September 11, 2006

September 11th.

Here is the post I wrote on September 11th in my first year of blogging, 2004:
Three years ago, I was standing on the corner of Brooks Street and University Avenue, collecting my thoughts about my new class on the Constitution's religion clauses that would meet later that day, waiting for the walk sign. It's a long wait to cross the only street between the parking garage and the Law School, and it's not unlikely that a colleague will step up and join me in the wait. It's a nice time for a friendly hello. A colleague appears, I give a cheery hello and mean to go on to comment on the great beauty of the day. He says, "Haven't you seen the news this morning?"

To this day, when I stand on that corner, I remember hearing the news there. Not once since that day would it be that anyone could walk up and ask me if I'd seen the news that morning and the answer would be, as it was that day, "no." Since that day, I always check the television news when I get up in the morning. For a long time after September 11th, 2001, when I woke up in the middle of the night I would turn on the TV and check the news to see if anything had happened. Any time I woke up, I would, within a second, recall the sight of the burning World Trade Center and think "That happened. That really happened." It was the same feeling I had when a close and very young family member died some years ago. Very shortly after waking, my first thought was, "she died, she died." Even when I was awake, I would repeatedly think of the 9/11 attacks, like that death of that family member years ago, and re-experience hearing the news for the first time: "That happened. That really happened!" The length of time between those re-rememberings increased gradually over the weeks and months, but it took a long time before the thought could be experienced without containing an element of feeling as though I was learning the news the first time.

I remember going into the law school building that day three years ago, wanting to find out what happened. My colleague had only told me that planes flew into the World Trade Center towers. I pictured small planes hitting the buildings and falling onto the sidewalk below. Did they fall on people on the ground? He said he believed the planes went into the buildings and stayed inside. That inconceivable image, which I would by the end of the day have seen on television a hundred times, began to form in my head. I hurried to the law school, thinking I could find the news on the internet, but I couldn't get through to any of the sites. My son Chris called from San Francisco to ask if I knew. Unlike me, he had a television, and he described what he saw. He told me people were jumping. People were jumping! I went looking for a television. A colleague had a tiny portable television with a black and white screen. We all crowded around. On that five inch screen, I first saw the unreal sight of a tower collapsing.

I tore myself away from the little screen to make some effort at getting my notes together for my class. I was fretting about my capacity to do my job properly. Five minutes before class time, I went down to the classroom and found it dark and packed with people. A fifteen foot movie screen had been lowered, and everyone stared in shock at the projected television images of the attacks. Suddenly, there were the attacks, over and over, in brilliant color for the first time. Some of the people in the room were my students, sitting in their assigned seats for the class that was to begin in a few minutes. When the clock clicked over to the class time, I stood up and, worrying that it was wrong to project my voice over the events on the screen, I quickly announced that this was my classroom but there would be no class, and the television should stay on. I sat down and watched in shock with the rest of the group. How could it be?

When I finally left the building, to go home and continue to the vigil in front of the television, I remember walking between two large old university buildings on my way back to the street crossing where my colleague had told me the news a few hours ago. I looked at those buildings and thought: I had always assumed these buildings were so solid, but how foolish I was; these buildings are all now going to fall. I really felt, walking between those two buildings, that everything we had built was doomed, and that we had been living under an illusion that the world we had built could stand.

Today, when I go home after work, I still walk between those two buildings, and I often think about how I felt on that day that these buildings could not stand. Yet here they are. I'm amazed at how ready I was on that day to believe that the terrorists had taken our world away, that the will to destruction, now unleashed, would overcome the work of all of the rest of us who wanted to build things and to live our individual lives in the material world. Yet here we are, still building things, still making lives for ourselves. A car horn playing "On Wisconsin!" just roused me from this reverie. It's a beautiful sunny day here Madison. Tens of thousands of people are coming to the enlarged, rebuilt stadium for the game that starts in an hour. I can hear their yells from where I'm sitting in my dining room. Life goes on.
Two more years have passed. Now five years have gone by since the day I believed the terrorists had unleashed the will to destruction and taken our world away. I would have been shocked all over again if someone from today could have sent me the message that five years later, no other building has fallen, no airplane has been brought down, no bomb has gone off -- not in the United States anyway. Still today, almost every time I walk between those two old university buildings, toward the street crossing where I first heard the news, I think about how I believed everything we had presumed to build was doomed and that we were victims of the illusion that we could build things and expect them to stand.

