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  1. #1

    Default Ten years to today.

    Doesnt seem that long. I still remember that day well. Its my generation's Kennedy Assasination, that significant event which people will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news and who they called.

    I remember thinking it would be war and wondering if the UK and Ireland would survive.

    NB Not today but I'm posting this in advance.
    Last edited by Survive & Stay Free; 09-09-2011 at 12:07 PM. Reason: clarification.

  2. #2
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I still lived on the West Coast (Canada). I had an afternoon shift and my brother was visiting us, so we'd planned to go for a coffee before my shift.

    I had my clock radio set to an American station as I grew up pretty close to the border. I woke up about 9 - by that time all the planes had crashed and the towers fallen hours ago. The radio wasn't playing music as usual but was talking confusedly. I remember someone saying "the president is in the air" (?) and "the building is gone." It sounded...weird. And a bit unsettling. I got up and realised my parents had the TV on downstairs which they almost never do in the morning. I walked into the living room saying "Something weird is going on...?" My parents and brother were standing in front of the TV with drawn faces. My dad said "well, something terrible has happened." I think the first thing I saw on the TV was the Pentagon wreathed in smoke. Then video of the plane hitting the second tower. I put my hands over my mouth and said "Oh my God!".

    It's all pretty vivid and it still makes me cry. I'm glad I didn't see the plane hitting the tower live. I now live in the UK and most people I know over here would hav seen it happen live because while it was 6 in the morning my time when it happened, it was afternoon in Europe. One of my best friends over here (who I got to know later, of course) was in NY when it happened - in upper Manhattan but she didn't see it happen, I think she may have been indoors or far enough away. She was soon watching live coverage on TV though and said that the live footage of people jumping really finished her off, as did later seeing walls of pictures and notes of people looking for missing relatives. She said that when she saw video the other day of people jumping she started to have a panic attack as it reminded her so much.

    I remember having trouble falling asleep for several nights because every time I closed my eyes I saw the plane hitting the tower. I take this stuff on a little too vividly. Not sure how I would deal if I actually witnessed it. It was also bad for me to hear stories like about phone calls from the planes and such - if I remember right one of the stewardesses on one of the flights that hit the WTC said "Oh my God, I see buildings" just before it hit. I always hope that people don't really know what's going to happen in those situations as I find the thought of their fear and pain terrible to contemplate. I did move to London just a couple of weeks after 7/7, and it was unsettling enough seeing tube stations still closed off with police tape - and I was staying in a flat basically around the corner from where they arrested the bombers who attempted the second round.

    It's worth reflecting not just on all the lives lost on that horrible day but all the millions of people who have died or been affected in several countries. And I guess we've all been affected to a certain extent, even if it's just heightened terrorist threats and more torturous plane travel.

    For what it's worth, my dad said at the time that he thought the world was even more frightened during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Interesting comparison.

    Another poignant memory: three days later I was on the beach in the suburbs a few miles from home, with my parents. It was a beautiful day. There had been no air travel at all in North America for a couple of days, I think. I looked up and saw a plane in the sky - the first I'd seen since the tragedy. I just wanted to cry. I wrote a poem about my feelings on that later, about how these events can change our perception of the things around us, even the sky and the buildings.

    I love this poem. It's a free translation of Autumn Leaves by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robin Robertson. Robin Robertson says his version has a tangential connection to 9/11.


    The leaves are falling, falling from the trees
    in dying gardens far above us; as if their slow
    free-fall was the sky declining.
    ... And tonight, this heavy earth is falling away
    from all the other stars, drawing into silence.
    We are all falling now. My hand, my heart,
    stall and drift in darkness, see-sawing down.
    And we still believe there is one who sifts and holds
    the leaves, the lives, of all those softly falling.
    Last edited by SilkRoad; 09-12-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I was at work on 9/11.

    I missed the first plane hitting the tower but saw some people huddled around a radio (oddly enough) because I guess they had trouble getting Internet connect due to the traffic after the first plane hit. I was like, "What???" and managed to get onto ABCNews, so I ended up following things a bit after 9am and then throughout the day, although things were slow. There was so much confusion when that last plane disappeared, then finally was called in as down in the PA countryside.

    I remember just being completely stunned. At some point I heard a terrible wailing out the back door, it was our systems tester, and she was with her best friend at work, and it was eerie and horrific and just so painful to hear her cry. I didn't want to intrude because her friend was already there with her, but I was agonizing over the raw pain in her crying. I found out later that her 20-something nephew had been employed by the Pentagon and had been killed when the plane hit.

