Two years ago
Michele at a small victory has a post
about remembering September 11, 2001. As usual, it's worth reading as are the links.
The first I heard of the 9/11 attack out here in Cleveland was a phone call from my fiancé while I was at work. And probably like a lot of people, my first thought was that it was a Cessna piloted by someone trying a maneuver that was too dangerous near the towers, where winds could pose a hazard to small planes. I had no TV or radio where I was, and the net didn’t seem to be working. Information was slow to come out at my office. My fiance called back soon after to tell me that a second plane had hit the towers. I repeated this to my coworkers, but one disagreed, saying she had heard it was a twin engine plane. Soon after a TV was set up and we saw the smoke pouring from the towers. Still not able to get a news feed from the choked internet news websites, I went on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). A couple of people on a channel that I had once frequented lived within sight of the towers. They told us all about what they were seeing and hearing. One of them could see the towers smoking from her window. I still had no idea about the size of the planes involved. Finally the person typed in that one of the towers had fallen.
By the time the second one fell, I was talking with my fiancé again, and we had seen the images on television. People in the office were walking around stunned, and nervous. Rumors were flying about other planes still in the air - these rumors continued all day long. We were not in a skyscraper, but it was the tallest building in the immediate area, and I saw people looking out of the windows, scanning the skyline. Our management did not allow us to go home early that day, so I took the bus back to the city. Normally this bus is crowded, but all the non-heartless companies had sent their people home, so I rode it alone. Normally downtown Cleveland is bustling with traffic and people at rush hour when I change buses there, but not today. Except for the bus I left, and the one I got on, I didn’t see a car or a person downtown. I talked to the Bus driver to try and trade some news - there wasn’t any news really. He did let me know that they had closed the zoo. He laughed at the idea that terrorists would be attacking a zoo in Cleveland. "The damn zoo!" he laughed. A the time, we didn’t know the ill-fated flight that crashed in PA was over Cleveland airspace when it was turned to head back toward Washington DC. A few people got on the bus as we passed the huge Cleveland Clinic complex,. People traded news about what was closed and what was not.
Finally I got home and held my fiancé, and we watched the terrible events replayed endlessly on television. We didn’t sleep much that night, wondering if there were still planes out there, or what was going to be the next attack. We did have some practical concerns as well. We were due to be married on October 6th, and many guests would be flying in, so we watched to see if and when air travel would be allowed again. I know of one friend who’s father died on September 9th, and she was unable to fly back for the funeral.
By the time our wedding came, things were beginning to get back to something resembling normal, although there is always now an undercurrent from the attacks. My Canadian relatives flew in, each having little pins entwining the Canadian and American flags in a show of solidarity. I think it was around this time I decided that I would go down the bureaucratic maze to becoming a US citizen. If I admired this country for it’s freedoms of life and speech so much, it seemed like only logical choice. For those who attacked the US, who think that it's weak, or think that internal debates mean a lack of will, they are going to continue to find out how badly they were mistaken. There's no chance we're going to forget those who were the victims of attack - they are us.
It’s late summer now, nearing the second anniversary of that viscous attack. I’m flying back to Nova Scotia shortly for my brother’s wedding. But before I do, I think I might drop by the zoo.