But we got it together and defended our way of life. I was surprised that Americans, inside, had some real cohesion and will. We look so scattered and individualistic most of the time, but in a crisis, we unite and get things done. That surprised the world. Over time -- five years now -- we disaggregate. We scatter back into our individual lives and roiling separate opinions. Some of us worry that this lets the enemy think we don't have the guts to keep fighting, that we're soft and weak. That's their failure to understand us. We're still all together here, no matter what the polls look like and how much we yell about politics. Our insistence on disaggregating is part of what we are: fierce individuals who will not let anyone take away our freedom.

44 comments:

Derve said...

"(Americans) what we are: fierce individuals who will not let anyone take away our freedom."

Minor restrictions, yes.
Tinkering with our generally accepted ideals and overall Constitutional framework? In some ways, the jury's still out.

I agree irrational fear has in many ways subsided, and our critical thinking skills are getting a decent workout again. Long live individual rights, in a safe and secure America fighting to stay true to the founding ideals. Proper balance often comes with time.

knoxgirl said...

I was in an oil painting class, wondering, with the rest of the students, where our teacher was. He finally came in about 15 minutes late and told us what was happening. He kept leaving and coming back with updates, each one worse than the last. I just remember thinking, "How many people are dead?"

It took months for me to stop longing for the way it was, to stop thinking "undo, undo, undo" like I could just choose a different ending somehow. I knew, but resisted accepting the fact that this was probably going to last my lifetime.

Dave said...

The only thing I ask of the religious is that they consider the depths to which religion has sunk man.

lucas m. said...

"(Americans) what we are: fierce individuals who will not let anyone take away our freedom."


Hooah, Ann. Hooah.

Pogo said...

Ann: damn straight.

Dave and derve: give it a rest, at least for today, huh?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Among your best. [And there are many.]
Crisp!

George said...

Disaggregating sounds like something that's done to a frog in a blender.

Disagg'ing is jolly during peacetime. I doubt it wins wars.

Right now, to most people (and most people aren't passionately commenting on political blogs) 9/11 was some TV show last night. 9/11 is something some obscure ex-Clinton appointees are upset about. Perhaps I exaggerate.

I do know that I attended two church events yesterday and there was no mention of 9/11 at either.

I do know that I've received letters from my children's two elementary school principals nearly apologizing for the new state law mandating voluntary observance of the Pledge of Allegiance.

It's possible that our opponents, either by plan or accident, keep us disaggregated as a tactical, if not strategic, modus operandi. Set the blender on liquefy and the frog jumps out, possibly to attack. Set the blender on slow spin, and you disorient your foe.

(Sorry about the frog/blender analogy, but it's the best I could muster this early in the morning. So ribbit if you like.)

MadisonMan said...

I was sitting at my desk, and remember clicking the CNN website and reading that a plane had hit the WTC. How odd. There's a TV in the conference room downstairs, and eventually many gathered there, and that's where I saw the plane hit the 2nd tower, and where I saw the towers fall.

I eventually emailed my sister, who lives overseas, to enquire after her sons, one of whom was on Long Island. They were all safe.

Noumenon said...

Your day was so much more vivid and memorable than mine. I heard about the attack from my brother on the phone, said, "Oh, that was splashy," went to work and never thought it was very important. Wonder if I would have bought into the whole "war on terrorism" thing if I had seen it on television.

SteveR said...

