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September 11, 2006

TODAY

Hi judi,
        Could you please post a link on the blog to
Dave's September 11 column?
        Thanks.
        - Guin

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2001

JUST FOR BEING AMERICANS . . .

By DAVE BARRY, Herald Columnist

No humor column today. I don't want to write it, and you don't want to read
it.

No words of wisdom, either. I wish I were wise enough to say something that
would help make sense of this horror, something that would help ease the
unimaginable pain of the victims' loved ones, but I'm not that wise. I'm
barely capable of thinking. Like many others, I've spent the hours since
Tuesday morning staring at the television screen, sometimes crying,
sometimes furious, but mostly just stunned.

What I can't get out of my mind is the fact that they used our own planes. I
grew up in the Cold War, when we always pictured the threat as coming in the
form of missiles - sleek, efficient death machines, unmanned, hurtling over
the North Pole from far away. But what came, instead, were our own
commercial airliners, big friendly flying buses coming from Newark and
Boston with innocent people on board. Red, white and blue planes, with
``United'' and ``American'' written on the side. The planes you've flown in
and I've flown in. That's what they used to attack us. They were able to do
it in part because our airport security is pathetic. But mainly they were
able to do it because we are an open and trusting society that simply is not
set up to cope with evil men, right here among us, who want to kill as many
Americans as they can.

That's what's so hard to comprehend: They want us to die just for being
Americans. They don't care which Americans die: military Americans, civilian
Americans, young Americans, old Americans. Baby Americans. They don't care.
To them, we're all mortal enemies. The truth is that most Americans, until
Tuesday, were only dimly aware of their existence, and posed no threat to
them. But that doesn't matter to them; all that matters is that we're
Americans. And so they used our own planes to kill us.

And then their supporters celebrated in the streets.

I'm not naive about my country. My country is definitely not always right;
my country has at times been terribly wrong. But I know this about
Americans: We don't set out to kill innocent people. We don't cheer when
innocent people die.

A DECENT PEOPLE

The people who did this to us are monsters; the people who cheered them have
hate-sickened minds. One reason they can cheer is that they know we would
never do to them what their heroes did to us, even though we could, a
thousand times worse. They know that when we hunt down the monsters, we will
try hard not to harm the innocent. Those are the handcuffs we willingly
wear, because for all our flaws, we are a decent people.

And now we are a traumatized people. The TV commentators keep saying that
the attacks have awakened a ``sleeping giant.'' And I guess we do look like
a giant, to the rest of the world. But when I look around, I don't see a
giant: I see millions of individuals - the resilient and caring citizens of
New York and Washington; the incredibly brave firefighters, police officers
and rescue workers risking their lives in the dust and flames; the
politicians standing on the steps of the Capitol and singing an off-key
rendition of God Bless America that, corny as it was, had me weeping; the
reporters and photographers who have not slept, and will not sleep, as long
as there is news to report; the people in my community, and communities
across America, lining up to give blood, wishing they could do more.

A GOOD COUNTRY

No, I don't see a giant. What I see is Americans. We may have the power of a
giant, but we also have the heart of a good and generous people, and we will
get through this. We will grieve for our dead, and tend to our wounded, and
repair the damage, and tighten our security, and put our planes back in the
air. Eventually most of us, the ones lucky enough not to have lost somebody,
will resume our lives. Some day, our country will track down the rest of the
monsters behind this, and make them pay, and I suppose that will make most
of us feel a little better. But revenge and hatred won't be why we'll go on.
We'll go on because we know this is a good country, a country worth keeping.

Those who would destroy it only make us see more clearly how precious it is.

© 2001

Comments

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I work evenings/nights. So, I had gotten up on that morning here in Jacksonville, FL, and taken the kids to school. When I got back home, I quickly checked the computer and read where a plane had hit the WTC. At the time, I thought it was a small plane that had possibly developed engine trouble or whatever. I then laid back down to catch some more sleep. About 9:10, the phone rang. It was a friend of mine from Dallas crying into the phone in a panic.... "Valerie, What is Going ON??!!" I asked him what he meant - he said "Turn on the TV!!" which I did. I turned on the TV right as they were showing the replay of the second plane hitting the second tower. I was just numb. Absolutely numb. I remember standing and watching the TV and then having to back up and sit on the couch so that I didn't collapse. Not long after, the report came that the Pentagon had been hit - then the crash in PA. My mind absolutely could not accept the facts. I felt like I was in a dream. At that point, I called the kids' school. They assured me that the kids were safe - they were NOT allowing them to watch TV, but had briefly given them information about what was happening (they were in middle school - grades 6 and 7 at the time). The school secretary said that they were allowing parents to come get their children, however, if that is what the parents wished to do. I immediately went to the school and got my kids. I just wanted them to be close. I guess like everyone else, the rest of my day was spent in front of the TV, looking for answers, hoping for some glimpse of good news out of his horrible tragedy.

I think the thing that hurt me the most was the loss of the firefighters. My grandfather and father were retired firefighters and my brother was an active firefighter at the time - so firefighters are very near and dear to my heart. There is an alarm that sounds on a firefighters breathing apparatus when the firefighter becomes trapped (called a PASS alarm) - so that he can be found. Somebody who was at the scene told me that the eeriest sound that day was the sound of 300+ PASS alarms going off simultaneously after the sound of the collapsed building had ebbed. I still get chills thinking about it.

I was in my office in DC when the Pentagon was hit. I decided the day before to delay going into my office in the Pentagon until after lunch to get some paperwork done for the company. Saw the smoke rise. Got the news reports. Phones jammed. Where are my co-workers who were inside? Two hours later. They made it outside. Security won't let them go back inside to help others. They waited. I waited. Two more hours. More news replays. Orders given. Headed home. Temporary office set up in Rosslyn. Drive by Pentagon every day. Afghanistan is the task. Watch workers rebulding around the clock.

