Sunday, September 11, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

As We All Remember When

Before 2001, 911 was strictly all about calling for help with emergencies. A decade before, Flava Flav and Public Enemy rapped about how 911 was a joke.  But things changed on September 11, 2001.

I was on my way to work, listening to a CD and enjoying my drive.  When I walked into the building, a TV right by the security desk showed a scene straight out of a Hollywood B movie.  One WTC tower was afire, already struck, grotesque rings of smoke like collars around its upper floors.  I stood there, watching as the second plane zeroed in and rammed the second tower, exploding in a show that would make a pyro green with envy.  I wasn't sure what to think or do.  It looked surreal.  But the truth of the matter sickened me.  It was for real.  Someone, some people, whoever they were, they purposely flew the planes into the twin towers, in the middle of a heavily populated metropolis, in site of the Statue of Liberty.  A wave of nausea hit me, along with a fret.  We lived near one of America's largest army bases.  A perfect target.  I spent most of the day in a daze, going through the motions.  I left work to find several gas stations gouging lines of customers with hiked up gas prices.  Before the next day, we had the truth of the hijackers and the truth of human anger.  I called a former co-worker, not a Muslim but she appeared Middle Eastern.  She told me she and her family were fine for the moment, just scared from the threats.  For days I swung from fury and a certain amount of pride in our response on a national scale, tempered by the tales of mosques being burned, Middle Eastern owned businesses being boycotted and Middle Eastern persons being attacked.  Americans, and anyone wishing to stay on the patriotic side of the fence, purchased and displayed the red, white and blue.  I eventually dealt with my own feelings but like most, I've come away with a very different perspective when it comes to 911.  It's no longer a reference just for emergency.  It's a date, 9/11, of urgency, a day that will live in infamy.

My chipmunk is a post 9/11 kid and this is what she had to say about this date, something she learned in school, which I'm not surprised since this is now a historical event:

"On September 11th, a bad guy wanted to kill people in a building then they died, even the bad guy and that's it."

It's a simple explanation.  But the emotions tied to this day are so complex and complicated.  America suffered a terrible battery on 9/11 at the hands of bad people.  It is my solemn hope and prayer that on this 10th anniversary we look to the past in remembrance of the wrong done and the sacrifices made since that terrible act.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was at work and we were all watching the TV when the second plane struck. It was a feeling like no other.

Jen Daiker said...

I was at school as they wheeled out the cart TV's and let us watch everything go down. It was an emotion that sits in your chest.

Nadja Notariani said...

Angela ~
To read of your emotions of that day...powerful.
I also respect that you raise the issue of the ill-treatment of fellow Americans - just because they happen to be of Middle-Eastern descent. My friends, who are from Kurdistan (well, what was formerly Kurdistan) suffered no such treatment. Thank goodness!
~ Nadja

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I will never forget that morning when I was getting ready for work and my husband turned the news on. I was a few weeks pregnant with our first child. It dawned on me that I am bringing my child into the world of uncertain, into a scary, tough future...

Barbara McDowell said...

I was at work and the woman over the wall was talking to someone from our NYC office, so I heard up to the minute feedback as each plane hit. It was like being in a slow playing movie frame. Real, but not real. And the horror just grew with the second plane hit, figuring out who else was hijacked, the towers falling, the Pentagon being hit, the plane crashing in PA, all the missing people. Still so raw after 10 years.

Angela Brown said...

@ Alex and Jen - I remember speaking with a few of those who were alive when Pearl Harbor happened. This was years ago of course, but it wasn't until 9/11 happened that I understood why they remembered exactly what they were doing that fateful day.

@ Nadja - When the Twin Towers were attacked, there were people of all nationalities there. What was done was done by extremists with no true concern for any HUMAN life.

@ Angela - I am SOOO with you on that feeling. When I became pregnant with my chipmunk, it was a few years after the attack. But i still wondered what kind of world was I bringing her into.

@ Barbara - I carry a bit of sadness for those directly impacted, who lost loved ones or were at the towers when it happened. Maybe I just care too much. But it will take longer than 10 years for the wounds to truly heal. And for many masses, they will find no healing...sadly.

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