I was half a world away, 9/11/2001 for me was a normal day, when I woke up on 9/12, everything had happened. I went from nothing to the events as of mid-afternoon in the US.

I wished I shared your optimism about how we react, perhaps then you were right, something similar now would find us disaggregated very quickly, I'm afraid.

David said...

I remember the couple joining hands and briefly flying in the air as they plummeted to their death.

I remember our enemies, and some of our friends, dancing in the streets at the news of the attack on our citizens and country.

I remember the planes being swallowed by the Twin Towers!

NEVER FORGET!

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

buffpilot said...

Ann,
9/11 means a lot to me and is still vivid. I was at Barksdale AFB during the tail end of our annual exercise. The entire fleet had been fueled and armed, but we would not fly for the exercise due to the weapons on board. The B-52s were lined up wing-tip to wing-tip. I was talking with some other pilots when we heard that someone had crashed an airplane into a building in NYC. We went to the chow hall and got there in time to watch the second plane hit. The place had about 40 crewmembers and was fairly noisy until the second plane hit. Then silence. Talking with people later they all had the same feeling I had – that I had just watched Pearl Harbor in real time and I was at Henderson Field. The alert sounded seconds later and we scrambled to the jets.

I remember the incredulity my 19 year old crew chief looked at me when I told him to clear the aircraft for taxi (not part of the exercise script). I remember getting in the plane and seeing, for the first time in my career, the navs unlocking the actual real-world coded boxes. I remember going over the scramble launch plans (always studied, never expected to actually fly) and moving the fuel into a takeoff cg. I remember the quiet talks on secure interplane with cell mates figuring out exactly how we would do the takeoff and rejoin.

I watched my point guard’s eyes turn the size of baseballs as they handed out real ammo.

I still remember scanning the skys wondering if there was a suicide plane heading our way. We had no defence other than to launch.

I listened as Air Force One called in and the command post asking for them to repeat their call sign. I watched as an F-16 buzzed my runway and AF 1 land. Then saw the secret service come out first – guns out.

I remember my kids looks, pulled out of school, a few days later when I had 4 hours to go home and get clean clothes. It was worse when I left since I could not tell them when I was coming back home. Eventually we got released, but I still flew out shortly, still unable to tell my kids when daddy would come home but that I would write and call when I could.

On 9/21 I landed in a small, little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean…

So I do remember 9/11 like it was yesterday.

dix said...

I was on a business trip in California and was up early since I was still on east coast time and watched in horror as it all unfolded. It was only later that day when they announced what flights they were that I looked at my boarding pass and saw that I had flown Boston to LA on United 175 on September 10th. My original flight on another airline had been cancelled and I had been switched to United. When I went to the United desk at Logan airport I had my ID ready but the guy never asked for it.

Shanna said...

I remember that day so clearly. I was driving into DC (on 395, past the Pentagon) and listening to a CD. When I got into town and was looking for a parking space I turned on the radio and heard about the first tower. I hurried into work and some folks smoking outside told me what had happened so far. I went downstairs, where there was a tv, and gathered around with most of my department to watch what had happened. I was shocked but this was before we knew it was anything more than a freak accident and I believe before the tower had fallen. Then the second plane hit. I was watching live. There was silence and shock for a while, and then my coworkers, still standing in the room watching everything, started to talk about it in hushed tones. Then, my coworker said "Everybody shut up, they said smoke at the Pentagon". Everybody shut up and then we saw that the Pentagon had been attacked.

I felt at first like the country was being attacked, like there could be more attacks any minute, like the something akin to the London blitz was beginning. There was alot of misinformation at that time. I remember clearly the news reporting smoke on the mall and never hearing it mentioned again, even to be retracted. After a while a coworker said "I'm getting the hell out of here". I thought that sounded like a good idea, but had to think about which direction to go. 395, my usual route, was covered in debris, any other route would take me by the white house and other areas of dc that were sure to be conjested or cut off by security. I was on Capitol Hill, about a block from the Capitol building. A coworker and I left the back way, 295. We then sat on the freeway for 2 hours before we got to Alexandria. I remember thinking if someone wanted to bomb us, they would have gotten tons of people just sitting on the freeway or on the bridge. I think by that time we realized it wasn't going to be like the London blitz, but it was still frightening. The other thing, we were trying to get a hold of friends and family to see if they were ok/to tell them I was ok, but the cell phones would not work that day. I had to wait until I got home and to a land line.

