September 11, 2001 – 9:03AM… 14 Years Later

I woke up early on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. No idea why, but I was up before 8AM. Since I work independently and I was working on my first book at the time I came to the computer and started writing.

Around 8:55 or so my mother called. That was strange as well, so I picked the phone in greeting and asked her what was wrong. She told me to turn on the TV to NBC News, which was the only channel she watched at the time. I did so and I saw a mass of confusion. Then I heard that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. It was shocking but not all that troubling at the moment. Planes had hit the tower before and fallen, but this time it was a passenger plane.

Then I saw the image of a plane hitting the Tower and I said to Mom “They’re showing a replay of the plane hitting the building.” She said “That’s not a replay; that’s another plane.” That was at 9:03AM.

It was at that moment that I realized it was live, and what I was witnessing was something different. I immediately knew this couldn’t be an accident, and it couldn’t be a coincidence. However, the word “terrorism” never struck my mind; at least not then.

That basically started over 60 straight hours of TV watching, only stopping to go to the bathroom or grab something to eat quickly. I didn’t go to bed, didn’t go to sleep. I kept switching channels; whenever one channel went to a commercial I went to another channel. Whenever the news started sounding the same, I went looking for something new.

The strange thing is that I still remember a lot of that stuff very well. I also think it’s strange that, until a couple of days ago, I’d never seen any footage of the people who jumped from the buildings when the heat and fire got so severe that people had to decide which way they wanted to die; that’s really scary.

Here’s the thing. We’re 14 years removed from that event and it’s hard to say that the world has gotten to be a better place because of it. From that date forward, Americans have lost a lot of liberties, while our government has taken a lot of liberties here and abroad. Terrorism seems to be stronger and sneakier than it was before.

In the past few months we’ve had suicide attacks on law enforcement, military officers, and even civilians by nutcases across the country who seem to think that supporting an offshoot gutless group of sadists who aren’t doing anything except making the world a tougher place for those they consider as “lesser Muslims”, nonbelievers of the same religion, to live in peace, following a religion that they see as peaceful. That the tales of what these degenerates are doing to not only women (which is an abomination) but to a lot of the young men fooled into leaving the country and joining their ranks doesn’t turn these kids off scares me.

I’ve never understood the language of hate. I’ve never understood how the language of hate seems to be able to overcome the language of peace and cooperation, the language of motivation and positivity, the language of the common man and woman who go about their day thinking that life is at least okay, that they have friends to talk to and entertainment to enjoy and great food to eat and nice cars to drive… and yet need to worry about being in the wrong place at the wrong time because one day someone decides they’re ready to die for a cause that’s false, no matter what it is.

I’ve never been the most trusting person. Even in my own home, when I’m alone I usually keep the curtains and blinds closed, barely opening them up to let a little bit of light in. It’s not that I live in fear; I live in caution. I’m not going to let the fear of terror, homegrown or not, keep me in the house.

However, I now always look at people when I’m in unfamiliar territory. I look at people who appear different. It’s not about race for me, and it’s not about sex. It’s about behavior. I still treat everyone fairly; but fairly these days comes with a bit more scrutiny.

That’s what 9/11/01 did to me. That’s why I always remember the day so well, beyond the fact of living in New York state, having been to the Twin Towers multiple times and feeling a bit of a connection.

If you’re interested, I wrote about 9/11/01 on my other blog today; that post went live at 8:46, the time the first plane hit. Today is #NeverForget911 on Twitter; for me, every day is #NeverForget911. And for some reason, I need a bit more of this…


5 thoughts on “September 11, 2001 – 9:03AM… 14 Years Later”

      1. Ya you are right Mitch Sir. Many peoples are making jokes and if that was your family or friend or even yourself would you want people making sick jokes? No and you’re all cowards.

  1. I’m happy to see writings on this subject by someone I deeply respect. I haven’t written about this nor have I acknowledged it in social media. This morning I was questioning myself on this. I’m troubled because I want to remember those who were lost and those who gave their lives to do all in their power to save others. And I want to honor those who have lost someone or something. (Maybe we all lost something.)

    I think what disturbs me is the concept of remembering an act of violence which in some way seems to have engendered mistrust, reactionary laws, ensuing religious and ethnic hatred. I, too, have avoided looking at the videos of that day because I do not want to live with those images in my mind. If I thought that sharing those experiences would help any of those who were there and will live in them forever – I would watch them every day. I have deep empathy and sympathy.

    ButI don’t really want to “remember” or relive those days of chaos and national fear. I don’t mean to belittle them either.

    I suppose it is the same as commemorating Pearl Harbor Day in my mind. And if I can get to the place that I feel that I am joining my country in commemorating the losses without demonizing entire groups of innocent people who are swept up in the tide of fear and hatred, I will be more comfortable.

    Even in 2001 I kept having the niggling thought, “What made us think we were immune?”

    All over the world these acts of terrorism take place without much empathy from the rest of the world. I appreciate your mention of some of these in your other post. I want to remember all of the victims of all acts of violence and put the majority of my energy into engendering cooperation, cohesion, and peace rather than exclusiveness and separation.

    Mitch, I am in no way negating your feelings about this and your caution in the wide and scary world. Violence to members of my family has completely changed how I view the world. Reading your other blog brings home to me again that living in Oregon, although I visit NY often, I can’t hope to imagine what it must be like to live in the “eye of the storm”. I value your thoughts and openness. And we all have our own responses in direct relationship to what we feel is at stake. I am on the sidelines.

    I don’t need to write a book here to express my continuing appreciation for your knowledge and instincts. You have a way of creating a personal connection with much of what might seem distant in my corner of the country (although I do try hard to keep my mind and heart open).

    Makes me think of Tiny Tim, “God Bless us, Every One.”

    1. Thanks; first time I’ve seen anyone bring Tiny Tim to the fore like that. lol

      I guess I see it as a much different type of thing. In my mind, we have to recall these events to try to keep them from happening again, by reminding people why they happened. Sometimes it might demonize certain groups of people, and unfortunately that’s unavoidable. My hope is always that people realize who to demonize specifically, i.e., instead of all Muslims realize that there are radicalized groups of people, just like there are with almost all other religions, and move on with life. I can identify because when I was a kid and young adult any time there was a crime of some kind and it was perpetrated by a black person people would look at me as if I were representative of the entire race; so odd…

      Still, when all is said and done all of us will react to what we feel based on who we are, where we are, and what it may mean to us. And that’s okay.

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