Tuesday, 11 September 2007

If I'd Had a Blog 6 Years Ago, What I Might Have Written


Today I saw something on TV to equal or surpass Pearl Harbor or any other aggressive declaration of war. I had just gotten home from Tesco when the phone rang. "Do you have the TV on?" my husband asked. "Turn it on now." I saw a beautiful autumn day in New York and the World Trade Center on fire. The news presenter said it was a plane. No one was sure if it was an accident. As the news presenters were speaking, another plane appeared and flew into the second tower. Then a news flash: another plane had flown into the Pentagon. I called my husband back. "They're trying to destroy America," I cried. He couldn't or wouldn't stay on the phone. I went back to the TV, watching in disbelief, tears streaming down my face. It was almost time to pick the kids up from school. What do I do? What do I say?

I wore my sunglasses to cover my red and puffy eyes. When I got the kids in the car, I explained that something terrible had happened to those tall buildings we'd seen just two weeks earlier. When we got home, I turned the TV back on. The towers were collapsing. I cried when I saw a black woman turned completely white by the dust. My 5-year-old son laughed. "Why are you laughing?" I asked. "I've never seen a woman cry before," he said.

I turned the TV off. I didn't want the kids to get upset by all the coverage or by seeing me all upset. Several friends called to see if I knew anyone. When my husband got home, I asked him to hang my American flag outside. I'm not a flag waver, but it seemed appropriate. How many survivors will there be? My husband doesn't appear to know anyone directly who was in the building but he knows someone who knows someone who was on the phone to one of the Cazenove guys when the plane flew into the building. He also knows someone who worked in a building right next to the Twin Towers.


AND WHAT I WRITE TODAY:

That American flag was stolen from in front of my house two days later. I have never put another one up since. I went to church on the following Sunday. The vicar's sermon was about how the West deserved this. I walked out and never returned to that church. There have been a lot of TV programs about 9/11 over the past week. I've allowed my children to watch them, disturbing and upsetting as they are, because real life in the wake of 9/11 is disturbing and upsetting. I wish all the madness had ended on that day. It has not. This war on Western civilization is wrong, wrong, wrong -- sinfully, hell-making, furiously wrong. I don't understand Muslims not standing up and telling their murderous brethren that they are all going to hell for their actions. But I also don't understand George W. Bush waging war with the wrong country for the wrong reasons. He will go to hell for his actions as well. It is America's great misfortune that it had one of the stupidest, most inept presidents in its history during the worst attack on its soil ever.

My son does not laugh now when he sees the images from that day. He understands now what it was all about. He understands why we have to stand in lines at airports and take off our shoes and belts and coats. At least they no longer make me lift my shirt to show my underwired bra.

I still cry when I see the images of that day, read the stories of the widows, the survivors, and the dead. I will always cry.

21 comments:

Annie said...

I cry, too.

How disgusting, but not surprising that your flag was stolen. There just isn't the same pride in, nor respect for flags in the UK and Ireland.

In Northern Ireland where I grew up - flags are so divisive and it's very sad.

I was here in Florida when this happened 6 years ago and I was blown away by the patriotic displays of flags after 9-11 - it's amazing and heartwarming to see.

Kaycie said...

I remember so well where I was on that day. The shock, the horror, and then the disbelief. I will never understand people who believe they can kill in the name of their god.

Don't even get me started on the current occupant of the White House. It's a damn shame he was even there that day. It should have been Al Gore.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I've been in a melancholy mood for days leading up to this. I hate the fact that we all have our own generation defining question of "Where were you when..." based on this.

I have to agree with Kaycie on all points White House related. Our current illustrious leader is a fool, always has been a fool and should never have even been given the opportunity that day to look the imbecile he is. Don't ask me what I really think...

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Annie: Yes, you know a thing or two about divisiveness and terrorism, too, I should imagine. I think it's sad that 9/11 has been hijacked by the far right as an excuse to wage war with other countries with impunity.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Kaycie: If Florida had not had such a corrupt voting system, Al Gore would have been there. Some chads should have been hung after that fiasco. I wonder what Al Gore would have done.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Yes, RC, you have a good point about our generation. An older generation had Kennedy's assassination, an even older one Pearl Harbor. We have 9/11 and now 7/7 as well in the UK.

@themill said...

Every war ever fought seems to be about religion.

Kaycie said...

Whatever Al Gore might have done, I believe with all my heart that it would have been better than this. I think he would have taken the good will of the world and cherished it, tended it, kept it, instead of wasting it and changing it to indifference and even distaste.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

@themill: I think you're right.

Kaycie: One thing I don't think Al Gore would have done would be to freeze as Dubya did while at that elementary school.

DJ Kirkby said...

I was driving to work when I heard about it. As soon as I got there I put the tv on and the staff and women, with their babies and men all watched the horror for the entire shift and worried about family over there.

Pixie said...

My two sons , my nephew and I sat on my eldest sons bed and watched till we could watch no more.
And we could cry no more.

Today I wrote the date down and just had to stop and just be for a moment.

It is criminal what is going on in this world under the name of freedom.

it makes me very sad
pxx

laurie said...

your vicar said WHAT???

i was getting ready for work, exercising in the basement, when doug came flying down the stairs and told me what had happened.

that was the start of weeks of long, long days at work. it was excruciatingly sad; my task was to edit down the stories of loss and misery and fit in as many as i could into the paper.

there wasn't room for them all.

i, too, hung a flag. to me, the flag meant, "i love my country, and we are all in this together."

and then i went out with my bookclub--lovely liberal ladies from south minneapolis, which is known for its liberal politics. and they started making fun of the jingoistic and war-mongering people who were flying flags.

and i got so upset i couldn't speak.

the power of the symbol of flags is not to be taken lightly.

Queeny said...

I still cry, too, and I remember exactly where I was when it happened. My baby girl was just six months old, and we were lying in bed when the phone rang. It was my husband calling from work. He told me to turn on the TV; I watched the atrocities unfold over and over again on every major network all day. The thought of it still hurts my heart.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

DJ: How poignant. Those people should have been celebrating the births of their babies, and instead they watched and worried about others. A day they'll never forget.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Pixie: Yes, I had to just be for a minute today too. And think about where we are and if anything has improved. It has not.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Laurie: I'm sure it was a very busy time in your and other newsrooms. I often thought of my former colleagues during that time. Because we were so close to NYC, we would have produced extra section after extra section. Your liberal "friends" should have known better than to make comments like that. Those flags were a symbol of a grieving nation.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Queeny: Will any of our hearts be healed ever again? Those people who died were strangers, yet they weren't. They were ordinary people just like us, going about their business. They didn't deserve that. Not one of them.

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm horrified that your flag was stolen.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

I must have been one of the last people to hear about it. We were holidaying in France, had no tv, couldn't understand the radio. We found out about it two days later in an english newspaper. We didn't know what the hell we were coming home to

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Religion has a lot to answer for in our world of terror.

Crystal xx

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Welcome, Shauna. I'm a big fan of yours. Yes, I was horrified about the flag too , but not too surprised.

Vi: You must have wondered what the hell was going on at the airport.

CJ: It's not religion, it's the followers. Or some of them.