One year later. New office on 4th corridor, "B" ring, first floor. Cracked tiles still there where the nose of the plane stopped. Workers painting the corridor walls. Quilt from Mrs. Smith's Fifth Grade Class with stars and stripes encased on the wall. Afghanistan and now Iraq. Lunchtime walk to the "E" ring to watch the workers clear debris for the memorial. Not enough money to complete it, yet. We all give a some more. Time will tell.

Today. 9:48. Nothing moving. No planes from National Airport. No cars. No noise. Just silence. Inside, the only sound is the air flow through the new filters. We are silent. Not looking at each other. No small talk this morning. Not this morning.

Gotta go wipe my eyes. God Bless America and those who serve.

If you would like to send support to those that are currently fighting for our freedom abroad, I recommend this site

of necessity
unity, help, the good fight
our nation's ideal

our reality
diversity. america
i say you go girl

some shoulders strong (blurk)
some lame (mine) know this: we will
fight to the last man

On 9/11, we were ALL New Yorkers (even us Red Sox fans....don't let it happen again)

Thank you guys for your personal stories...I sit here reading them and realize that this will be remembered as one of those days when time stood still and we'll all think back at what we were doing on that particular moment...

another round of heartfelt hugs to you all...

My cousin was piloting an American flight over northern Florida that morning. His instructions over the radio were frightening: lock the cockpit door and bolt it shut, find 15,000 feet of runway anywhere and get on the ground NOW, and let no-one off the plane. I used to travel a lot, and I can't imagine what that must have been like as a passenger...not knowing and not being told. I suppose those with phones learned what had happened, but he couldn't tell them.

The sight of the towers collapsing is among those that are seared into my brain forever. I didn't know anyone directly affected, so my emotion was primarily anger at the cowards who did this. Some of the messages here made me feel anger all over again. Thanks for reminding me. :-)

John Oliphant

Wanted to add one more thing....

We knew that all flights were grounded. The night after the attack, my daughter came running down the hallway with this horrible look of fear in her eyes..... "I hear an airplane!!" I stopped and listened and it was - sounded like a small private plane. We waited until it went overhead. I assured her that everything was okay. That moment, however, really drove home to me what a scar 9/11 had left on everyone - especially the children who were old enough to realize what was happening.

Why is this so comforting today?

one of the guys in the office has his birthday today--he took the day off. we usually have cake, so it seems fitting that we'll put that off till tomorrow.

I was pregnant and wondered if Mr.W and I were doing the right thing bringing a life into such a hate-filled world.

Thank you to all who serve... Blessings on all who survived and the families of those who did not.

Thank you, mud.

Now I'm cryin' again.

I got involved with a thing that has not received a lot of attention, but it's something I found to be worth doing. 2,996 was thought up by D. Challener Roe, and he can explain it better than I can. My contribution is the topmost entry at my place and may be read by clcking on my name below.

A list of -- and links to -- all participating bloggers, our very own Schadeboy among them, can be seen here. (He's number 18; I'm number 345.)

Advisory: as I post this, those links (other than my name below) are not working, presumably because of high traffic. I hope you will keep trying and visit them later.

To everyone who hurts today, especially all of you who have already posted here, love and comforting thoughts are coming at you from Colorado.

Mrs. W - it's our children that are going to make this world better! If we don't teach the new generation tolerance, respect and honor, then how can we continue to be proud Americans? And this is not an evil world - there are just evil people in it.

I agree 24. That is part of the reason we had another one last year.

Another good story

Mrs. W - now, you're just a glutton for punishment :)

Seriously - congrats! I have 2 as well - aren't they a hoot?

Okay, I give up. Today is puffy weepy eyes day.

All of the above posts, including Daves original have me remembering so many aspects of that awful day. We had family working both in the Trade Center and in the Pentagon...it was the longest day I ever remember...just waiting to hear any news of them. We were some of the luckiest families, all members were accounted for.

I remeber several days later, in the middle of the night we heard a helicopter fly over---minutes later jet fighters also flew over. Our entire town was up at 2 am terrified at what it meant. The damns and the power grids were the big concerns. It turned out to be nothing, but I think the collective nerve rating was off the chart. Living in so much fear put us in a place that none of us in America had imagined we would ever see here in our own country. I lack the words to express it all...

I can only reiterate what all of you wonderful people have said. I re-read these article not long ago, and do about once a year. God bless Blurk and Wyo and all those who fight for and protect our freedoms, and allow us to sleep at night with a safe feeling. God bless those who lost loved ones..God bless America. We're crying together Blurk.

I remember reading Dave. Dave Barry - unfunny. I remember missing Jon Stewart and David Letterman. I remember waiting and wondering if it would ever again be possible to laugh. Would it ever NOT be inappropriate to try to be funny.

I know now that we HAVE to laugh - or the bastards win.

Thank you, Dave, Judi and all of you marvelously twisted, funny, sensitive, crazy human beings on the blog! Without folks like you, why wake up?