Another friend came over that day and we drove around Arlington/Alexandria trying to find someplace to have lunch. Everywhere but one place seemed to be closed, with quickly homemade signs that said they were closed. Even chain places like Chili's just packed up. I had done the same thing of course, neither of my bosses were in so we just left work on our own. Later they evacuated the building, but we left earlier.

And then, at the end of the day, I had several friends over and we ate ice cream. Ice Cream!

For a while afterwards there were helicopters flying around over the city. I still look up a little worried when I see one.

Icepick said...

Shanna wrote: There was alot of misinformation at that time. I remember clearly the news reporting smoke on the mall and never hearing it mentioned again, even to be retracted.

Shanna, I remember that report, as well as reports of a bomb going off in front of the State Department.

Jim said...

When I saw the twin towers collapse on TV at a friend's house in Rio de Janeiro, it was from a perspective far different from that of my fellow Americans. I hate to throw a cold bucket on the vociferous greiving here in the USA, but the fact is that many of my fellow Latins still harbor bitter memories of Operation Condor and other recent American interventions in the internal affairs of Latin countries that led to deaths and "disappearances" of tens of thousands of Latins. Not only Castro, but other heads of state like Kirchner, Bachelet, Morales, Lula, and Chavez have good reason to despise American policies. My experiences of Latins' sentiments on that September 11 day is well summed up by an insightful article that appeared in the German magazine Der Spiegel four days after the attack. I quote it here in full, with credit to the original in German:

The Mood turns against the Cowboy
“Stimmung gegen den Cowboy” Original in German -- http://www.spiegel.de/

The attack at the heart of the USA causes not only mourning and horror. In Latin America, one also senses secret Schadenfreude.

Actually, they had met for dinner. Then the eight Brazilian friends sat just like all the world before the TV and focused on the scenes of catastrophe in New York.

Two doctors, an entrepreneur, a professor and a journalist were there -- educated, friendly, sophisticated people from Rio de Janeiro -- two of them with children who study in Boston. Like anyone, they were full of sympathy for the victims. However, that sympathy expressly excluded the USA.

Maybe it was the pictures that reminded them of a trailer of “Independence Day” and satisfied the eyes more than the head: everything appears unreal, an alien attacks the earth -- the flame ripping up the tower, the dust that rages through the housing canyons of Manhattan and drives the people before it. Then come the politicians in their patriotic dress. By the time of the pep-rally speech by the president, the Brazilian friends had renamed the film they saw running there. It was now called, rather derogatorily, “Criminal Court.”

The doctor says that the Americans she knows are helpful and nice -- and ignorant with respect to foreign countries, “They simply assume that all world loves them.” And her husband adds, “Now they are amazed that it is not so.”

“Their politics is the problem,” the journalist offers while ex-Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger demands bombardment of Afghanistan, “Bush is an illiterate, and that makes him dangerous”. Murmur of agreement. It is all directed against TV-pictures that cause sympathy world-wide, but they brace themselves against the so-called solidarity.

“They thought they were invulnerable,” the entrepreneur says not without malice, “and then a dozen people enter the country and explode everything into the air.” After which the group, not without head-shaking admiration, discusses the perfect logistics of the assassins.

Nobody among the friends is Muslim. Islam is of no importance to them. They go to Hollywood-films, they like Frank Sinatra, they buy Häagen Dasz ice cream. However, it is almost as if those insane fanatics have articulated, in the most brutal way, the dark sentiment of resistance that lives in the breast of the cultivated Latin American.

