Friday, September 11, 2009

on a serious note

Typically my blog is all ponies and rainbows but today i am thinking, why not do a little 9/11 thing. I shall not post any kind of lame attempt of a tribute or whatnot, and normally I am not one for commemorating things... (what does that even mean? i don't know. And it's probably totally false.) But especially with sad events, i don't love to dwell and commiserate. I'm not a commiserator. (<-- not a word, p.s.) But then i feel like i don't give it an extra thought and treat it like any other day, that seems wrong too, especially because the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were quite impactful to me. It's a day i'll not forget, will you?

Some years ago a grad student was doing her thesis on the psychological effects of this tragedy and interviewed several police offiers who were there that day. I transcribed these interviews for her and it was very moving to hear their stories up close and personal. I live not far from where the towers stood. I have been to the site several times and whatever people's reason for going there, what i take from it is a reminder of things. Many things. I don't need to go into them but I am glad for to be reminded. (i'm feeling awwwkwarrrrd. maybe i should just stick to ponies and how mines are no place for them.)

SO. Since it was that kind of event where you remember where you were and what you were doing, and since i think it is good to be reminded of things, I am curious: where were you when you first heard? what were you doing? tell me your feelings.

Me: I was at college in my apartment getting ready for the day. While i did this i listened to the radio. The station was on 107.5 The End which i think doesn't exist anymore, true? With Chunga and Mister. And they were talking about it and i was like, what the hey? What's going on? So i went downstairs and turned on the tv and saw the unbelievable images. What a shocking and helpless feeling. That's a major feeling i remember having. Helpless. I remember wanting to give blood or something. I wanted to do something. It was hard for me and hard things like this make me either make an awkward joke or just kind of pretend it's not real. I'm sure i did one or the other or both. Well, i'm not in denial, but I don't really love going back. Anyway, but, I also remember the feeling of the country sort of coming together and an intense general patriotism i've not noticed our country having many other times. So that was cool. It was an ominous day and people went about their business sort of subdued. And that was the day for me.

How about you?


Stephanie said...

I first heard at home as I was getting ready for the day. I heard about it too on the radio and ran and turned on the tv and just stared. It seemed like a total accident (as awful as it was) but then when the other plane hit the other tower I figured something was up.

I was teaching a class at UVU at the time and went to class totally stunned. And there was such a weird feeling on campus. We talked about it for a minute in could you not. I just remember feeling really low and subdued most of the day. I had brought candy for an activity we were doing and told everyone that the day called for something a little sweet.

Alanna said...

I was in Japan, on my mission, when one of the elders called to tell me about it. I wasn't quite sure whether or not to believe him because it all sounded so nonsensical, but then the next morning I saw a newspaper and was shocked. My mission president called my family to make sure my sister in New York was okay, so that was super nice of him to do. And people in Japan would come up and tell me how horrible it was and how I had their sympathy. Everyone was very kind about it, but it didn't have much impact on my life as a missionary.

What was really strange, then, was when I returned home, six months later. It was sort of like missing out on a family reunion that everyone talks about for the rest of your life and you missed it. I couldn't believe how much America had changed. Since when was Seattle all patriotic and flying American flags all the time? I went to New York and saw Ground Zero (awkward because I was too embarrassed/scared to ask directions and it took a really long time to find it), but I still feel like I don't have a very clear grasp of the events of 9/11.

At one point my Mom showed me a book called "Let's Roll" and asked me what that meant to me. I'd had no idea about the man saying that on the plane or anything-- to me, it was just any other phrase. My Mom shook her head and said, "You just don't get it, do you?" but I still don't know how to go about fixing this gap.

I still haven't watched the videos of the towers collapsing. Part of me feels like I ought to watch them to try to understand better, but at the same time I feel like it would be disrespectful-- like I would be getting entertainment value out of so many people's deaths, and I just don't even want to risk that. So I don't watch them.

Maybe some day I will. But not today.

But thank you for writing this post. I like to try to understand better, and people being open like this helps.

Natalie R. said...

