Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lying On The Couch Seven Years Ago Today

"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors... None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. "

-President George W. Bush: September 11, 2001

In the fall of 2001 I was working an odd shift in which I would go in at 11:00 am and work until 11:00 pm three days a week. On these days if I wanted to see my sons, I had to get up in the morning before they went to school. I would get up, see them off to school, and then l would stretch out on the couch and watch TV and nap until leaving for work.

Exactly seven years ago this minute I was watching The Today Show as American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center Tower 1, changing our lives.

Our parents speak of knowing what they were doing when they heard about John F Kennedy being assassinated. For our grandparents it was when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I can remember this day clearly in my mind. I do not talk about this moment much because it is too painful, and, it is my memory. It is a personal experience that cannot be shared with others.

I remember going to work that day. I took care of a woman in the Emergency Room who’s son was an American Airlines pilot. He was not flying that day but she developed chest pain just watching the footage on TV.

I remember my son in the days that followed being very anxious. He was eight years old at the time and smart for his age. He knew something was going on, he had seen the non-stop news coverage at home. He was having trouble sleeping. When we realized what was going on, we turned the news off when he was at home and I followed the story online. I felt that as nation we were losing our innocence, I did not want my children to have theirs robbed also by these monsters.

I remember the scenes of destruction, New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA. With horror, I remember watching the people in the World Trade Center leaping to their deaths in panic to escape the flames.

Mostly though, I remember the people. I remember the bravery of the rescuers in New York and Washington, some professional, some not, rushing towards the destruction to attempt to help those injured. I remember the families searching for loved ones, instinctively knowing that many of them would not find what they were looking for. I remember George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Rudy Giuliani at their finest. These men did an incredible job leading a country through a horrific time. I remember the bravery and the sacrifice of the people of United Airlines Flight 93. Their commandeering of the airplane and diversion to a field in Pennsylvania likely saved hundreds of people.

Finally, I remember the anger at the bastards that did this. The hatred that dwells in some men’s hearts are not for us to understand. We, thank God, do not have the capacity for this lack of humanity. We are not capable of killing almost 3,000 innocent civilians. I remember this anger because it is still in me today. I have tried to make peace with what happened that day but cannot. I still cannot watch footage of the events of that day without feeling like a knife is plunging into my heart. I have yet to watch any of the movies. I think it is because I witnessed it live as it was happening instead of the detachment of seeing it on the news later. I don’t know but it is still there today. It effects how I view the Muslim religion and likely always will. I may have even forgiven the religion as whole if I had seen any remorse from the leaders of the religion. All we got though were some hollow sympathies, no real condemnation, no assistance in tracking down the perpetrators. I remember the Palestinians shooting their guns in the air at celebration of the news.

More than anything, I remember the innocent people that were lost on this day. 2,973 souls were lost in these attacks (I do not, nor will I ever, include the attackers in these numbers). Thousands upon thousands of family members lost their husbands and wives, their children and parents, grandchildren and grandparents, among others on this day. Several nations lost citizens. A nation lost it’s sense of security.

My fear, as we get farther from this day is that we are not remembering as a nation. On this day we were one nation. Since then, politics has raised it’s ugly head and divided some of us on the issue. People have gone back to their lives, children to raise, work to do, lives to live.

I just want the victims to know, I still remember and I know I am not the only one. They have not been forgotten and they never will. May they rest in peace.

September 11th, 2008, 0846 am


An American Girl said...

Great work Chuck, I also remember it well and I also will NEVER forget it.

Chuck said...

Thanks American girl, too many have forgotten. To forget is to allow it again.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I do not talk about this moment much because it is too painful, and, it is my memory. It is a personal experience that cannot be shared with others.

Thanks for sharing your experience, chuck. It's a day that should be engraved upon the hearts of all Americans.

It effects how I view the Muslim religion and likely always will. I may have even forgiven the religion as whole if I had seen any remorse from the leaders of the religion. All we got though were some hollow sympathies, no real condemnation, no assistance in tracking down the perpetrators

Chuck, I am one of those of the mind that the majority Muslims are peaceful and many did condemn the attacks. What gets airplay from the sensationalist media are those dancing in the streets.

Some of those who were not so sympathetic to us are just as much having their feelings governed by the anti-Americanism prevalent around the world (as much as anything religious) who felt it's about time America, which has been blessed with so much peace and prosperity, had its nose bloodied.

Finally, there have been Muslims helping us in the long war. We definitely have Muslim allies who are fighting for their lives against Islamic fundamentalists trying to tear down their own governments.

Brooke said...

On that day I was working in Obstetrics. I had just finished a night shift and was sleeping in preparatio for the next one.

I remember my husband waking me with an unusually serious look in his eyes. He turned on the TV and we watched in silent disbelief. The ANGER didn't set in until later, after we had time to digest what had happened.

Later that night, most of the rest of the staff hadn't slept, either. It was so tense, not the usual atmosphere of joyful anticipation that was common in OB.

cube said...

I'll never forget the rage I felt
on that horrible day. It will never go away because I will never forget.

Chuck said...

Wordsmith, Thanks for posting. More importantly, thanks for sharing your opinion.

I do have a tendancy to generalize in my comments and I do believe there are some Muslims willing to help. We are seeing that in Iraq to some extent. With this said, I have yet to see were a significant portion of the Muslims are openly moderate and condemning of the extremism. I see and hear a lot of "I'm against the attacks, but...".

Finally, I am willing to confess that part of my perception is clouded by the evil I see in it. I find it hard to see past this. My wife gets on me about this also.

Brooke, it was a somber day. We got out a TV from a patients room and watched it at the nurses station all that day.

Chuck said...

Cube, This is the point I tried to make in my previous reply. I do try not let it make me irrational and unresaonable, but it is hard. Wordsmith is right though, the risk you run into with this is painting everyone with the same brush, which I do find myself doing. I did get mad as Hell all over again when I saw the footage this morning.

I realize that I am sounding a little wishy-washy and do not intend to. This is why, as a ageneral rule I don't discuss the events of that day because my feelings on it are complicated and maybe a little irrational.

Just don't mention these whackjob conspiracy theorists (like Rosie) that think the US are either responsible for the attack or caused the buildings to fall. That's a whole new set of issues for me.

da patriot said...

This we pledge to the memory of everyone who lost their lives on 9/11/2001, and their families, we will never, ever forget!

shoprat said...

I was at work when the radio announced that a plane struck the World Trade Center and I had a picture in my head of some idiot in a single prop plane and was concerned for people on the ground. I worked in isolation from the rest of the crew and entered my booth right after that announcement. I worked for 2 hours not really knowing what had happened. I stepped out into a changed world.

Chuck said...

Patriot, agreed.

Shoprat, welcome. We have definiitely had a changed world since then. Thanks for visiting, stop by again.

MK said...

We from across the seas will not forget the evil of that day and we will remain by your side. God bless America.

Z said...

you want the victims to know you remember. you're so right..

That's sort of why i force myself to stare at those pictures of the people in the tower looking down, wondering if they should jump, though I can't STAND looking.

It's strange, but I feel it's the very VERY very least I can possibly look at them.

God rest their souls.

so tearful

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Check out this amazing 9/11 account.