My stongest memory is of the families who made up flyers with pictures and photos of loved ones lost, showing them to tv cameras and posting them anywhere, in hopes of finding those who would not be found.

you guys are eloquent in your remembrances. thank you for sharing. i was in the car driving to work when i heard. on the news, they were saying they weren't sure whether the first (small) plane had lost control or intended to hit the tower; then the second one hit. i called my ex to tell him, and called dave, but of course he was watching the tv already. i got to work and watched, unmoving, often alone, standing in front of one of the newsroom tv monitors, as the towers collapsed.

my son was up in the next county where we live; they too were allowed to go home. my friend picked him up when she got her son, and i went to get him; i don't remember if the traffic was bad or not, don't remember the trip at all, just remember feeling unsure what was happening, what would be different... were they going to attack more cities? what would happen in the days to come?

i saw that firefighter show last night, siouxie, and what seemed surreal to me was the sight of firefighters standing around in the lobby of tower 1, with light around them, waiting, but not in any kind of uproar... and hearing those awful thunking sounds. they were just standing there. then came the collapse of the other tower, like a roaring tornado approaching, and then grey, dust, swirling, and finally blackness. blackness, in a room that had been bright as daylight moments before.

i'm glad (as someone said, not the right word) to have been able to visit the site when the fence around st pauls chapel was still covered with memorial items. my friend and i wrote our own messages on one of the posters hanging there. the tributes and comments were incredible. last month, my son and i visited the site; the church no longer had things hanging from the fences, but inside were stations of tribute, and we were there for a prayer. it is most incredible to see the buildings that are still standing; how high they are! and they are not nearly the size of the twin towers, which must have been unimaginably tall.

hmmm... like some others, i am finding it difficult to think of other things today. sorry to bend your collective ear for my entire lunchtime... it is nice to share with people who feel the same. thank you for listening, thank you for sharing...

I agree, Cheryl. I'm sitting here in my office staring at the screen - the news websites - reading about all the tributes going on, etc. I see the rest of my co-workers going on as usual...I just can't. I feel like going home and crawling under the covers for the rest of the day! I don't consider myself to be overly sensitive but I don't think I've ever been as affected by a single event in my entire life. (not counting the usual good and bad moments we normally experience in life). As far as being patriotic...I know I'm cuban and while that is my heritage, I have always considered myself an American and I've never loved this country or it's heroes as much as I have after this tragic day.

I was on vacation with extended family at the beach. We all live in the DC area, two uncles were contractors working at the Pentagon, a third was a cop. We spent the day desperately trying to call home to check on my housebound grandparents, and find out if everyone was ok. When we finally reached my grandmother, she was fine, but slightly annoyed because every friend of ours in town was stopping by to check on them! The kindness of strangers increased tenfold that week.
We stayed, uncertain about travel conditions, and were glued to the tv the rest of the week.
What I remember most about the drive home is the color. Red, white, and blue flags everywhere. Balloons, ribbons, homemade signs saying God Bless America, and We Will Never Forget, etc. . . All the way home, through two states. It was very moving.

I too participated in the 2,996 project, the link is my name. I thought it was a good way to remember 9/11, better than re-watching the tragedy.

on nine-eleven
add my voice to mudstuffin's
still we remember

Thanks for posting that judi, and for writing it, Dave.

It's good to remember why we'll prevail. Ultimately, it's because goodness, decency, and love are more powerful than hate and terror.

People of every race, nation, creed, or religion can recognize and celebrate the great values shown by police, firefighters, and civilians who risked their lives for others that day. And while good and intelligent people can disagree about American policies, none can deny that American soldiers are putting their lives on the line to secure life and liberty, not for themselves, and not even just for their families and their country, but for all, and for anyone wherever they are sent.

That is something worth honoring, and worth supporting, and it is something against which those who have only hate and terror to offer can not long stand.

{{{Hugs}}} to Blurk and thank you - also to all other blogits that serve that I'm unaware of (and all of you who've served in the past). Of course hugs to all other blogits because we just need them. I refuse to let them win - I won't go home at lunch - I'm going outside to enjoy the sunshine and smell the beginning of Fall in the air. I'll meditate and send as much of a comforting, loving vibe as I can out - maybe y'all will feel it. This day serves as a reminder to me that I should have compassion EVERY day for my fellow "beans" (a nickname some friends and I have for human beings), but that seems hard to remember sometimes. So I'll take an earlier blogit's post to heart and hand a buck to someone who's down and out, donate some blood and just smile at someone who looks unhappy. A very large virtual smile and hug to you all. Thank you for sharing your stories here.

Susan

Wow, I can't stop the teary eyed look today. I just can't stop reading and thinking about it all. I'm with you, Souxie, I want to go home and lie in bed and just let the day go today.

You know what I'm doing today? What I do every day - work to support my family, eat dinner while talking to my kids about their day, spend quality time with my family, kiss the kids goodnight and thank God for the man I'm married to. 9/11 is a day to spend an extra moment thinking of the tragedy, but every day should be dedicated to showing those around us that we care.

Bear with me, please - I had just pulled into work, hearing on the country radio station that a plane had hit the WTC. "Dumb Cessna," I remember thinking, and went inside to try to pull up a webcam to view the damage. I couldn't. Then the other one hit. My mom had a meeting in the North Tower (NYSDOT), and my company had customers in the South Tower, Excel Credit Union. The Boston plane flew over my childhood home, the place where I mastered my comic timing by making milk spurt out my brother's nose at the dinner table...the farm where I grew up, gathering memories of barnyard animals smuggled into the house so I could later write about them and make people laugh. That plane followed the Hudson River south to the city, flying over my birthplace and birthright. Five years later, I can't really tell you how I felt. I just state the facts.

Turns out my mom's meeting had been rescheduled for 9/12, and our customers made it out safely. My brother guarded the 'hole' for months, and still suffers from the experience mentally.

Punkin, I saw the 'McGuinness' name of the pilot. I'm a McGuinness on my mom's side, naming my son 'Tommy' because it was a very common family name. I don't know if I'm related to the pilot, and it doesn't matter. What matters is now and tomorrow. I can't fix yesterday.

I've been hearing those forlorn PASS beeps, fading heartbeats, in my head all morning. The only thing that will subdue that sound will be to bring cookies to the local fire dept. Thanks MOTW, for the idea.

Remember yesterday, heal today, and tomorrow will be better. My heartfelt thanks & hugs to blurkie and all of you who have helped keep us so safe. Sorry to make you cry, but not that sorry. It's good for you.