    Our family had minor connections to the tragedy: My in-laws attended church with a couple (husband and wife) who were passengers on one of the NYC flights, and of course they died in the crash. I also had a cousin who worked in the upper part of one of the Towers, and he just happened to be outside to make a phone call when the first plane hit. He never went back in, and so he escaped with his life and walked out of the city that day. But he's had issues since, career-wise and emotionally; I know it was hard for him.

    I think I left work early, as soon as I could excuse myself, but I was too wound up to go home. I stopped at Costco on the way home, which was a mistake: All those rows of TVs, tuned to the same channel, showing the same footage simultaneously of the plane hitting the tower, the towers burning, the towers collapsing. Over and over. I just stared. The mood was subdued. Everyone seemed stunned. My mind was caught in a loop.

    We talked to our two sons later that night, on a walk, to explain what had happened. (They were 6 & 5 at the time; we had not yet adopted our daughter.) The schools would be implementing tight lock-down procedures and we wanted the boys to understand what had happened and why people were scared and sad. They understood as much as they could, and digested it, and seemed okay. But it was just worrisome, with all the talk about 'secret cells' and what kind of terrorist violence could erupt all over the US; we realized how vulnerable we all were, if someone -- not even a terrorist, but just some lunatic -- decided it was worth trading his life for five minutes of mayhem in a school or mall or church.

    I was most haunted by the fate of the Flight 93 passengers, since once my intuition kicks in, I can't get out of it easily, and I kept projecting myself into what I imagined their experience was from what I could piece together. I ended up writing a song over those first two weeks about it, just to get it out of my system. I did end up reading an awful lot about the people on that flight, as well as watching any documentaries released.

    I was just looking at some of the images from that day, on the major news site. Just evocative, and it hits me all over again. I actually hadn't been in NYC before that time except for years before, and now in the last year I've gone twice... just stunning to see pictures of people just stopped dead in their tracks on the streets, staring up, all different expressions on their faces.

    It was kind of disappointing to see some of that resolve into an excess of fear and mistrust of others, as the "war against terror" dragged on, but I think it's the first time most people in my generation and younger felt actual "fear" in lives that typically are fairly sheltered. Some countries go through unpredictable violence of this level daily; this is one of the first times people here and been touched and had war of sorts brought ONTO our soil.

    I think I am most moved by the fireman and other rescue workers who braved a situation that none had really ever faced, without regard for themselves, and many of whom ended up giving their lives in trying to get people out. The day seems like such a mix of the high points and low points of humanity, as if such a terrible abuse of human life was being balanced by a kind of selflessness I rarely see in my day-to-day world.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member Tiger Owl's Avatar
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    A day I will never forget. I knew that the world was changing as I listened.

    "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." -George S. Patton


    This poem came to mind that Sept. 11...

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    W.B. Yeats
    Last edited by Tiger Owl; 09-23-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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  5. #5
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    I've posted this before, but I always come back to it.

    Leap

    by Brian Doyle

    A couple leaped from the south tower, hand in hand. They reached for each other and their hands met and they jumped.

    Jennifer Brickhouse saw them falling, hand in hand.

    Many people jumped. Perhaps hundreds. No one knows. They struck the pavement with such force that there was a pink mist in the air.

    The mayor reported the mist.

    A kindergarten boy who saw people falling in flames told his teacher that the birds were on fire. She ran with him on her shoulders out of the ashes.

    Tiffany Keeling saw fireballs falling that she later realized were people. Jennifer Griffin saw people falling and wept as she told the story. Niko Winstral saw people free-falling backwards with their hands out, like they were parachuting. Joe Duncan on his roof on Duane Street looked up and saw people jumping. Henry Weintraub saw people “leaping as they flew out.” John Carson saw six people fall, “falling over themselves, falling, they were somersaulting.” Steve Miller saw people jumping from a thousand feet in the air. Kirk Kjeldsen saw people flailing on the way down, people lining up and jumping, “too many people falling.” Jane Tedder saw people leaping and the sight haunts her at night. Steve Tamas counted fourteen people jumping and then he stopped counting. Stuart DeHann saw one woman’s dress billowing as she fell, and he saw a shirtless man falling end over end, and he too saw the couple leaping hand in hand.



    Several pedestrians were killed by people falling from the sky. A fireman was killed by a body falling from the sky.

    But he reached for her hand and she reached for his hand and they leaped out the window holding hands.