That particular year in baseball, the Mariners were doing incredibly. My sister Tracy and I had just gone rollerblading together, and shortly after I got home she called me and told me to turn on the TV. I assumed it was something to do with the Mariners, so I was all excited to see an amazing win or something. I just remember dropping into a chair with my mouth wide open in disbelief. I called my mom and found out that my sister and brother-in-law were okay, and then I just didn't know what to do.

Classes seemed totally pointless all day, and orchestra was cancelled that night so Tracy and I went to Gondolfo's (a sandwich place) to get away from it all. Of course, they had a huge TV that was repeatedly showing the planes hitting, and I just remember feeling awful and scared for a long time afterward.

But as with all things, life goes on and you have to learn how to keep going with it, right? What worries me, though, is how many people seem to keep going without learning the lessons that should've been learned that day. I hope our country never truly forgets.

Anonymous said...

I was in Provo in my freshman year, and was happily walking down to campus with my friend Lindsey when we walked through the bookstore and saw what happened on the TV's they have there. We were in shock. It was a Tuesday and although we didn't always go to devotional, we met up after class and fought the crowds to make it to the Marriott Center. At one point Lindsey and I were separated, and it was an almost desperate thing to find each other again. There was something about being away from my family for the first time and all of this happening, that was so much to handle.

They had special prayer meetings in the dorms, and my friends and I prayed a lot together in the weeks that followed.

It was unreal that something like that could happen to America. It really shattered my idea of the US and being untouchable.

Joel said...

I was in Korea. Some of the other elders called with some nonsense about the whole city of New York being on fire. We didn't think much of it. Then we walked outside and saw a newspaper on our neighbor's doorstep with a photo of the towers and the headline "20,000 Dead" (obviously, nobody was jumping to any conclusions...).

Our neighbor heard us and came out, saying she had knocked on our door while the whole thing was happening (which, due to the time difference, was at 10:30 the previous night), but I guess we were already asleep.

We were allowed to watch some coverage and get an idea of what was happening. Everyone we met was very polite and asked if our families were okay. When I went home two months later, I remember noticing lots of guys with machine guns at the airports.

Pedersen Posse said...

I was in Reno. Tyler had just started medical school a couple weeks before. Tyler's mom called us just after the first tower was hit. Her phone call woke us both up. We turned on the tv and saw the live footage of the second plane hitting and the towers falling down.

Tyler had to go school, so I was left alone glued to the news in shock.

Kim said...

I decided to skip my first class that day and was just laying in bed snoozing the alarm clock. The next time the radio went off, I left it on to hear what the hubbub was about. I remember the dj saying, "That almost looked intentional," and seconds later the second plane hit. Numbly, I got dressed and went to my mom's house and hugged her for like an hour. My parents and I wordlessly watched the news, huddled together on the couch.

)en said...

that is great. thanks for your participation. I remember that feeling too, when i first saw the images and being like, no way was that on purpose. must be an accident.

Alanna, that is interesting, what you say about the family reunion analogy. hmm. and i can definitely see how it would be difficult to want to be a part of it but not watch things for entertainment. Hmm. Tricky. I know that after a while I just didn't want to see or read about it anymore, not because i didn't care. It was just too much. I don't know. Interesting.

(wow, my comment is the best. i win. "hmm. interesting. hmm.")

and now we shall go back to fluff & nonsense...

Alanna said...

I know this post is sort of old news now, but I have to add an update. After reading my previous comment, Natalie decided to send me a bunch of links to read. (What are sisters for if not to pass along really depressing things like that?)

So Saturday night after the kids were in bed and while Craig was showering I decided to check them out. I ended up spending the next two hours sobbing. It was the first time I really felt just how tragic and horrible it really was. (And Craig was really surprised when he got out of the shower. No, he didn't shower for two hours.)

Anyway, I feel a little more clued in now and even though I really hate crying, I think it was important for me to understand this tragedy better.

)en said...

that's cool... thanks for the update. :) (laughed at the 2-hr shower comment.)