Thanks, Dave, this column is one of many reasons that we all love you.

America, don't ever forget!

I just now had to go to the store and pick up some coffee creamer.

"Mandy" was playing through the store PA system.

I apologize in advance for any earworms that may have generated; this day just keeps getting worse.

I was a full-time mom and part-time waitress in Frederick, Maryland, about a mile away from Fort Dietrick. I had just sent the kids to school and turned on the TV, as was my custom, when the first plane hit. A few weeks before, some idiot had tried to buzz the Statue of Liberty or something, and I remember thinking that this was insanity of the same caliber, until the second plane started coming in.

Then Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, about 90 minutes away from Frederick, and initial speculation was that they were headed either for the Pentagon, or for Fort Dietrick, where they do a lot of research on chemical and biological warfare. I called the school to check on the kids, and they told me to come get them, school was cancelled for the day.

My kids could not understand why all of the stations, even the cartoon channels, were showing the "news." I had to stop crying long enough to explain, in terms that they would understand, what had happened. Then I put my older son in charge of the VCR, and went upstairs to watch what was happening.

From that day forward, whenever a person in uniform, be it military, police, or firefighter, sat in my section, their meal was on me. My boss tried to make me stop doing it, being afraid that the guests would think it was company policy or something, but I refused. If I were still waiting tables today, that would still be my policy.

I remember I was watching Katie and Matt, and they just thought that some dumb@ss had accidentally flown a small jet into the 1st tower, no one had any idea yet of the horrors to come; then suddenly the 2nd plane hit and Matt went totally off script and said "My God, its a terrorist attack" (or something very similar) and suddenly I knew that life in America had changed forever, that second. I went and gathered up my little boys (2 and 4 at the time) and held them for a long time.

Thanks Blurk and all who keep our country safe.

You are all proof of what Dave's article said: That America is not a giant, but basically good, decent people with giant hearts. I'm off to bake brownies for my local firemen. Thanks for sharing the pain that is still so raw after 5 years.

http://www.september11victims.com/september11victims/victims_list.htm

I just found the above website, it lists all victims. Makes you realize the magnitude. Still don't know how to do linky thingy, sorry. above website is very worthwhile, however.

Okie's Link

{{Hugs}} to whomever needs or wants them.

I live on the west coast, so I didn't hear about it until I got to school around 8:00 PST (11:00 EDT, I guess), and there was almost no one outside. I was told that the Twin Towers had been attacked. I wasn't sure what to feel. In each class, it was the same thing: the everyone sat in silence while we watched the horrible event unfold again and again on the local news. Several teachers sat there, tears streaming down their faces.
While I may not have been as deeply affected as many of you, I offer what little comfort I may bring to you on this day.


Andrew R (Otterboy)

{Hug} Siouxie. thanks!

maybe someday I will learn:
1. linky thingy
2. how to spell your name without screwing up.

Thank you Dave.

I found out a week after that I had lost a cousin on Flight 175, I had met him only once when I was twelve. One of our Pediatric surgeons lost his son on Flight 11. He had just arrived in work from dropping him at Logan. He was on his way to Los Angeles to meet his brother and go camping for a week. If they were not meeting for the camping trip his brother would have been in his office in the south tower. Either way he would have lost a son.
At the time I worked for the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and live in South Boston, We have a convention center on the waterfront called "The World Trade Center" When my wife called me on the bus going in to work to tell me that it had happened and did I hear anything, She had been told it happened in Boston not New York. I Stupidly said no, I would have heard it hit. The Boston WTC is only about five blocks from our apartment. As I arrived in work and picked up my radio, the Zoo's president had announced that the second plane had hit. That night Anne and I didn't want to go home and watch it on tv so we picked up subs and walked around Castle Island. One of the things we do when we need to think or if we are depressed is to watch the planes take off and land at Logan, which is just across the harbor from Castle Island. I cannot believe how erie it was with no planes in the air.
Right now I am sickened by what my co workers are listening to. One is listening to a local rap station that is making light of the whole thing, and the other is listening to a local talk radio station that has an announcer that is spouting off that it was really the fault of the democratic presidency in the 90's.
I need a large drink.

Okie- here's my link cheat sheet. It's super easy

Oh yeah.

Thank You Dave and Judi. I read two columns the 12th. Your's and Leonard Pitts.
They were both incredible.

{{JoG}} - so sorry. Bad enough to go thru it once, but to listen to that today...words fail me.

((((Okie))))

I was going to email you a sample of the html basic codes but couldn't get an e-mail adress. It's super easy!

As far as my name - spell it ANY way you want...

(((((JofG))))) so sorry...

*texting you an extra large mojito*

of course if I could spell, it would say address.

OK, stop making me cry you guys!! It's just not manly!!! Whew. It's tough reading these at work. (Maybe I should be working??? Naw.)

I was at work and the people on the morning radio program on a Classic Rock station told us of "breaking news" and how a plane had hit one of the towers. Over the next 20 minutes things were starting to unravel and the radio folks never went to another commercial. Suddenly the voice of our Vice President came over the intercom and asked all 900 employees to come up to the cafeteria.

The CEO spoke to tell us what they knew and how they had offered the assistance of our company to President Bush in a telegram of some sort. They told us we could go home if we wanted to. I was numb and decided to go home since I had become worthless at work that day anyway.

I'll never forget the eerie feeling of going home and not seeing a single plane in the air. (Work is very near Minneapolis Int. Airport so I always saw planes in my commute.) I felt like I was in a movie where most of the people had disappeared and I was left.

I also remember picking my daughter up from school later in the afternoon and every radio station was covering the story, except one. The Classic Rock station. They decided to play music for those who wanted to escape the news. I remember feeling how thankful I was to crank up a good classic so I could escape for a short time. I was suffering from what I call "Input Overload". I couldn't take anymore news and needed to escape.