“It is an attack on freedom,” says George W. Bush. “Nonsense,” the doctor says. “It is an attack on the USA.” And as Kissinger speaks -- the man who shares responsibility for dictatorships in Latin America -- nothing but disgust is registered in this cultivated group.

Just the day before, Kissinger was accused of participating in the murder of a Chilean general unwilling to take part in a coup d’etat. Many would like to see him stand trial before a court of law. Now he is a world-strategist, speaking of “wiping out” Evil -- not with one single stroke of vengeance, but with a “systematic attack.” The doctor says, “That means war.”

The longer they sit together before the TV, the more they share in their anti-Americanism. And in their fear they feel that, “one can only pray that Bush commit no egregious error.“

The Brazilian daily of the next morning continues the protest bluntly. “This attack,” a commentator writes in the Jornal do Brasil, “is not surprising.” Thereupon follows the list of political failures -- Washington has brazenly quit the Kyoto climate agreement, ignores the racism in its own country and intervenes in the cultures of other nations.

Even more heartless, another commentator, writes, “Pepper in the eye of another does no harm; it only burns only in one’s own.” The USA felt no sorrow for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nor for the civilians in Vietnam. Nor for the victims of the dictatorships they supported in Latin America. There is even open schadenfreude: “This cowboy doesn't draw as quickly as he claims,” O Globo writes, “and he is vulnerable.”

And it’s not only the absolutely “americanized “ colossus of Brazil that manifests these sentiments. In numerous press commentaries in Latin America, “solidarity” is more often denied than confirmed. The invitation to participate in common mourning is refused.

In recent months, the new politics of the USA has reminded many folks of the old politics. The fact that Bush has recently filled key posts pertaining to his Latin American politics with old warriors from the Reagan-Contra Era has not escaped notice, but instead has aroused the old fears.

The day of the catastrophe has also revealed that it is not just about fanatical Palestinian women, who pass through the streets trilling, while their sons shoot volleys of ecstasy into the air. Not just about discussion forums on Chinese websites that find understanding for the perpetrators. It is about the “millions of people in the third world who are condemned to die under the American hegemony.”

No, the resentment against the USA exploits their darkest day as an occasion to give expression to long-suppressed sentiments -- and with it to counter the official rank-closing of the heads of state with the White House.

And so one thing becomes clear: Their fear in beholding an injured cowboy, who in vengeance might pull off a wild shot. “One thing is sure,” one of the eight friends says this evening, “the 21st Century has begun and things look bad for our children.”

MATTHIAS MATUSSEK

Mike said...
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Joseph Hovsep said...

buffpilot, Wow, that was really interesting, thanks for sharing. Put everyone else to shame.

I was in a 8:30am-9:55am Evidence lecture in law school. During class a few cell phones went off and two people left class early. I remember thinking that was unusual, but not alarming. I was taking careful notes to share with my roommate who was absent because she was interviewing with firms in NYC (with lots of other second year law students). They put her up at the swanky WTC Mariott. I walked out of class toward the student lounge, which was filled with ten times as many people as usual. I squeezed in and asked someone I didn't know what was happening. We got in touch with my roommate as she was safely walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in her interview heels. It was so incomprehensible, I didn't know how/what to emote for a few hours at least, unless incomprehensibility itself can be defined as an emotion.

altoids1306 said...

re: Brazilian secret Schadenfreude, etc., etc.

For their sake, I hope the US never decides to stop intervention around the world. The US will survive just fine without US global power projection. The rest of the world, I'm not so sure.

There will be plenty of schadenfreude to go around the day a majority of Americans believe that it is no longer in the national interest to maintain the stability of the current world order.

amba said...

Marvelous conclusion, as it finds affirmation in what we deplore. We just aren't a collective people.

Marvelous phenomenology too -- the exact feeling of the repetition compulsion of replaying the images over and over again, part involuntary traumatic flashback, part deliberate trying to break through your own disbelief and feel.