    I try to whisper prayers for the sudden dead and the harrowed families of the dead and the screaming souls of the murderers but I keep coming back to his hand and her hand nestled in each other with such extraordinary ordinary succinct ancient naked stunning perfect simple ferocious love.

    Their hands reaching and joining are the most powerful prayer I can imagine, the most eloquent, the most graceful. It is everything that we are capable of against horror and loss and death. It is what makes me believe that we are not craven fools and charlatans to believe in God, to believe that human beings have greatness and holiness within them like seeds that open only under great fires, to believe that some unimaginable essence of who we are persists past the dissolution of what we were, to believe against such evil hourly evidence that love is why we are here.

    No one knows who they were: husband and wife, lovers, dear friends, colleagues, strangers thrown together at the window there at the lip of hell. Maybe they didn’t even reach for each other consciously, maybe it was instinctive, a reflex, as they both decided at the same time to take two running steps and jump out the shattered window, but they did reach for each other, and they held on tight, and leaped, and fell endlessly into the smoking canyon, at two hundred miles an hour, falling so far and so fast that they would have blacked out before they hit the pavement near Liberty Street so hard that there was a pink mist in the air.

    Jennifer Brickhouse saw them holding hands, and Stuart DeHann saw them holding hands, and I hold onto that.
    the formless thing which gives things form!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Tiger Owl's Avatar
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    Vasilisa, The Doyle passage is very poignant, powerful and perfect for today when the media and politicians will clamber over each other to appear more reverent and un-forgetful than the next. These simple yet, unfathomable images bring us to the very brink of the abyss encouraging us to look and see the enemy within and without - the very broken and base nature of man. Thank you for posting.
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  7. #7
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm crying again.
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    Klingon Warrior Princess Patches's Avatar
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    I was in school. Teacher turned on the TV after the first plane hit. We watched the news all day.

    My closest connection to the events was actually through videogames. I had been in a clan in a FPS with a guy for over a year who was part of a maintenance crew at the WTC. He washed windows. He used to post pictures of himself up on risers OUTSIDE of the WTC windows hundreds of stories in the air. They were remarkable pictures. Naturally, I spent the whole day wondering if he was in the building... I had no way of contacting him outside of the game.

    It took him 3 years before he shared the story of what happened to him on that day.

    His crew started working well before 9am, so they had already been working for a good while that day. They were on break, so he went down into the basement (where there was a shopping center) to buy a DVD. The plane hit while he was in the basement. When the elevators plummeted down the shafts, they exploded at the bottom, spraying metal shards everywhere. He got hit with flying metal from the elevator, and a huge chunk of metal went straight through the center of his hand. He lost a lot of the mobility of that hand. He was trapped in the basement for days. Obviously, he made it out alive. No one from his maintenance crew survived. He only made it because he went to buy that DVD.
    “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside
    them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” -Neil Gaiman

    ~

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tiger Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Ok, I'm crying again.
    Happens to the best of us.

    By the way, your avatar has been one of my favorite portrait photographs since I first saw it as a young child. Still moves me.
    Last edited by Tiger Owl; 09-23-2011 at 04:52 PM.
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    I was alone in my apartment in Las Vegas. I remember I was wearing my Victoria's Secret blue snowman pajamas, that's how vividly I remember it. I remember turning on the television after I woke up, which is weird, because I didn't always do that, wasn't a habit, I just happened to do it that day...and saw images of planes flying into buildings. I totally freaked out and started calling people. I was afraid that there would be further attacks and I suffered from pretty bad anxiety already at the time, so I didn't want to leave the house and I didn't want to be alone.

    One of the things that horrified me most about the attacks on the WTC were the people who were trapped in the buildings, and the people who were still inside when the buildings collapsed, and who got trapped in the wreckage. I also kept thinking about the fire fighters who were trying to save as many people as possible and died themselves. I couldn't stop thinking about the people who were trapped in the buildings for months and months. I remember thinking about it one night six months later, just overwhelmed by the idea of ALL those innocent people who suffered.

    I had to stop watching the news though in the following months because I felt that the images of the planes crashing into the buildings were overplayed and were exploitative and disrespectful. However, I have watched television programs commemorating the event for the past two years in a row on September 11, and this morning I just couldn't stop thinking about HOW MANY NAMES they read out.

    One of the things that made an impression on me is that my best friend's boyfriend at the time was of Pakistani descent, and was from New Jersey, and was terrified to leave his house for fear of retaliation on him because of his race even though he's an atheist and was born in the United States. There's that aspect of it as well.

    I will always associate this song now with 9/11.


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