Six years ago

Alto2 from Tales From The Testosterone Zone has asked the questions:

Where were you on September 11, 2001? How has it affected your life?

My husband, youngest son and I were all in the dentist’s waiting room. A man came running in asking if there was a television in the office because he’d just heard on the radio that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. The receptionist, my husband, and I all looked at each other like “this guy is nuts.”

The receptionist told him no and the guy left. We chalked it up to the guy either being a nutcase or someone who listened to some ridiculous talk radio station that was spreading ridiculous rumors.

About an hour later we were in the car, tuning into NPR figuring that if something that big happened, NPR would be covering it. And covering it they were. We all looked at each other in shock and disbelief.

We went home, turned on the television, and sat glued for several hours, watching as people jumped from the buildings, something they stopped showing after a while because someone must have had the good sense to think “we can’t show this on television.” I don’t think I realized they were people — and not debris from the crash — until about the third or fourth showing. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for those people who made the decision to jump rather than burn to death. How horrifying that must have been.

Eventually the buildings came crashing down as we watched. Special reports mentioned a hijacked plane in the Cleveland area. I think we were all in too much shock to be as worried as we could’ve been. There was lots of confusion that day about where various flights were and just which planes had been hijacked. I think this incident (and the subsequent events involving Cleveland) is the one which was mentioned in the local special reports at the time.

At some point during the afternoon M turned off the television and said, “Let’s go for a hike.” He knew we needed to get away from the horror that was being played and replayed on TV. We were numb.

It was a gorgeous day and the sky was that wonderful shade of blue it takes on during the autumn months. It was eerily quiet outside and it took a while before we remembered that the planes had been grounded. Funny how much the noise of planes in flight intrudes on our everyday lives, and how it became more noticeable once it was gone.

How have the events of 9/11 affected my life?

Like Alto2, there are the petty ways:

I’ve never liked flying and now it’s worse. For a couple of years it seemed as though airport security were trying to prove they weren’t profiling because they were always pulling me out to do a thorough search. The same thing would happen with our oldest son, as if pulling out red haired, fair skinned people would make it loud and clear that they weren’t profiling.

I’ll probably get someone’s dander up by saying this but I’ll say it anyhow: Why not profile if you know who you’re looking for??

As Alto2 said, flying has become a colossal pain in the ass, taking some of the fun out of traveling.

I never liked Bush, and came to distrust him more and more after that day.*

I don’t like being in tall buildings. It hasn’t stopped me from going into tall buildings. But I don’t feel comfortable in them.

The important ways:

I try to stay in touch with family and friends. It could easily have been one of our family members or close friends on one of those flights.

I’ve been seeking more spirituality in my life. Not religion, because I’m not big on religion. Just a more spiritual approach to living and being.

I pay more attention to politics, although I have to admit that I sometimes get so disgusted with it all that I tune out for a while.

I’m committed more than ever to peace. I’ve always believed that violence begets violence, and I think we’ve all seen plenty of proof of that.

(In the Peace Garden. 2007)

*I need to clarify what I meant here.  First, this isn’t a political blog.  I was merely stating how I feel.  I don’t give a flying fig if my political beliefs are transparent or not.  However, anyone reading who doesn’t know me shouldn’t presume to know anything about me or my beliefs.

Second, when I wrote I came to distrust Bush more and more after that day, it’s not because I blame him for what occurred on September 11th.   I can see how that might have been misinterpreted given that I didn’t flesh out the sentence.  (I will note, however, that I would’ve given someone else the benefit of the doubt here and not gone about assuming things one way or the other.)  There was a point right after September 11th when much of the rest of the world sympathized with us.

Six years later that’s no longer true.  It’s my opinion (and that’s all, just an opinion) that the Bush regime has much to do with that change.

That’s all I have to say on the subject.