Saturday, September 11, 2004


I can't believe that today is September 11th. Not because it feels like it came too soon or because I don't want to face it but because it seems like nobody cares. Was there a moment of silence at the college football games? Not really. Did the news network give it any more than a passing 5 minute story? Barely. And that hurts me. Because really that day means so much in our history. And I think as future unfolds, it will mean so much in the future of our globe. The day everything changed. And I agree with Tony P. when he says it's ridiculous sept. 11th isn't yet a national holiday. Not so much a holiday but a day of remembrance. A day for all of us to sit back, to realize what was lost and to be so grateful for everything we've been given. But this day, September the 11th 2004 is just like any other saturday.

In my own way to honor the people who lost their lives and to keep the spirit of that day alive, I'll continue with what has become my yearly ritual of recounting my morning of September 11th, 2004.

I woke up for that ungodly early 8 AM geology class. I think that's when it happened. I wish I could say that I knew right then something went horribly wrong but honestly I had no idea. I left the science building and headed for the third floor of M house where I kicked off my shoes and returned to sleep. The phone rang, just like it had dozens of other times since I'd lived there, although I realize now it must have merely been a week or so into classes. I rose halfway out of my bed but not quite as far out of my slumber and answered the phone. It was my roommate P's dad. He asked politely how I was (that family was full of politeness, but east coast snobbery as well) and when I returned the favor his voice sounded strange. A sound of exasperation that I might ask how he was at a moment like this. He worked in the city and he told me the news. I was speechless. Whatever sleep still filled my eyes drained out as my brain tried to understand whether what I had just heard was some cruel joke or an even crueler reality. I think I may have let out a chuckle of utter disbelief. I think that was the last time I laughed all day. He told me to inform P that though he was shaken, he was out of harm's way. I assured him I would, hung up the phone, slipped on my shoes and headed downstairs. I met up with Dena on the first floor and explained the news, she said she had head a whisper of the similar story but, as we had not yet installed cable, we had no way of knowing what had happened. We walked to The Den, piecing together what few facts we could arrange. We arrived at the diner minutes later where the only operating TV could be found and suddenly we saw it all. We walked in to a packed house. People standing, sitting, all in awe, all silent and all in shock. I watched. I watched the gaping hole and after I stared I disbelief for long enough, I watched as the first tower came crumbling down. I watched, with horror, with sorrow, with disbelief and despair. I wish I could say that I was adding some bit of emotional bravado to this story but it would not be the truth. I watched as the dust cloud rose, as the people ran and as the windows shattered. I watched. In silence, in shock. I watched until I could watch no longer. Dena had disappeared. I was surrounded by all these people but I was alone. I left. I could not watch any longer. The ancient campus served its first real purpose. I sat down in the nook of a gigantic tree in the middle of the quad, and didn't know how to feel. I didn't know what to think. Then suddenly I just put my head in my hands and closed my eyes to try and process what I had just seen. But I couldn't think, all I could do was weep. I wept for a long time until I think there were no more tears left to cry. And then I sat. I sat and imagined why, imagined what it was like to be there. I sat. I imagined. I wanted to be part of the tree, to curl up within it and feel its unmoving strength. I wanted to feel the warmth of the water and the nutrients, roots to leaves to roots to leaves. All I wanted was to be something other than human, or at least something other than American.
That was by no means the end. There were days of piecing together what had happened. Days of complete stillness in NYC. There were weeks of sadness. Weeks of fear and confusion. I remember months later. I was leaving that place and I found myself in some hotel in middle America. Maybe it was Iowa, maybe Illinois, I have no idea. HBO was presenting a special remembrance of the day. I watched, and all of I came rushing back. All the things I had felt. I have a feeling it will be that way for a while. When I remember what happened, when I remember what I saw and what I felt and what I couldn't believe. I will remember, even if it does more harm than good. I will remember because I cannot forget. Because I shouldn't forget. Maybe I want to, need to but I won't. It's just not an option.


Blogger D Rant Master said...

If I can let me take this time to say thank you. Not because you were any stronger than the rest of us on that day but you were just another person looking for an answer to an unanswerable question. I feel that the way we all felt that day was what it is to "be" an American..

D Rant

11:25 PM  

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