I remember the anger, the hopeless feelings, the desire for revenge. I remember hugging my kids tighter than I ever had before. May we never forget and always stay diligent.

Jug: I feel your pain, man. Do what I do, be a recluse, a curmudgeon, shun pop culture, don't watch TV or read the papers, definitely don't listen to the radio, be anti-social, "solitary as an oyster". It usually helps, unless Dave posts a "Bulletin" - but not today.

Dammit.

I just had a meeting with an architect looking over plans for a new OB/GYN clinic. I had just read C-bol's remarks. Sometimes things catch you off guard. I think that I've seen C-bol post a straight-face comment before, but certainly not often. Anyway, this time I got all friggin misty and teary and couldn't pay attention to what the architect was saying, though I pretended to.

I kept thinking that I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with C-bol, and Mud, (the little devil that lives inside my head) kept pointing out what a perfectly silly idea that was, conjuring up a picture of a man wearing a feather boa and swim fins, carrying a bicycle horn, trying to make me snork, but I couldn't.

Maybe tomorrow.

C-bol: Word.

Thank you, Annie, The one listening to talk radio has also been watching the CNN pipecast.
I am constantly amazed at what my co-workers find funny, The jam-scam phone calls, dead pools. I have a decent sense of Gallows humor but there is a line that I would never cross, 9/11 is one of them.
Even thought I knew him distantly it was still a loss to the family. It hit mom hard.

So far I have four of those "remember every detail" memories. The Challenger Disaster, Grandma's passing, 9/11 and the call that my brother was in intensive care after an accident at work. He is lucky to be alive thanks to the heroic efforts of the Southern New Jersey Trauma Flight, and is actually able to live a reasonably normal life despite three plates in his pelvis and 10 pins in his right leg.

thanks Sarah for the HTML site again.
I really liked this reflection on 9/11.

Also here's a link to my column.

Thank you for sharing that.

I have no words of wisdom.

Just random thoughts.

And silence.

Dave, if you read this, this is one of the most incredible things I have ever read. It captures the shock and disbelief of that day and the strength of this country like nothing I've seen before or since.

Thank you.
paul

Like Otterboy, I live on the West Coast, and was driving to school with my dad when we heard the news on the radio. No one knew what was going on, but my first thought was a terrorist bombing, something along the lines of the Oklahoma City bombing. At first I thought they meant somewhere in Seattle, since we turned on the news in the middle, which was incredibly scary since I live less than an hour away. Went into class and saw the tv was on. The rest of that day is pretty much a blur. My P.E. teacher was in tears, and no one seemed to know what to say or do.
Five years later, and it still seems like it just happened. I can't watch any of the specials or dramas on tv right now, it's still too fresh in my mind. I will never forget watching tv, and seeing the tiny figure of a human being falling, falling, falling down the side of a building.
Reading Dave's column again was truly moving, but I didn't start crying till I began reading everyone's posts. Thank you for sharing, guys.
God bless us all.

My company had trainings for teachers throughout New Jersy that week. We got a call around 11 that day from my boss in NJ telling us to contact the hundreds of teachers signed up for the rest of the week to tell them we were canceling the trainings and we would reschedule. It took all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday to get to everyone.

On Wednesday morning, I spoke with a teacher at a school near the city, who said that she had been at the school all night. They stayed because there were still kids there whose parents had never come to pick them up the day before. Of course there was nothing I could say to her that would help, but I knew that sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger about these things.

Thanks, all of you, for the rememberances and comments here. Everyone else in the house thinks that I'm being silly, crying here at the computer. Here's my bit:

As I, too, live on the West coast, the events of 9/11 began early in our day here. Since I had recently been laid off, I was in bed, listening to the news on NPR, thinking about getting up soon.

The story was interrupted to announce the collision of two aircraft in New York with the World Trade Center. I do believe that I levitated out of bed and into clothing enough to go and turn on the television.

I had to wake my exchange student, a Muslim from Central Asia, and tell her that the United States had come under attack. Imagine, if you will, what she must have felt like on that day... I am filled with admiration for her strength.

The morning passed in a blur, chatting with my Mom and sisters and watching two or three televisions at once, and reading every Web site I could find on the topics as they come up. The thought that kept occuring to me throughout the horror was that whoever did this was no chess player - that they could not have been looking ahead to the response.

My wife called from her office downtown to say that she could hear fighter jets passing overhead. Shortly afterward, I asked her to please come home, as I really didn't want to be alone.

What I remember most vividly of all, though, was the outpouring of support from the rest of the world. Nous sommes toutes Americains, read the the headline in Le Monde. Le Monde, for crying out loud, saying "We are all Americans!" Piles of flowers and candles and loving statements of support at United States embassies all over the world.

So much has passed since then - jobs, two new children, and life goes on, in spite of the bastards' worst intentions. The United States remain united, in spite of our healthy squabbles and divisions.

And I remain intensely, painfully proud to be an American, to stand beside fine people such as we find on this blog.

Much love to you all on this solemn and proud day.

I was abroad on business and scheduled to come back home on 9/12. Then, for five days I felt as if I was in a jail with no bars or fences in a foreign place because I could not come home. It was very draining and scary. I tried country hopping for two days trying to get closer to the US to no avail. I was finally on American Airlines' first flight back home to the US after 9/11 from Curacao to Miami. Although it felt somewhat odd it was also the smoothest flight on the clearest day that I have ever been on in my life because it meant that I was coming home and that one way or another it was going to be OK, not perfect, but OK. Strange feeling I get everytime I look at a picture of me in the American Airlines pilot's cabin on September 5, 2001 as I think I was probably one of last people that had the opportunity to do that.
I hope and pray that every good person that has lost his/her life due to the attacks, during the rescue/recovery efforts, and those that have lost theirs while protecting us everywhere, may they all be blessed with being angels in disguise protecting those who will always love them.