I wanted to link, but TYPEPAD IS DOWN, WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?

Freder Frederson said...

For their sake, I hope the US never decides to stop intervention around the world.

Oh yeah, Chile was much better off because the Nixon administration engineered the coup against Allende that resulted in the Pinochet dictatorship. What hubris! We certainly have the right to correct "bad" decisions by the people of other countries. Democracy is fine as long as it is the kind of "democracy" we like.

And of course funding and supporting extreme fundamentalist islamic muhajadeen guerillas to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan or ignoring Saddam's slaughter of his Kurdish and Shiite minorities as long as he is also slaughtering Iranians will never come back to bite us in the ass either, will it?

David said...

The immortal words of the brave souls on Flight 93:

"LET'S ROLL!"

It wasn't "Let's roll over!"

tjl said...

Freder is tireless. He will never stop lecturing on how "terrorism" is actually the understandable, if regrettable, response of the oppressed to the numberless crimes of the U.S. capitalist system etc. etc. etc.

OhioAnne said...

Freder Frederson said...
For their sake, I hope the US never decides to stop intervention around the world.

Oh yeah, Chile was much better off because the Nixon administration engineered the coup against Allende that resulted in the Pinochet dictatorship. What hubris! We certainly have the right to correct "bad" decisions by the people of other countries. Democracy is fine as long as it is the kind of "democracy" we like.



I lived in Chile for 18 months during the dictatorship of Pinochet. How did it differ from the "democracy" under Allende?

Pinochet ended the loyalty oaths required of the general population to be able to buy food that Allende required. He reinstated elections - not as often as we would have in America, but far more often than Allende was ready to allow. He severely limited the existence of the death squads that were commonsplace under Allende and targeted even common public servants.

In the race to blame the US administration for the overthrow of the Allende goverment, the fact that Pinochet did what he did with the full support of all the branches of the Chilean military and the Chilean legislature is forgotten.

Why would they support such a cold hearted SOB? Because he was the better of two evils.

And this subject is off-topic.

Freder Frederson said...

He severely limited the existence of the death squads that were commonsplace under Allende and targeted even common public servants.

Umm, the death squads were operated by Pinochet supporters trying to overthrow Allende. Once he was gone, of course Pinochet would curb their actions. You make it sound like the death squads were a tool used by Allende. That is dishonest in the extreme to the point of being an outright lie.

He reinstated elections

Pinochet reinstated elections? I wasn't aware that the Allende government had suspended them.

the fact that Pinochet did what he did with the full support of all the branches of the Chilean military and the Chilean legislature is forgotten.

Generally, in a democracy, elections, not coups and executions, are used to change the government (as I noted above, it was only after the coup, that elections were suspended). And the military usually doesn't have a say in who governs (you might want to read our constitution for an example of how these things are supposed to work). As for Pinochet having the "full support" of the legislature, you are simply lying about that.

As for being off-topic, I'm not the one who lifted someone elses work or said the U.S. had the right to overthrow democratically elected governments we don't like. I was merely setting the record straight.

The Drill SGT said...

I was at work in Alexandria, VA. My wife was in the FAA building next to the Capitol Mall. I heard about the first plane and joined staff in our lobby watching on a big screen. Most of us were Army vets and our firm had a bunch of staff working in the Pentagon that day. I had previously worked there. Then the second plane hit. I remember my thoughts and words well.

We're at war! I don't know who we are at war with, but we're in a war.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
OhioAnne said...

Well said, Palladian.

As Freder just ably demonstrated he doesn't know anything about Chile or what happened there and is simply making it up as he is goes along to detract from a remembrance thread.

Many posters have already expressed my response to 9-11. In addition to the shock and horror was the feeling that the world had profoundly changed. Although I grew up during the Vietnam era, it was the first time in my life that I said 'We are at war' and truly understood what that meant.

