I have picked up myself more lately. Sorry, but the day job is boring! I’d rather read the news all day. It gives me something to blog about and share on social media.
Anyway, it was from this person that we first heard the news. She was unclear, unable to speak the words to describe what was happening. She wasn’t the best communicator to begin with, both a drama queen and a dolt. Another coworker, who was an emergency response volunteer took over. I remember her annoyance at our coworker. She was somehow making the event center around herself. How does one do that with such a tragedy?
The horror of that day, a crash hundreds of feet up. Smoke billowed against the azure sky. The sun brilliantly shone, mocking those who just lost their lives. Most were dismissive, not that a loss of life had occurred, but that it was a plane crash and our lives had to go on. Little did me and my coworkers know it was so much more than that. Soon, we were gathered around one computer, watching in abject horror as the second and then the third struck and then the Pentagon was hit.
We stumbled through our day. We had jobs to do and there were rules about internet use. Then the Governor dismissed us, so that we could gather our families and support friends. No one knew how this was going to touch our lives. Our city had been attacked. Three hours north wasn’t much of a buffer anymore. Were we just miles from a war zone?
I sat up late into the night watching the broadcast in the living room of my first apartment. The tears ran down my cheeks. I had no way of knowing if any of my University colleagues were there. Who did I know that might be there? I did know that on that day, men and women from around the world had converged on the towers to go to work just like I did. They fought traffic to get there. That was the last time that many saw their families, on that bright sunny morning. Some were lucky enough to be running late. Others went in early. Some had the day off for appointments.
Still others had boarded a flight not knowing that there were men in their midst who had been planning their deaths for some time. Just like me and my coworkers, those trekking across the bridges just getting to work defied the news as anything serious beyond a tragic plan crash that we would learn more about throughout the day. The worst part about it, we know that those who lost their lives that day regarded their last morning as just another morning like all the ones before, without a single inkling as to what was going to happen. Did they kiss their loved ones? I remember the texts they talked about and it still saddens me. The desperate last good-byes of human beings splashed across the news framed death in irrevocable terms. Good-bye. I love you. This is the last time…
Now, families are broken. We have glittering monuments already half-forgotten fifteen years later. What is worse? Nothing has changed in the way that we do things, to address situations before they course out of control as they did in September of 2001. Look to Syria, the Arab Spring, the rise of The Tea Party, Westboro Baptists and on and on and on. Hate after hate after hate. Though good and bad seeps through many movements, Black Lives Matter is a protest against the unprecedented violence against People of Color as opposed to whites–and yet whites continue to ignore the evidence as they have for hundreds of years, too privleged to see otherwise and often not wanting to, Feminism is being attacked by Mens Rights groups–the very people feminists have fought against for centuries to find gender equality for all, the violence is spiraling higher and higher.
The political aspects of what lay behind the September 11 attacks are far more important than where the perpetrators came from or what god they bowed to. The reasoning behind the attack is, as always, about politics. It was in retaliation for actions the US has taken through the 20th century, most especially in the 1980s, and it finally came to a head when the son of one of those responsible for the hatred that was steeped in the Middle East was elected to office. They played right into the hands of those who make money on bloodshed. We still have yet to see justice for the families who paid the price of politicking and war mongering, thievery and injustice.
This is why I don’t like to talk about the day, or shout for others to remember, or make a big deal of it. I find that most of the noise around the tragedy is disingenuous and often used to spread hate. I am a New Yorker. This happened on my turf. I don’t think outsiders can really do more than empathize, but they’ve taken this tragedy and made it their personal thing. I refuse to be part of that movement, a movement of frothing white nationalism that seeks to install a theocratic military oligarchy, and, dear people, we really are just steps from that, as only the theocracy must be added to make it complete. If you are paying any attention at all, those steps are being made and they’ve gained far too much ground.
As a historian, I can cite too many example of why nationalism is a dangerous flag to bear. I often point to Germany post World War I as a starting point. I can point to The United States just as Easily, for our grammar school history books are littered with revisions and inaccuracies that should make us blush. At the heart of it is always an incident that the prideful people of whatever nation ignore in order to claim their exceptionalism, and teach their children why their nation is better than all the others. The revisions ignore the egg which hatch the problems, and this will never result in a solution. Not to mention that, using 9/11 to justify hate, as many factions across the United States and its Allies, is disgustingly ironic.
To answer the question of if I knew anyone: I know families who were touched by the tragedy in many different ways, from the initial strike, to the thousands of dead and wounded soldiers, and even the change to our lives as far as security laws and rules. I provide disability services at a college to students who are military and emergency workers from the city and all over the state. These men and women make me proud, but they also make me sick with how we’ve abused them. They would never admit to that. At least, not most of them would admit to that–having been spoon fed the rhetoric of hate for their enemies. What an injustice. We’ve not only permanently injured them, we’ve injured their minds and trust and given them a sandcastle to navel gaze.
The best way to remember 9/11 is to stop the hate. Stop the oligarchy that supplies power to the military industrial complex. Always use diplomacy until it is exhausted. Stop making wars happen by supplying weapons and aid to warring factions. Do not suffer the violence of a nation because you feel badly about an aspect of their history when they were victims, because they should know much better than to act as their past enemy.
Weren’t the losses that we’re still suffering to this day enough? It is a time to put aside childish things and cooperate worldwide to improve the human condition. Set aside borders and tribalism. Set aside war. If life matters, and so many protest that life does, then we cannot continue down this road of saying some lives matter more than others.
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting at work on a bright sunny day, and I watched thousands of people die–men and women, young people and old, black and white, American and foreign–humans just trying to live their lives, the lives that the lottery of the universe bequeathed them, the lives that mattered to someone. Here is to our emergency responders who understood that on that day–in hopes that we all will go forward with such a belief from now on, because on that day we were given proof of how little we care, as to ignore the steps that led to the tragedy.
On September 11, 2001, I sat at home watching on the news as we signed over our souls to hell.
Let’s see where the other authors were on 9/11. Before you go, check out ….Stevie Turner’s books
Stevie Turner hails from East Anglia, UK, and attributes the countryside of her home with giving her the inspiration to write. She has found her unique voice writing the kind of novels women like to read. To date she has self-published seven books, mainly dealing with the darker side of relationships and always a bit of humor. You can find details of her books on the website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/
Stevie is married, with two sons and three grandchildren. If she isn’t writing or working, then you’ll find her walking around her pretty country village. Return to Stevie’s Blog.
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