Yes. I got up, brushed my teeth, started some coffee, and sat down at my computer that morning. My home screen has been CNN for a long time. Up came the CNN main screen with the headline in huge type which said America Under Attack. I snickered!
You see, around that time there had been a lot of website hijackings, so I assumed it had happened to CNN. A few seconds later, I realized it wasn't a joke and turned on the TV to find the combined attacks being covered on every channel.
That's my 9/11 story. I'm sure some of you have more interesting ones, be they happy or sad or tragic. How did you hear about it? How did it affect you? How is it continuing to affect you?
I also thought it was a joke at first, which is probably the only reason I somewhat clearly remember hearing the news. I was in grade thirteen waiting for a class to settle down when someone walked in late and broke the news. The idea that someone would deliberately crash an airliner into anything let alone the Pentagon seemed absurd, but it was pretty morbid humor given there was no context or punch line. a television was running in another classroom, so when I heard that the towers had been hit as well, I chatted briefly with my peers then decided to just go home. I wasn't in the mood for platitudes on death, or pretending I cared that it was America over any other nation. I didn't. Such murders and deaths are tragic regardless of nationality (and certainly it wasn't just Americans who lost their lives).
I recall some people were quite deeply disturbed by the news, but most responded to it the same as they would treat any disaster or tragedy where no one personally knows any of the victims. It's sad, but there isn't much you can do about it that very moment.
Personally, I was in favour of providing support to the United States in some form or another, but I did not support sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan. I just don't think our troops should be killing people on foreign soil to defend a nation that wasn't actually facing substantial risk. Ultimately, I was neither surprised nor upset that the government did send military support.
How did it affect me personally? It created some interesting dialogue. Most people I spoke with online were Americans. It had some impact on my broader perspective. I recall that NSA was a PITA for a while when travelling in the USA. Not the actual NSA, mind you, but all of the people who would threaten to call the NSA on me for no logical reason. Canadian politicians tried to pull that culture of fear bullshit to a limited degree as well, but obviously it wasn't going to be as effective as it was in the US. Still, policy was affected to some extent with terrorism being used as a pretext. The stiffening of airport security and border security can be a hassle these days, but the one upshot of new passport regulations (that took forever implement) is that it motivated the government to simplify passport acquisition and renewal. At least I think that was a major factor.
I think the worst personal consequence I suffered was the movie 'Remember Me'.
I went to work that morning at teh state psychiatric hospital, I was telling a coworker about my dream that I had been on a plane to Baltimore with some very important watermelons and she said, "Do you know what's going on this morning?"
She pointed out to the day area of the unit on which we worked. Several patients and staff were gathered around the television, watching the first tower burn when the second tower was hit. I thought the first one was an accident but when the second one happened I knew we were under attack. After a while, people went about their business, but all eyes were on the television as much as possible. One manic patient turned his bed over on its side and set up a command post, certain that the plane that hit the Pentagon had been meant for him. I was grateful for living in an area unlikely to be targeted by anybody because of the low population density, but for the first time in my life I did not feel safe from outsiders on American soil.
In the weeks that followed I tried to not over-expose myself to the tragedy because of what happened after the Oklahoma city bombing in which 169 people perished. I did not know anybody who worked there or had died, but I knew somebody who knew somebody. In the early 70's I lived on Governor's Island, an island directly across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan where the Towers stood. I remember them being built, and all the excitement of them being the so tall. I looked out from the playground by my apartment building as they grew taller and taller and finally the scaffolding went away.
In 1986 when the refurbished Statue of Liberty was revealed and the 4th of July fireworks display was happening, I went past the towers on my way to the vantage point where I and my friends could see the show. I remember pausing and looking up at one of the towers from the bottom of it, becoming dizzy in the process. The huge party that Manhattan had become that day had probably contributed to some of that dizziness to be sure.
So later, when in a art therapy group my group co-leader asked everybody to draw something about 9-11, I drew the towers from the vantage point of my 6 year old self, with the swing set in the foreground. Those were my towers, our towers. I didn't know the people who died but I knew that the sorrow went out across the country and world.
I, too, was making breakfast, when I heard the report on the radio. I was wondering why they were doing a retrospective about the time, back on July 28, 1945, when I was 9, that a B-25 accidentally crashed into the Empire State Building. It took me a minute to realize what was really happening. I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit, and, like everyone else, I was stunned. To this day, I have assiduously avoided ever watching that nauseating clip again.
I was 14 years old, happily asleep in my bed (in Australia) when my mum (that's right, not "mom") woke me up and told me I should come and watch the news, something terrible is happening in America.
I sat watching in horror as the first tower smoked and burned, wondering what the hell had happened.... Then it happened again. At first I thought it was a replay of what happened to the first tower, then I realised it wasn't a replay, both towers were smoking.
We kept watching, no more planes came. Eventually the towers collapsed and the news gave way to crappy infomercials. I went back to bed and went to school the next day.
RE: "I snickered the morning of 9/11"
And that differs from every other day, how?
