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Yeah, I don’t have an exciting September 11th story

September 11, 2011

10 years ago.

Here’s how it happened in my insignificant world. I was getting ready for work (Entergy) and while dressing, I flipped on the television and some reporteress was live in New York with a flaming tower in the background, talking about a plane crash. I’m sure I was thinking “tragic”…

SLAM! Second plane goes in and the other building is hit. I wonder if I just saw what I saw. I wasn’t sure at first if it was some messed up replay of the original footage or what. The reporteress and the news studio haven’t even acknowledged it yet (she’s facing the wrong direction and didn’t see it). With wide eyes and “OH SHIT” in my mind, I realize both towers are now burning. It’s an attack! The reporteress is confused. The studio people are confused. Bunch of mindless babble I’ll never remember. I call my parents at their offices (Loyola). Don’t get through to either of them. Mom was still commuting. Dad taught an 8am class so he was in class when the reporting really picked up.

I drove to work which was right smack dab in the CBD of New Orleans. A few of us had come in. It’s all anybody was talking about. Everyone was watching the television and searching the internet. Then we were getting buzzed by fighter jets. We had fighters patrolling over the city! We heard about the Pentagon and a crashed plane somewhere else. All kinds of stories about other targets and planes and what-have-you which turned out later not to be true. We heard Houston had fighters patrolling there too. And other cities. That Chicago’s skyscrapers were to be evacuated. And so on. We were told we could go home…

Went home, and parked myself in front of the TV/Internet and just watched. Saw the towers finally fall. It was more a spectacle to me — I wasn’t detached, but I certainly didn’t experience it in the way New Yorkers did. They were crying, distraught messes. In utter shock. Completely confused. I imagine that’s how it was for Hurricane Katrina — different for me and mine than for those watching from afar.

I really don’t remember much more. Later, when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, I became one of those war junkies South Park made fun of — lying on the couch captivated by the live-on-television wars unfolding before my eyes — like a first person shooter I was watching instead of playing. I was in the 1st Gulf War, so I didn’t have any idea what it must have been like back home. I was a war addict for weeks.

Now, 10 years later and it’s mostly faded from my memory. I don’t know of anyone I knew personally who was killed on that day. My closest connection to the event at the time was a friend from LiveJournal who had visited New York and been to the towers a few days before. It’s something I really don’t think about except when the fallout (wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, TSA abuses, consequences of the Patriot Act) is in the news or affects me personally somehow.

I live on the other side of the planet now. Have a family now. Run a business now. September 11th has become something of a historical abstraction for me — a lesson about the possible repercussions of a very violent, schizophrenic and insidious foreign policy. A tutorial on how the government will use an event of that sort to ratchet up the police state and strip citizens of more and more of their money and liberty. So that’s about it. Not much more to say. My condolences to the families of all the innocent people killed that day and to all of those brave and dedicated people who are now suffering negative health effects from exposure while doing their jobs. Best wishes to all.

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