It's one day away from the 911 anniversary [why do we say anniversary, as if it was a good day we want to remember?] and I, like every other American, have quite a few memories of that day and its aftermath.
I remember, that it was probably weather wise, the most beautiful morning that I have ever seen in all of my years on earth. The weather was particularly meaningful to me, because although we were at a court conference in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, we were supposed to play a full round of golf that day. I remember, as I was changing in my hotel room, listening to the news report on television about a "small" plane flying into one of the Twin Towers. I didn't pay much attention to it. In fact, as I went downstairs to meet my colleagues for breakfast, and I even joked to them about some guy in a Cessna or something who couldn't get his bearings straight, and crashed his plane into one of the Twin Towers. Boy was I wrong. As we stood in the lobby of that hotel, I will never forget how surreal it was watching the other plane crash into the second tower.
The looks on the faces of every one in that room, the mad dash to go home by people with young children, and families at home was something I will never forget. I suppose being at a conference and in a hotel, made those initial moments even more tense and horrifying to the people that were there with me. Most people were away from home, and most people, seeing the other stories of multiple planes being hijacked, one crashing into the Pentagon, and one of the hijacked planes heading right to us across Pennsylvania, could not help but think that we were under attack, and were at war.
Total strangers were crying with each other, and comforting each other in any way that they could. I called my significant other, who was working in a high rise building in Philadelphia on the seventeenth floor, to make sure she was OK. She said she was, and I told her that no matter what her company said to get the hell out of there. She said she would because she was scared, and that there was allot of talk in the office about America being under attack. I told her that the people in her officer were right. I will never forget the middle aged white lady who came up to me and said: "Can you believe this is happening in our country?""Well", she said, "we are all together now" As if we weren't together before. Of course she was right, we weren't together before. And not only blacks and whites, but democrats and republicans, rich and poor, red staters and blue staters, you name it. We were just coming off Gore v. Bush, remember that? So in a way, I guess you couldn't blame us. But this incident, this moment, made us all realize how vulnerable we were. As Americans, we always viewed wars and terrorist attacks on our T.V. sets. We never thought that such things could happen to us in our beloved America, insulated in our bucolic Ozzie and Harriet worlds. But it did, because a bunch of religious fanatics wanted to bring the fight to us. So it united us for awhile. For awhile we were together as one America, united against the evil that invaded our peaceful existence.
This is why the war in Iraq really sets me off. Because rather than use a moment when we as citizens, were all ready to unite to defeat a common enemy. Our president, guided by the neocons in his party, used one of the most tragic moments in American history, to score political points, to settle old scores, and to push forth an agenda in the Middle East. It upset me, because of what I saw on the faces of the people in Harrisburg that day, and the bravery and selflessness of a lot of great people who gave their own lives to save others. It upsets me thinking about it now, because we are right back to where we were pre 911, if not worse. We are even more divided, and our president is still trying to score political points from this tragedy. [See his most recent political tour] It upset me, because the NBA sized terrorist, Osama Been Forgotten [that's classic] is still hiding out in Afghanistan somewhere and shaking his d%#k at us. I get upset thinking about people like the camel neck lady, aka Ann Coulter, attacking the widows of the horrific attacks to sell her book, and throw red meat to her fellow conservatives. Unfortunately, thanks to the behaviour of certain individuals, allot more than the Twin Towers collapsed that day. These individuals have led the collapse of decency and civility as well.
So yeah, I remember a lot of things about 911 and the horror that surrounded that day. But the most painful memory I have of 911 and the months and now years after, is the blown opportunity by our president to truly unite us, and show the world that we were going to stand up to the murdering zealots and their ilk. Not just republicans who need the war on terror to push their agenda. But as Americans who want nothing more than to protect our families, and on a beautiful day, be able to play a round of golf.