I was lightly dozing with the radio on when the first plane struck, but there were no details. In my mind's eye, I envisioned this little, off course Piper Cub, fatal for the pilot, of course, but very unlikely to harm anyone else, except possibly by flying glass, or in the event one was seated with their backs to a window and hadn't seen it coming, so I went back to sleep. Shortly the second plane hit, followed by the details that the planes were jetliners, and that brought me fully awake.
i was looking for music on the radio on the way to school, annoyed by all the talking then when i got out of the car at school, a lot of people were crying. then they made an annoucement in homeroom. i remember thinking it was weird, know it was sad but i was 13, i had no idea what was really happening or what would result from what was happpening, if i had, i would have been scared shitless.
Why, after eleven years, is the United States obsessed with reliving this tragedy? How long do we continue to reflect on this despicable, gut wrenching act? The dead have been commemorated, honored, and laid to rest. Our obsession with keeping 9/11 in our minds only serves to foment fear and uncertainty. As a nation we need to move on and look to a future that is not controlled by islamophobia and groping TSA agents. In essence on 9/11 we lost a part of our freedom and I fear we are unsure how to regain it.
Countries can't be obsessed, but people can.
I don't regard it as an obsession. I suppose we could replace a fear of Islam with the more deserved revulsion and hatred for a religion that is even more medieval, brutal, misogynistic, idiotic, insular, and tribal than most.
Let's not forget, 9/11 is the biggest attack to happen to the U.S. since WWII, so expecting us to be all ho-hum about it isn't realistic. Unlike Pearl Harbor, it's the biggest attack to take place on American soil. (Remember, Hawaii didn't become a state until 1959.)
Theoretically, the way you neutralize terror is to make sure no one hears about it. However that's not practical. Even a highly-censored U.S. couldn't really hide the fact that the twin towers were no longer there or that the Pentagon had a gaping hole in one side. China tries this sort of shit, but it doesn't work.
In the meantime, what's happening is happening because that's the way people are. You may remember that in 2008 India experienced a major terror attack in Mumbai. You'd better believe that they relive it every year, too. I know because of an Indian friend. It's a very big deal there.
Eventually, we'll relegate 9/11 to the past, the way we have Pearl Harbor, but it'll probably take more than one generation. And of course what makes 9/11 harder to forget than Pearl Harbor is that there are very good videos of the event, not grainy black and white film. Those make it very easy to re-experience over and over again. And all the conspiracy theories about 9/11 don't help, either.
Anyway, your complaint is against Americans, not America. And Americans are no different in this regard than Indians or other people anywhere. If you don't like people, I suppose you could go live in a cabin out near Mt. McKinley.
Yesterday, the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others were killed in a rocket attack on our embassy there. Apparently, he was beloved of bot the leaders and people of the new state who knew him. It's unclear whether the attack was in response to a surge of anti-Americanism in Islam due to a poorly-made movie painting Mohammed in a bad light.
Should Pres. Obama just say, "Well, shit happens" and leave it at that (leaving aside the political heat he'd take) or is there now a blood debt?
A Jewish idiot makes a film, a Christian idiot promotes it, Muslim idiots kill over it, and Republican idiots condemn Obama. So many idiots, so little time --
I'm originally from New York - born and raised on Staten Island. We moved to Florida in mid-1993.
On 9/11 I was in History class. Second period American History, my junior year of high school. It was early in the year, and we were just finishing up Colonial America. End of class, the teacher's closing the lecture as we're stuffing things into our bags.
"...and tomorrow we'll talk about 'The Shot Heard 'Round the World'."
*BANG!* The door slams open and the teacher from the class next door rushes in. "Turn on your television NOW, a plane just hit the Twin Towers!"
I froze, staring at this woman I had never really noticed before, but not seeing her at all. I had a flash back to third grade, when we were told that we would no longer be going on tomorrow's field trip to the Towers, because someone had bombed one of the buildings. Then I remembered the last time I saw them in person - hanging out the sunroof of my grandmother's car as my daddy was driving. I tried so hard to see the tops of the buildings from the street.
Somehow I made it to English class, and spent the rest of the school day staring at one glowing box or another. At the moment the towers fell down I remembered one of my cousins worked in an office in one of them. And my best friend was visiting the City with her family that week. And last I heard my dad still works in Manhattan with the NYPD... where is he today?
I later found out that though Dea was close enough to feel the ground rumble, she was fine. My cousin happened to be in Florida on business. And the one and only letter my father ever sent us after my parents split up let us know that he was directing traffic away from the area, and was out of harm's way.
My story ended so much better than most people I knew from childhood. I don't personally know anyone who died (though one day in either direction and my cousin may have been among them). I was in culture shock for quite some time. I still can't watch repeats of the footage - it makes me physically ill. I didn't watch the movie about it. And I turned my back on the Republican party when I saw them use 9/11 as leverage to get people to agree to everything from wire taps to Iraq to getting sexually assaulted in order to board an airplane. I know if I ever see one of the Bush family in person I will spit in their faces and happily serve the jail sentence. We were attacked, and they used that attack as an excuse to attack us even further.
/me exits soapbox