This remains one of the best written, most meaningful newspaper columns ever. Thanks Dave for (re)sharing it.

Here's another powerful item from someone usually focused on being funning, created in the unfunny days immediately following the attack.

Dave, thanks for writing this piece, and judi, thanks very much for re-posting it.

Thanks, mud and thanks for the story about your father. My father also served in WWII (The Big One) but (thankfully) is still with us.

And thanks, Meanie for the story too. (And I recommend you copy long posts first in case they don't go through. Damn you, PypeTad!)

We knew that all flights were grounded. The night after the attack, my daughter came running down the hallway with this horrible look of fear in her eyes..... "I hear an airplane!!" I stopped and listened and it was - sounded like a small private plane. We waited until it went overhead. I assured her that everything was okay. That moment, however, really drove home to me what a scar 9/11 had left on everyone - especially the children who were old enough to realize what was happening.

Val, once they started flying over New York again it took a LONG time not to panic every time a plane or helicopter went overhead. We were always waiting for the next crash.

Judi, thanks for sharing your memories with us.

From that day forward, whenever a person in uniform, be it military, police, or firefighter, sat in my section, their meal was on me. My boss tried to make me stop doing it, being afraid that the guests would think it was company policy or something, but I refused. If I were still waiting tables today, that would still be my policy.

Very nice, DimWitte. Extremely classy.

Juggler - good luck to your brother. As a (two days from) 15 year old I unfortunately had my first (what you call) "remember every detail" moment when I was told about JFK being shot. The Challenger was another. So was John Lennon being shot.

I was in the sub-basement of the first tower when it was attacked. I'll never forget the feeling of watching the innocent die and running for my life. Reading this piece was something I needed today. Even after five years, the memories are crystal clear in my mind.

elvisonvelvet: my wife had to keep the kids in school from looking out the windows (which had a DIRECT view to the WTC) - relatively easy, as they could pull down the shades - and stay late until every child was picked up by his or her parent. It was the second day of school and they had JUST opened as a new middle school the day before.

This is one of the best things I've ever read. God bless you, Dave.

"My grandfather also served in WWII. He was at Normandy. He never spoke of those days to anyone until I came back from Desert Storm. He and I sat on the front porch and talked about war and the terrible things that people are forced to see and do. But, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, there are those of us who do those things so the rest of you don't have to. We don't do it for praise and we certainly don't do it for money we just do it. Because someone has to.
I'll step down off the soapbox now. I guess today has just reopened my eyes to the reasons I put on a uniform everyday."

Blurk - seems you may be the only active military man on the blog. How has your combat experience affected your views on 9/11?

i live on the west coast, just starting my sophomore year at college. i had just woken up, thinkin' what a marvelously, gloriously sunshiney day it was. i found out that things were different elsewhere when i went online to check the news before going to my workstudy job.

amazing that today is just as marvelously, gloriously sunshiney as that day was...

All of the personal stories you all shared make it much more real; however, how many stories from Afghanistan and Iraq do we hear like this? How many innocent people have died there since we started our sad and not very effective attempt to hunt down those responsible and kill them? At least we had a good reason for going after Afghanistan...we didn't really have the same excuse with Iraq. How many stories were there before the attacks were made on OUR soil? Why do they only matter so much to us when it's our own people?

I was a sophomore in high school when it happened, and I lived in Oregon. We were fairly far removed, except of course for my great-uncle trapped in his office building a few blocks away from the WTC all day, and my mom living very close to D.C. I couldn't get through to her all day because all the phones were shut down. I'm not trying to marginalize the pain and personal tragedy of that day, just...trying to offer some perspective.

Was listening to Howard Stern that morning, as every morning. He replayed that broadcast this morning. I had forgotten all the false incidents that were being reported from many different sources. If you haven't heard it, it was stunning. So many eyewitness reports being called into the show. Howard actually became a voice of reason amidst the chaos.

Appreciate the re-print of the column today as much as I did 5 years ago, when I sent it to everyone on my distribution list.

You would think the a 6'6" man on dialysis wouldn't be so hard to find, would ya'...

I was still asleep when I woken up by the scariest sound I've ever heard, my big, strong, tough, NJ husband yelling, with his voice cracking, "Oh my god, Juli! Wake up! They've hit the towers! Jahna’s in there."

Jahna is his best friend for 10+ years. His brother also worked two blocks from the towers. I ran into our living room and watched with the rest of the nation as the news replayed the hit for the next few hours. My husband stayed home but I had to work. I ran a daycare at the time and didn't want the kids to watch the news so I couldn't have the TV on. I called my mum for updates and she eventually just drove 1.5 hours to sit with me. While I was sitting there crying, my cell phone rang. It was Jahna. She was in the lobby of the tower when the plane hit. She had just pushed the elevator button to go to her new job on the 80-something floor when she felt the building shake. Remembering the bombing of the 90's, she turned and ran. She got on the last subway out of the city, then got herself a LARGE beer and started walking. She had 40 something blocks in high heels through Brooklyn. The thing that really saved her: Her belief that one should never be EARLY for work, just on time. The thing that saves me when thinking of that terrible day: Thinking of the strongest, littlest, roundest Italian chick I know running in a Heisman trophy pose.

Cath,
I wanna kill 'em all. Right now.

All you guys make feel like a big baby sittin' here cryin' all day.
Except when I had to actually work. Then I was a hardass again.

Don't you bloglits go 'round tellin' people I've been cryin'.

Please.

"make ME feel"

See?! It's all the blog's fault this time.

