Delayed Thoughts on 9/11
I was off in job interview-land all day yesterday in Michigan, so I missed most of the 9/11 anniversary coverage yesterday, but I would have to say that I am glad I did, since it seems our government used it as a way to propagandize the war, instead of really honoring the people who were killed. But I'll get to that later. Everyone in the blogosphere seems to be commenting on what they were doing on 9/11 5 years ago, so I feel a need to add my 2 cents.
I was 3 weeks from the due date of our first son. Dave and I were living in Los Angeles at the time, and my mother, who lives in NJ, phoned me a little before 6am to tell me that a plane had collided with the WTC. Before the second plane hit, no one quite knew whether this was an act of terrorism or a terrible accident. I figured a Cessna hit the towers or something. I turned on the Today Show to see, moments later, the second tower being hit by a second plane. My husband and I continued to watch in horror as the day's events began to unfold. Our beloved city we had just left 2 years ago was being attacked. Thankfully, none of our former co-workers or friends were downtown at the time. Most were in mid-town.
As the day progressed, I had to relay the events that were being shown on live TV for my mother, because the WTC had an antenna that supplied reception to a large portion of the tri-state area. I think NBC was the only one left with footage (hence the Today Show) because their antennas are on top of Rockefeller Center. And we were also listeneing to the Howard Stern show which was our routine before he went to Sirius, and could listen to the events happening in the city. We were extremely thankful that we were no longer living in NYC, as I knew, based on my work schedule and how I got to work, I would have been walking up 5th avenue, near the Empire State Building at the time the chaos began.
My mother didn't need anybody to tell her though what was happening, though, since she could see and smell the black smoke bellowing from the NYC skyline which can be seen from the Jersey Shore where she lives. The whole event was completely surreal, as we all know, and as another blogger wrote, we will remember where we were the day of 9/11 like prior generations remember where they were the day JFK was shot. Being 10 months pregnant at the time, I couldn't help but feel reticent about what kind of world I was bringing this baby into at the time. We were also personally going through a terrible time financially and emotionally, as Dave was out of work. Weeks later I spoke with a friend's sister whose husband worked across the street from the WTC, and he witnessed people jumping from the building. He was currently suffering from nightmares when I spoke to her, and was under an extreme amount of anxiety.
So here we are, 5 years later, and really not much to show for it. There is still a gaping wound in the NYC skyline that has yet to be repaired. It really truly disgusts me that people visit the site like it's a tourist destination and pose for family pictures. This is a mass grave. This is hallowed ground and people are taking family snapshots? Do people pose like that at Arlington Cemetery? Because that is really the same kind of place. The Twin Towers were a part of all my memories of NYC growing up since it was erected in the 70s. I didn't remember it NOT being there, since I was born in 1971. We were recently in NYC for vacation and I had no desire to go downtown to "ground zero". As far as I'm concerned, I didn't lose someone I love that day, so it's really not my business to go down there and grieve. So many people jump on the grieving bandwagon.
So here we are today, 5 years later: we are at war with the wrong people. I don't know the exact numbers, but I believe 2,500+ people died on 9/11 from the attacks. More people are dying everyday from the pollutants they were exposed to, and another 2,000+ soldiers have died now in Iraq. The goddam nerve of our President to politicize this anniversary! We should have done nothing but pray and commemorate the loss of those who were killed. Not use it as a vehicle to sell us the war, for God's sake.
So that's my 2 cents. Take it or leave it.