On that particular day, my sister was to take me out for a belated birthday lunch. Her only child had made the decision to serve his country in the Navy after graduating from Annapolis. As his first deployment drew near, we all prayed that his time would be as boring and as uneventful as was possible. He served aboard an aircraft carrier and arrived at his first duty station just days before.

After I learned of the attack, I called my sister to let her know that I would understand if she cancelled. (I wanted to cancel and go home myself although that ultimately wasn't possible.)

She hadn't heard yet.

Fortunately her husband was also home so she didn't have to hear the news alone.

Jim said...

You just might be an Amerikan if:

1. The best measure of the value of your life when you die in a building collapse is how much you earn and how many dependents of what ages you have left behind.
2. You consider halting the $3,000,000,000 per annum Drug War in Colombia after 30,000 murders because two white Amerikan missionaries were killed by the narcs.
3. Your government claims the right to tax your worldwide earnings and at the same time deprive you of medicare while you actually reside overseas.
4. Your only moral issues are those based on fear or sex, or fear of sex.
5. You pay big money to exercise at a place that has an elevator and where you can park real close to the entrance.
6. You feel rich but wonder why you can't get the world's best bread, beer, wine, women or song.
7. Your country produces most of the world's great films, but you wonder why you have to go overseas to see them uncut.
8. You spend about $10,000 per 9-month year to miseducate each kid and end up depending on computer programmers imported from India.
9. You pay up your homeowner’s insurance before going off to climb Mt. Everest and squander billions on seatbelts, kiddie seats, bicycle helmets, safe ladders and lawnmowers and still have money left over to enjoy Adventure Travel in the developing world.
10. You pay for and lug around water that is less safe than what you could get free from a tap.
11. You first learned about oral sex directly from your President.

howzerdo said...

Ann,
I, too, have had that exact and awful realization upon awakening when someone dear to me has died: "He (or she) died, s/he really died!" And your description of your thoughts after 9/11: "That happened. That really happened!" perfectly sums up the numbness and horror I felt for a long time afterwards.

Pogo said...

When I passed by the patient lobby and saw the burning towers on their crappy TV high up on the wall, I drew closer. I had sick people to tend to, but I kept comig back to that awful screen. I too knew right then that we were at war. And I felt ill, like when my niece died, only worse. I wanted to call home and check on my kids. I wanted to do ...something.

My life changed right then. I thought then that my children's whole era would come to turn on this event.

The sheer selflessness shown by the police and fire and armed services that day and the days after were both beautiful and inspiring.

And in those few days I came across the first of the Doubters and Trolls and Anti-US types that still bitch about our every move and our very existence.

I will never forgive these fascists; I will never forget our heroes.

Paul Zrimsek said...

One redeeming feature of the Spiegel article is that it deflates a fantstic claim often heard from otherwise sensible people: that the US had the good will of the whole world after 9/11 until Bush ruined everything.

It also reminds us that America-hatred is found among the stupid jerks of every nation. It isn't just Jim and Fred.

Mike said...

I remember my response to the "why do they hate us?" question, immediately post 9/11: "I don't care. I may have pre-9/11, but I don't anymore."

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Why do they hate us?"

Why should the Jews have all the fun?

Jim said...

Yeah,

and as NPR has just reported, the majority of folks around the world think the twin-towers' fall was not caused by terrorists. And they are not weeping:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6049846

It looks like those of you who still want war need to polish up those breastplates of Amerikan righteousness.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Thanks to Leading Top Commenter Jim for the additional data.

Stupid-- check. Jerks-- check.

Fenrisulven said...

Jim and his ilk still think this is a popularity contest. I'm sure they look fetching in golden collars.

If we lose this war and the West falls, I only hope I live long enough to watch our parasitic weasels supplicate themselves under the Jihadi sword.

Fenrisulven said...

/Noonan Flashback, 10-05-01

"Into the tower of death strode the three hundred.

