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NEVER FUCKING FORGET

reprinted from 2010

My morning routine involves waking up, getting a cuppa from the automatic maker in the kitchen, then having a smoke or ten while farting around on the web in my office for a while before going to work. That's where I was on Sept 11, 2001 - sitting at my computer in my undies, butt hanging out of my mouth, mouse in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other, when the phone rang. It was our own on-again-off-again-staffer Hellvis. He said to turn on the tv.

I blearily asked why.

'Just do it. CNN. Now.' he said, and hung up.

So, I turned on the little tv I kept off to the side of my desk. Flipped it over to CNN. The first tower had been hit, and there was a lot of smoke coming out of the side, and they were still talking about it as if it was probably an accident, but beginning to pose the possibility that it wasn't.

I went and woke up Sunny, told her to turn on the tv in the bedroom. I went back to my desk and continued watching, engrossed in watching it unfold. They cut to footage of people in the street, staring and pointing, but still attempting to go about their day. The shot settled on a view that had the towers rising up in the close background, angled up, when the second plane suddenly came into frame up near the top of the screen. I clearly saw its underbelly as it slid into the building. When it was about halfway into the building, flames and debris blew backwards out of the plane and hole.

I was stunned. Overwhelmed by what I'd just seen combined with the spot understanding that it was all intentional.

I sat in that spot staring at the tv for the next 20 hours. I called in sick to work - they asked me if I was really sick, and I told them no, but I'd been watching tv all morning and didn't think I could drive. They said about a third of the morning shift - over a hundred people - had done the same, and that they understood.

I watched the towers come down live as well. During a lull in information, I started hitting some of the more news-oriented discussion sites that were on my regular morning route, and hit upon threads on MetaFilter, Fark, and Slashdot that were producing faster updates from more personal viewpoints than the tv. I followed them rabidly for the next few days. I'm amazed my F5 key didn't explode.

That day changed so much in my life. I wasn't anywhere near it, didn't know anybody personally lost in it, but it's impact on me was profound. I grew up a lot that day. I guess we all did, to a degree. My view of the world and how we were supposed to fit into it and how we actually fit into it began an evolution that is still going on to this day.

Over the past 9 years, the anger has turned to sorrow. The outrage and vitriol has spread from the actual perpetrators to include everything from foreign policy to American arrogance to base human nature. I mourn more than the dead, I mourn my innocence. Our innocence. The America that I thought was. Same with the world. I've lost count of the number of times I've been ashamed to be human. 9/11 gave me a worldview that I cannot unsee, and drove me to begin questioning everything. There have been many moments in my life that have changed me in one way or the other, but 9/11 trumps them all. Hard.

I cannot imagine enduring such changes from any closer proximity than I've personally experienced, and my heart goes out to all who were touched by 9/11, be it personally, professionally, ideologically, or emotionally.
By: dave
Sunday, Sep 11th 2016 (3:17am)
[Comments: 1]
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spam_vigilante From: spam_vigilante Ignore me at your own peril
Date: 9/11/16 @ 07:41 AM
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Every weekend I hold a group fitness training session less than 100 yards from this place. Today, I was saddened that although I had two clients show up for my fitness, nobody showed up to observe the memorial.

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