I was supposed to be in a week-long training class in Southern California that day.

Before I left the hotel room, I casually flipped the TV on. It was showing a remake of "War of the Worlds", so I changed the channel. It was playing the same scene, so I knew this was real.

I called my house and told them "Turn the TV on.". They asked me what channel. "It doesn't matter." 3 minutes of silence followed, as we all watched in muted horror, sharing the silencem as there was nothing we could say.

Needless to say, the class was cancelled. The hotel had a branch in the WTC, and they kept posting updates on a large white-board in the lobby, updated every 20 minutes.

"All flights cancelled"

"All shopping malls closed"

"Stay in your rooms as long as you like, no charge"

"Amusement Parks - Closed today"

The last one really got to me. How could they take away joy and happiness?

I got in my car and drove down a nearly empty freeway, just to see firsthand what Disneyland's huge parking lots looked like in the daylight, without a single visitor.

After that, I returned to my hotel room and cried over our loss of innocence.

blurk, didn't anyone tell you that women find 'sensitive' guys extremely adorable????

Either way we all know you're the hardass around here! :P

on a more serious note...I wanna kill 'em too...NOW.

((((((((((((Wyo))))))))))))))

Haven't forgotten your service, my friend! Thank you!

*hands Blurk a slightly soggy Kleenex (tm thingy) - I have no dry ones left, but am happy to share. Second you on that Siouxie - love me some h@rda$$ sensitive guys.

I grieve for everything that happened on 9/ll, and I grieve for everyone who was directly or indirectly hurt or sorrowed in any way by that hideous, hideous event perpetrated by those hideous people. I have no problem assigning the word "evil" (and a lot more) to them and their deeds.

But I also agree with Rahnia (just a few posts up there, folks) that before, during and after 9/ll, Americans were not the only people to suffer at the hands of people who put political philosophy... political expediency . . . you name it . . . ahead of (or beside) practical actions. "The world changed that day"? Indeed, but no more than it changed after other terrorist incidents in other countries at other times. An innocent American life lost is no better, no worse than an inncocent life lost elsewhere. We must grieve for both and for the actions that caused both.

Yes, going in to Afghanistan was justified insofar as it was a direct action to get at the person, and the people seemingly harboring that person, behind what befell us on 9/11. And I will say that it was quickly and almost surgically (thougn not surgically enough) pulled off.

But going beyond that, into the terrible Iraq travesty, was ill-conceived, ill-executed, bogusly justified (admit it -- by now you know that) and -- above all -- primarily served to generate directly and, through horrible sequences of reactions and events and equally ill-founded policies -- INdirectly, 60-100,000 casualties and fatalities, many of them innocent, and more. And not one sure political solution.

I am as sad as the rest of us, I am as moved as the rest of us, I am as proud of our First Responder rescuers as the rest of us . . . and hear this: I was almost as affected as the worst of us: a child of mine narrowly missed being lost in the WTC.

But I ask that we all realize that 9/11, as bad as it was, put in motion certain actions on the part of our country that, in SOME of its side effects, I believe others can view evil, and suffer sadness, as well. We can and should do better.

Let us do anything we can, let us be as vigilant as we can, to put a stop to madness. Everywhere.

And believe it or not, I finish by saying: God Bless America.

(And: thank you, Dave. You are a wonder.)

This column of Dave's is the one piece of 5-yr old newsprint I've saved. Thank you to all who put your thoughts so eloquently; and countless thanks to all who wear the uniform. God knows, this has been one tough day to get through... but Bloglit support helps, doesn't it?

I saw the planes hit from Seville, Spain. As the youngest son of a US diplomat who served 35 years in Europe, the Mideast & africa, I remember thinking:

My father warned me about this a gazillion times... he always said it was just a matter of time before terrorism, wchich is common everywhere else in the world, would come home to roost in the USA.

Why do americans think they are so special, so exempt, from what the rest of the world suffers from every single day?

Are you safe? Do you feel safe? then you must be smoking some good ganja, because, right, wrong or indifferent, you are STILL in denial.

The worst is yet to come - maybe not from foreigners' bombs, perhaps only from deprivations of the very civil rights that are being curtailed as the true destruction of American Liberty takes hold -

The Patriot Act - the most Anti-American piece of legislation ever passed (hell, we might as well have lost the Cold War!)

NSA Spying on Americans,

Being held without charges or due course,
at the torture camps in Guantanamo and all over the world,

Political intimidation and media terrorism right here in "River City", if you are educated enough to get my drift.

9-11 was horrible - what the USA has done in the name of 9-11 is much, much worse, with long-lasting consequences.

Sadly, more folks died on US freeways on 9-11 from drunken driving than died from the terrorist attack, yet we have done nothing to reduce drunkenness, nor have we done anything to increase the safety of Americans at home or abroad.

Hate to piss on your emotional 9-11 orgy, but it is the truth. Wake up and cahnge the incompetent government of the sad, sad country, before we are as bad as the terrorists.

There was no need for that, Global...regardless of your political views, this thread was not about politics but about sharing our feelings and thoughts as we pay our respects to those who died 5 years ago.

Global, please trot your pathetic "blame America first" garbage somewhere else. If we want to read partisan spoutage, we know where to find it.

This is not a political blog, and this was not a political thread until you and your fellow travellers showed up.

Please return to DemocraticUnderground, or whatever other rock you crawled out from underneath.

Just missed a simul and a GMTA with ya there, Siouxie. :-)

GMTA my friend! :-)

I refuse to let those last posts ruin what this day was for me...a group of friends grieving together and sharing one common event.

Global, if you don't like the topic of conversation here, I invite you to depart in peace, but please don't try to "spin" your beliefs onto us. CNN does a good enough job of that as it is.

