Saturday, 11 September 2010

We Are With You, Brothers

I'm not American, but my Dad is. Generations of his family were. Canadians, as a nation, tend to define ourselves as not-American, in the chippy way common to smaller nations like Austria re: Germany and Scotland re: England. However, that definition doesn't matter a damn to me on the anniversary of 9-11, just as my reaction to the atrocity--part of which I saw live on television in a public library--was to weep for my father's people. Later, listening to Yassar Arafat, I screamed.

Some appalling people write smugly,"I'm so over 9-11." I don't think I ever will be.

Where were you?


Amy said...

Teaching a high school religion class. The Academic Dean announced over the PA that a plane had hit the WTC and asked us to pray. A student asked, "Why would anyone fly into the WTC?" "Drugs," I replied. It never occurred to me that such a thing would be *deliberate.* Even today, it seems unreal. But horrifically, it WAS real. My heart is with all those who lost loved ones that day.

bolyongok said...

Home sick from school. My brother was too and he woke me up shouting something about a plane hitting the world trade center. I thought it was a movie but I still got up to go downstairs with him, eventually. We saw the second plane hit. My dad works in DC, sometimes near the Pentagon and we couldn't get him on the phone. I was too angry to be sad or frightened then.
Dad didn't get home until seven or eight that night. He'd lost friends in the Pentagon.
I remember feeling so helpless about the whole thing and I hated it so much. I swore that the next time something like that happened I'd be able to do something useful...

some guy on the street said...

I was attending an early lecture in multivariable calculus; in retrospect, it feels a bit odd how much the day proceeded as usual. I was vaguely aware of people congregating around the student-managed computer network help centre watching some news, but my only other class that day took me deeper into the campus and further from downtown. So it was not until about lunch time that I was walking downhill through Downtown Hometown to see the paper boys with their Gazzette and Journal EXTRAs and to get a sense of how wrong everything was. About half an hour later I would get home where the TV was replaying all the worst moments --- which is about when I started feeling ill.

But we had beautiful weather for days, and everyone I knew to know was alright; I was --- I still am --- all the more eager to get on with living, the business of life and love. Who would want to "get over" that?

fifi said...

Doing algebra. Not much other work got done that day!

Thanks for the prayers and solidarity. We Yankees appreciate them!

Pedantic Classicist said...

Thanks for the post and the solidarity, Seraphic. I was in the first month of my job as a Jesuit Volunteer in Washington State. I'll never forget that I was standing in the giant refrigerator of the homeless center I worked in (I was probably trying to score some yogurt!) when my roommate (from Brooklyn) ran up and gave me the news. It all seemed so unreal. To make matters worse, we poor JVs didn't have cable and so could only catch grainy images on TV, and then not till later that night. Being a New Yorker from birth, I had the queer feeling of both being upset/shocked and also oddly relieved I was well out of harm's way.

When I saw a recap of the day a year or two later on the news, I realized there were many of the images I hadn't seen, so some of the trauma hit then. I don't think I could get "over" 9-11 either; it was, for me at least, just too epoch-making an event.

Jen D said...

I was the only student in the high school library, where the tv usually isn't on, but it was that day. I asked the librarian what movie she was watching, and she told me it wasn't a movie. May the victims rest in peace.

Catherine said...

I live an hour from Manhattan, and I was sitting in my 8th grade math class. I just remember feeling really confused all day, worrying about my family that works in the city (they were all fine, thank God), and then going home and watching the news with my mom, watching the explosions over... and over... and over...

Thank you for your kind words. I continue to pray for the people who are still struggling with the events of that day.

leonine said...

I was at university, standing outside the classroom of my 9:00am class, and one of my classmates asked me if I had heard the news. After classes for the rest of the day were cancelled, I went back to my dorm room at sat and listened to the radio. Five or six of us huddled around my radio, listening. I grew up outside Washington DC, so the Pentagon attack was almost more frightening than the Twin Towers. I didn't see any video footage until 6 months later. I simply couldn't bear to watch it. Even now, I can't watch the video. It's just too much.

Thanks for remembering, Seraphic.

Maggie said...

In my high school junior-year English class. They announced the first plane's impact over the PA. Soon after, in choir, we were watching the news as the second plane hit. For the rest of the day all we did in each class as pass in our homework and watch the news.

Anonymous said...

I was working on an online job application with a deadline and didn't want to be distracted. When I saw the news flash on my home page referring to the World Trade Center, I assumed it was some reference to the previous WTC attack and didn't check it out. I didn't learn the truth until 1 p.m. that day. Horror. Shock. Yet I missed the worst of the coverage - they had stopped showing those poor souls jumping from the towers.

When my clock radio alarm went off that morning (before the attack on the towers!), the song that was playing was Chantal Kreviazuk's "I still fear the bomb". Odd, no?

RIP to those who died there, and blessings to all who lost someone in the attacks.


ceciliamschwartz said...

I left early for work that day. The forty-five minute drive to Hoboken from central NJ was great! I prayed the rosary while enjoying the perfect weather. All of a sudden, traffic slowed to a crawl. I could see the towers from the expressway. Smoke was billowing from the first tower. I had just moved to the area and was confused by the sight, but it never occurred to me to turn on the radio.

I finally made it to my exit. There had been an accident on the bridge, which I believe was a result of drivers being distracted when the first tower was hit. By the time I arrived at work, the second tower was in flames. Only two of us made it into the office. The highway had been closed. I was one of the last eastbound cars to make it through.

It was the most surreal day of my life. My co-worker and I watched the events on a small tv she purchased from a store up the road. We were a few short miles from Ground Zero.

Noon Mass was unusually full, as distraught people tried to make sense of the tragedies they saw.

I will never forget that day as long as I live, nor the days that followed. Like you, Seraphic, I will never get over it.

theobromophile said...

My father had just dropped me off at my apartment (my car went to the mechanic's that day for a tune-up). I was talking with one of my roommates about something insignificant when another roommate came running out of her room and told us what happened. She was watching the footage of the first plane wreck when the second hit and then started freaking out. We all converged around her TV and started losing our minds when we heard that the Pentagon was hit.

The girl who told us what happened commented, "I wonder how they are going to rebuild those top floors; can you put a crane on it once the fire goes out?" before the buildings collapsed.

Most of my classes were cancelled. My quantum-mechanics professor, who was about 75 at the time, said that it reminded him too much of Pearl Harbour and he couldn't teach.

I also remember the Canadians standing with America, and thank Seraphic for still doing so.

Christine said...

Seraphic, thank you for your post.

I was in 11th grade English class when I found out; a dopey sort of kid in my class told us, but we all kinda thought he was just fooling around.

Then, we I arrived at French class next period, they made an announcement on the loudspeaker, and told that anyone who had to call family members could come down to the main office. (I lived in a bedroom suburb of NYC). Thank God, only one of my family members worked in the city, and he was fine (although he had to walk home from Manhattan).

I believe we still had a full day of school that day, as they didn't want the kids to make bad decisions and try to travel into NYC to check on family or anything. I remember going home after school and watching it on the news, seeing the horrid videos play over and over. It was unreal.

Holy Mother, pray for our nation and our world.