Friday, September 15, 2006

9/11 Memories

Quote of the day: Got nothing. Sorry.

Song of the day: got nothing for ya.

State of mind: glad it is Friday.

Date: 9/15/06

The anniversary of 9/11 was a few days ago. I wanted to commemorate it but wasn’t sure how, especially on this blog that is filled with the silliest of things. It just didn’t seem to fit.
I am not friendly with anyone that is a cop or a firefighter. I didn’t know anyone that was on the planes or in the buildings that day. My only connection with the WTC was a trip to NYC with Henry oh so long ago. We stood on the roof of the building and spied Donald Trump with a mysterious looking man. There was a suitcase. There were trench coats. There was shiftiness. Guess we’ll never know what he was up to.
We both have the same copies of our pictures from that day. We asked another tourist to take our picture over looking the rest of the city (and beyond). We found someone with a nicer camera than ours figuring they wouldn’t want to steal our crappy camera if they already had one. In the picture I am standing in the shade and Henry is in the sun. I finally look like I have a tan. After we got tired of being on the roof, we went down the escalator to the gift shop floor and looked around. We walked over to one of the many windows, got up on the low sash and pressed our bodies against the glass to look down to the street. Everything was so tiny! It’s amazing how much faith I put in that glass to not just pop out and cause me to tumble to a horrible death, but I did without even thinking about it. I think we have a picture of that too. And that was all I could think about five years ago as I watched with all my co-workers as they towers fell. I stood on that building. I stood on top of it. It gave me the chills. 9/11 was a day just like that day years earlier when we were there: azure sky, and a slight breeze- just as it was this past Monday. On both 9/11/01 and 9/11/06, I was coming back from a week off. This past Monday, the same gorgeous weather followed my across the parking lot. I got to my desk, found a slight mess, and discovered that my favorite mechanical pencil was gone.
Five years ago, I remember pulling into the parking lot and being a little annoyed at how gorgeous the day was. I walked into the building and the finance officer was telling me that a plane hit one of the towers. Neither of us had a clue how much damage had been done and assumed it was a small plane or that idiot French guy that had gotten his ultra light stuck on the Statue of Liberty a few weeks before. We joked about it. Laughed even. Then I think I said something like, ‘they just keep trying to knock those buildings down, but they won’t fall.’ If ever I wish I could have been right for once! A few minutes later our accountant came running into the building with her face beet red screaming, ‘another plane hit! Another plane hit!’ and ran up the stairs to our break room to turn on the TV. It wasn’t that French guy. I really really would have preferred to have just lost my favorite pencil 5 years ago instead.
The whole event was stunning- mind numbing actually. Along with everyone else, I was glued to the TV, but I still had work to do. People still wanted to come in and pick up their cars. So, I would run to my desk, do a deal, then run right back again. I came back once and the amount of smoke had increased and I couldn’t believe it, but it looked like only one building was still there. I thought it was just the angle or the smoke blocking it till one of the salesmen told me it had fallen. A whole building, gone- in the time it took me to print up one car deal.
I finished out my day and when I left to go home that day I noticed the silence. Nothing was in the air. My whole life has been spent near an airport. There was never a time that there wasn’t something in the sky that was man made. I didn’t like it at all.
I had flown over the towers on the way back from visiting my sister in Florida. NYC doesn’t look that big from above. It’s a very compact place. I thought we were still over Virginia when the towers popped into view, like looking at one of those magic eye pictures, (that I never could successfully do.) They glittered with the lights of the city reflected in the glass because the sun had set hours earlier. It was gorgeous.
So. It's five years later. And… ?

The 9/11 Commission Report


LL said...

I have a friend who was at the Pentagon that day. You should hear his stories...

mr. schprock said...

Great post, Nypinta.

I was trying to get a T1 connection installed for my office that day. A laundromat shared our old building and, as I led the tech guy to the utility space just off the laundromat where he could get at the wires and cables, I saw what had happened on one of the TVs the laundromat kept on for their customers. It was surreal. When I learned what exactly was had happened, I remember being impressed by the diabolical genius of act. And then, when Bush called the terrorists "evil-doers," everything took on the otherworldly hue of a comic book, like the whole thing was a Lex Luthor plot.

fermicat said...

I was on the west coast for business on 9/11. Being 3000 miles from home just added to the surreality of that day.