Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years Later

The television blared in the bank lobby as a few people stood by and stared at the screen. Used to the normal quietness at the bank, I felt annoyed at the loud intrusion as I cashed my severance check from a job I had been laid off just a few days earlier. I gassed up the car and grabbed a bite to eat on the way home.

As I got out of my car, a lady ran out of her nearby apartment and started telling me about some planes crashing everywhere in New York. I nodded and walked into my apartment not wanting to discuss the day with someone obviously a few fries short of a happy meal. Never the less, I turned on the television and within seconds after the screen popped up, people started screaming as the first World Trade Center building collapsed, apparently live judging from the caption. The air went out of me like a sail and I collapsed into the chair. Thirty minutes later the other building collapsed and I knew that my world had been fundamentally altered and would never be the same.

I don't remember much of the details of that day other than I spent it all sitting in that chair watching the horror unfold. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon and another in a field in Pennsylvania. People were dying everywhere it seemed. I remember feeling alone at times, calling people and taking calls from others just to talk to someone else and reassure ourselves that we still weren't. I called my girlfriend in England to let her know I was still okay. That evening, I went to bed early, more exhausted than I would have been working a 16 hour day on the farm doing manual labor. I wasn't sure what the world would be like when I woke up.

The next morning I walked down to the gas station to grab a newspaper, since I had cancelled mine to save money while unemployed, and there was a line two blocks long of people filling up with gas. I wondered if I would ever be able to get another job if people were this scared here a thousand miles away from New York.

Now here we are fifteen years later and watching memorials of that day make me realize that those emotions I felt then are still present. The feel raw and oozing just beneath my skin. Those responsible were dead that same day. Others who helped plan it have long ago been killed or imprisoned. Yet I don't feel any better. We've been at war for 15 years now and nothing really has changed other than to increase the hatred of others against those that "lead" us. That girlfriend I called that day married me later and we have two girls, both who have never known a life without a war going on or bombs going off. They have always lived in a world where there have been terror alert levels, layers of airport security and people with machine guns standing outside of important public events. I was right back then that my world had changed forever. How I wish it hadn't for my girls sake.


Kelly said...

My sister was a news hound and kept her TV on non-stop as background. So when the first report aired, she called to tell me to quickly turn on my TV. I remember thinking it was a horrible accident at first, until it became obvious that it was a blatant attack.

Someone on the news this week asked the question "are we any safer now?". My thought on that is "No" (for a variety of reasons).

Vince said...

The thing with the kids is striking isn't it. The only thing you can really do is guide them in an analysis because if you were to follow the alerts you'd think there's a lot more of it about that the active truth. Even in places that are so called high risk areas like the near and far east. They are still more likely being hit by lightning.

sage said...

My daughter was 3 and still asleep (as it was a little after 7 in Utah). I received a call telling me to turn on the TV. I spent the next hour alternating from watching the TV and her sleep. I felt horrible having to wake her, when it was time to go to daycare. I wish I could let her sleep in her old world.

Ed said...

Kelly - I would definitely agree that we aren't any safer now and actually gave up a lot of our freedom to be less safe.

Vince - I've spent time with my oldest talking about what happened as she asked questions but for her, she has really been unaffected. She doesn't know how things were different before and didn't know anyone affected. For her, it is just a note in history.

Sage - Sometimes I wish I would wake up and realize this has all just been a dream.