Three hundred firemen. This is the part that reorders your mind when you think of it. For most of the 5,000 dead were there--they just happened to be there, in the buildings, at their desks or selling coffee or returning e-mail. But the 300 didn't happen to be there, they went there. In the now-famous phrase, they ran into the burning building and not out of the burning building. They ran up the stairs, not down, they went into it and not out of it. They didn't flee, they charged. It was just before 9 a.m. and the shift was changing, but the outgoing shift raced to the towers and the incoming shift raced with them. That's one reason so many were there so quickly, and the losses were so heavy. Because no one went home. They all came.

And one after another they slapped on their gear and ran up the stairs. They did this to save lives. Of all the numbers we've learned since Sept. 11, we don't know and will probably never know how many people that day were saved from the flames and collapse. But the number that has been bandied about is 20,000--20,000 who lived because they thought quickly or were lucky or prayed hard or met up with (were carried by, comforted by, dragged by) a fireman."

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=95001272

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnny Nucleo said...

Brazilian sophisticates hate America? You're kidding! When did this happen?!

Alas, it seems all sophisticates hate America. And Israel.

Do Brazilian sophisticates hate Israel too? Wanna take a guess?

You know who also hates America and Israel? Terrorists. That's weird. Because they are not sophisticates. Yet terrorists and sophisticates hate the same things. What a coincidence!

You know what's a cool movie? "The Boys From Brazil."

roger de hauteville said...

I love hearing from guys like the lovely folks Jim knows in Rio de Janeiro. But they can't all come here and wash dishes so I guess some have to stay and become Trotsky wannabes there.

I feel as though little children are throwing stuffed toys at me. Mewling, sissy children at that. Dirty little toys, smeared with the offal from their miserable snotty noses.

We shit bigger than you. We sneeze and you get pneumonia. We pay everybody's band so you can listen to our tune, today and always, Jack.

Now crawl back to that festering shithole you're preeening over and revolve slowly in a cold, shabby orbit around us, begging for baksheesh. Maybe someday you'll get your extra special ration card from your very own caudillo, and you'll be happy.

All the while, we'll walk upright, and you crawl around mewling that you coulda been somebody but Henry Kissinger or Henry the Eighth or Henry the Navigator or Henry Gibson or some other earthshakin' event is the real reason you live a bughouse with the lights off.

Somebody? Maybe, but I doubt it. The somebodies are accounted for today: they charge into burning buildings to save their fellow citizens.

America is the whole damn world, with the losers distilled out.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Roger,

That was very good. You are an excellent troll. I'm being serious, what you did was subtle, it took discipline. You didn't rant, you did a bit of satire. It was good stuff.

Finn Kristiansen said...

I was asleep, and woke up to the news coming through on my television. And yet, work beckoned, and it was on odd thing to know that while NYC was burning, some people's most important task for the day was to know why the "strange" charges on their Macy's/Bloomies credit card bill were on there.

I felt like saying, "Who the F*** cares about your stupid purchase that you don't even remember you bought. People are dying."

****

Ann, this is one of your best posts and I am not even sure why. Just felt good reading it.

****

Dave said...
The only thing I ask of the religious is that they consider the depths to which religion has sunk man.


Dave you say that, and yet, I think it would be difficult to discount the contributions of religious people over history.

Further, I think you would be hard pressed to actually explain your own quote with facts that would prove meaningful to your point, for, every fact in favor can be offset by a fact of greater or more detailed opposition to your clairvoyantly wrong assumption.

There more you make that comment, the more you remind readers that your knowledge of history is deeply lacking.

Freeman Hunt said...

There more you make that comment, the more you remind readers that your knowledge of history is deeply lacking.

It's also annoying. Like having a silicone spatula and a friend who prefers metal spatulas, and everytime anything comes up that has even the most remote connection to cooking, the friend says, "I only ask that you consider the superiority of the metal spatula." Eventually you'd have to pop off on him and say, "Enough about the spatulas already!"