At lunchtime today, I baked the biggest cookie ever and took it to our local firehouse. In return I got a huge hug from a big, sweet fireman. I was holding in the tears all today, even while reading this blog, but that hug did it for me. I'm bawlin' now.

Dear "Claen Hands",

You made my point perfectly - your hands are neither clean, nor possess 5 fingers each. I suggest you stick the remaining finger up your nose till it comes out your ass, since that is the source of your most brilliant thinking.

I was NOT being political, just honest. You are the one in denial, boy.

It is an undeniable AMERICAN right, be it from the left or the right, to express one's opinion. Just because you are so stupid that you would deny me my right, does not mean I do not have that right, or the right to express myself. I will, regardless of your ignorance.

I lament the tragic loss of life, but I lament more the roots of that tragedy and its consequences.

If you cannot understand that, then you are truly pathetic, whether you be liberal or conservative.

I happen to be truly conservative, an Emund Burkean, but you are nothing more than an idiot who has been led about by the folks holding your nuts.

So just Eff off, a-hole. How DARE you tell ME how to GRIEVE??? You must be one of those Neo-Con Nazis.

Global, Clean has the right to tell you, and did so quite politely compared to you, that your polemic is not welcome. How dare you break this supportive atmosphere with your ranting.

I had just started my freshman year of college. I ran out of the house that morning to take a test, and as I ran back out to my car after I finished, I ran into a good friend. She asked me if I knew what was going on, and told me to go straight home and turn on the TV. All I got from her was something about airplanes. I remember looking up at the sky before getting into my car, the sky seeming eerily silent. 5 minutes later, I walked into my houses to see my dad standing there, watching the television, tears in his eyes, in utter shock. He quickly gave me the run down of what had happened, the first tower had already fallen, and in the 10 minutes that I just stood there in disbelief, unable to move or take my eyes of the TV, the second tower fell.

I remember feeling something at the pit of my stomach, something aching, that didn’t seem to go away. I remember waking up that next day, hearing the news radio program my alarm clock was set to, and hearing everything all over again in disbelief. It really did happen. Yesterday wasn’t a nightmare. I drove to work that day and passed a flag at a car dealership flying at half-staff, and I sobbed. That Sunday at church, we stood and sang ‘God bless America’, and all that came out of me were tears.

I remember my little, deaf and mentally retarded brother asking my later that week why I was crying. I asked him if he knew what had happened. He said/signed to me that airplanes had hit the buildings and that they buildings had fallen. He asked me if there were people in the buildings. I told him yes. He looked at me confused, trying to comprehend everything, and then asked if they had died. I told him yes, some had, but that some did make it out. He didn’t understand, and his simple and innocent conclusion to our conversation was that the planes needed to go around the buildings. I told him yes, they need to. I longed to feel his innocence that day.

Thanks Dave for the column, and for continuing to make us laugh. Speaking of laughter, I remember watching ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ the Monday after that very long week, and being glad that he was back to make me laugh, even if it was only due to the stupid ‘Top Ten List’ that night – ‘Top Ten Things that Almost Rhyme with Cat’. It was hilarious.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and stories. God bless America.

Annie I bet that hug was worth it!

((((((((Annie)))))))) that was a great thing you did!

So, you "grieve" by making political rants on nonpolitical sites, Global? What a sad, small world you inhabit.

Unlike you, I am not trying to tell you what you must believe or do, but merely inviting you to find a more receptive audience, instead of disrupting a pleasant, supportive discussion.

For the record, you're wrong about me, on every single count. But you don't care, and I don't give enough of a rip about you to bother explaining why.

Siouxie - I highly recommend it. Heal what you can, and the rest will follow.

(((Clean Hands)))

My oldest daughter had arrived in Southern Spain just the prior week to study at the Universidad de Murcia for the semester. Even though I wanted her to get home NOW, her dad calmed me down and told me she was safer in sleepy southern Spain and besides, short of swimming, there was no way to get her home.

When she returned home at the end of the semester, we found out she wasn't as safe as we had thought. Southern Spain has a large Muslim population and people there were not shy about telling her that, while they were glad she didn't lose anyone close to her, our country got what it deserved. Her first landlady evicted her because she was afraid of backlash for having an American tenant; but she was taken in by three Italian girls.

The group she was with was a mix of Americans, Italians and Irish. When they were out as a group, they put the Americans in the middle, and the Italians and Irish did all of the talking so no one could detect the American accents.

off topic, but I think I've found some more bait to go chummin' for grizzlies - come on up to Montana, G - I'll show you a good time, really....no really, trust me.

Thanks, Annie. :-) Back on topic.

HOPEFULLY :-)

amazing story, sly...glad to know she's back in the good old U S of A!

CH ****smoochies****

Sly - when I was 16, I went to Spain with my Spanish class. This was when Juan Carlos was king, and not everyone there liked that. We were in a cab in Madrid when I heard 'fireworks,' which turned out to be gunfire, hopefully just teargas canisters, but I hit the floor of the cab before I could properly investigate. People ran by our cab screaming, carrying big red flags. Needless to say, I did NOT tell my parents. But I did get interested in Hemingway.

Hey, if you haven't already, go out right now and hug a fireman or rescue person or military personnel. It feels really good! (He was cute, too.)

I was afraid that would happen somewhere along the line.

Let's just let it go and move on.

Booger

Jeff - it's ok - I didn't hurt him. I just hugged him. Most guys can survive that...if I choose to let them. ;)

I blame Global Worming.

Annie, we have friends who live in Barcelona. They still talk about how bad Generalissimo Francisco Franco was. Whenever they say his name, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, my knee-jerk reaction is to say "....is still dead."

Some SNL traditions die hard.

And you'd be amazed at how often "Generalissimo Francisco Franco" comes up in a conversation.

Absolutely wonderful country. They deserve much better.

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