nine eleven



I was in class the day the planes flew into the twin towers. We crowded in one office with a tv used by the ESL program blasting the news of a plane crashing into a building. People could not explain what was going on. Somebody went to call the Department's Chair to see what she knew of this thing happening on tv. I thought it was a scene from a movie, a weird occurrence that had somehow gotten into the news by mistake. How sheltered I was.

But then the second plane hit and we were left dumbfounded and confused. What was happening? Was this for real? Why was it happening?  Then there was another plane. Was it Washington? Oh and then there was Pennsylvania. That's when it hit us. Then all classes were cancelled. We were to gather everything and leave the building. Apparently all tall buildings were supposed to be temporarily evacuated in Pittsburgh and we were at the Cathedral of Learning, the University of Pittsburgh's beloved landmark. We were supposed to leave then and there.

So we left. But there were no buses to take us back off campus. There were no cars on the street, really. The few cars we saw went by quickly. People wanted to get home as soon as possible. We started walking. It wasn't until we were beyond Squirrel Hill that we saw some public transportation. I got on a bus and just kept going. I had to go to the suburbs. I lived in Monroeville and it was a forty minute ride from campus.

When I got home he gave me the news: somebody had attacked the United States. I was in shock. And so was the country. How could this happen in the United States? Who were these people? And our lives were forever changed. Now there's machines that scan you without any concern for your intimacy. Strangers go over your underwear in a line at the airport. Paranoia showed its ugly head. Nothing has been the same since nine eleven. Nothing.

It was the end of an epoch. I went to the site where the towers used to stand a year or two ago. I went as a tourist, because my one friend came to visit from Europe and we did all the touristy things: get lost in the train, pay for expensive theater tickets, walk around Central Park at three in the afternoon on a Tuesday. All those things. We also went to the 9/11 memorial. It made me tear up. It was a hard pill to swallow. All those lives lost. A country forever changed. I'm thinking about that today.

XOXO

P.S. in case you don't remember, The Turtle 'forgot' to implement funds for 9/11 victims and first responders. A fucking comedian had to shame lawmakers into doing something. That's the state of this country. The hatred is still there. The memories of the affected have all but disappeared.

Comments

  1. my late gay uncle used to teach at central catholic high school in PGH. one of the first trips I took with my grandparents was out to see uncle andy and we stayed in monroeville at the holiday house (gone now). we even saw brenda lee perform.

    18 years ago I was between jobs; I had gone to a bank to close out a safe deposit box and run a few other errands. when I returned home, my MIL was on the phone asking me if I knew what was happening. I was clueless, since I did not have the radio on in the car. 2 days later I took the train to DC to see some of my former work buddies. MIL said I should not go. I said FUCK THAT, I AM NOT GIVING IN TO TERRORISTS. I do remember the eerie quiet with no airplanes.

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    1. Omg yes. It was SO quiet. That whole week was incredibly eerie. And Monroeville used to be one of the exburbs in Pittsburgh and people knew it for the Mall.

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  2. I have visited the university of learning building in Pittsburgh
    I worked in the city for a while in the 1990s

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    1. Really! This IS a small world! It was my turf all throughout the 2000!

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  3. I was in the office early. Interior office so no radio reception. My brother called me and asked if insaw what was going on. I was the only one in the office so I went to the president’s office and turned on the tv. I was horrified. We kept the office open until about noon. Then closed up. In those days I worked at Best Buy part time as a pc tech (pre-Geek Squad). Went to the store and was told they were closing early.

    I lived in a approach path for O’Hare airport. It was strange not seeing any planes in the sky for days. As I get older I get more emotional and just the thought of the lives lost and the hero first responders still gets me choked up. Kudos to Jon Stewart for keeping up the good fight. And fuck the repugs for all that they DON’T do.

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

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    1. The no fly rule was very strict. And it was weird not seeing or hearing planes. I’m still affected by the photos of that day. The suffering was incredible. Those poor people. Those fearless first responders.

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  4. I was home,watching on TV and thought., at first. it was some crazy accident. I called Carlos at work and told him, and as we were talking the second plane hit and then we knew.
    I think I sat on the edge of the bed all day.

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    1. We wondered if it was a movie! We thought it was a tiny plane. When the second jet hit, it was total madness. That day changed us all.

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  5. And with our current dictator , wouldn't surprise me if it happens again.

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    1. Oh but he’s grandstanding and talking shit on national tv. And retweeting 9/11 truthers. On 9/11....

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  6. I was at work that day and a woman had a computer that could play clips from the internet (technology wasn't like now), we were checking whenever the bosses were not around. I have always been aware of what goes on in the world, I had an idea of what was happening, the second plane confirmed my suspicions. People look at me like I have two heads when I tell them that was the second attack on the towers. I have to get them to research it, then they are surprised. Definitely the world changed that day and in a lot more sinister ways than most people realize. I guess this is modern America's Pearl Harbor.

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    1. Oh yes! The towers were targeted before. They were a symbol both of the power and the spirit of the US. That’s why they attacked them. I’m sure they saw it as David attacking Goliath. Blind dogma. The world did change that day. For the worse.

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  7. If I were computer savvy, I would give you a link to all the LGBT people who died because of 9/11. Starting with Mark Bingham. My thoughts not only go to them, but to the lovers, significant others that were left hanging from being abandoned without any claim to their rights of a spouse.

    I had booked a flight to London two hours before the event. I canceled, even though I should not have.

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    1. Mark Bingham was a hero. I remember Father Judge, too, who was with the NY fire department, I think. I cannot imagine what the LGBTQ people suffered that day. Pre-marriage equality there was nothing that could be done. So sad.

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  8. I was working for International Paper, one of our distribution centers was in Hobokon. I called one of my contacts there and someone else answered his phone. She said they were watching it from their loading dock and she'd try and get a hold of him for me. A few moments later he answered my call by saying they'd lost contact with our trucks in NYC and "we're shutting everything down." He hung up.

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    1. Everything went off the rails that day. I think it took three or four days for people to come out of the stupor that it caused and then the fear settled in.

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