Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembrances of Thing Past

I had a different post written and scheduled to publish today, but then I noticed what the date was. I thought about writing something new, but decided to just re-post this one from a decade ago. All of the comments on that post are gone because we were using a different commenting platform called Haloscan at the time, and they went defunct in 2009. So, if you'd like to share your memories, we would love to read them. When I re-read this post I realize how grateful I am that I wrote it because, seriously, I could never remember these details or write this again. What a day that was.On September 11, 2001 Roger and I woke in a cabin in Sierra City, Ca. The phone was ringing in our room. It was the first full day of our vacation. We had left Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon September 9th and driven 250 miles to Truckee, Ca where we spent the night, and the morning drove the back roads to Sierra City. Our plan was to get there some time on the 10th, maybe do an afternoon hike, but to start our hiking vacation in the beautiful Lake Basin on the 11th. Our cabin had a full kitchen and bath, a TV with satellite, a telephone. We didn't have cell phones or a laptop. Primitive by 21st century standards. I had given our travel plans to my mother and my sister. They always know where we are, and we talk everyday no matter what. So even though we planned to be essentially out of touch, we were not out of reach.

The phone rang in our cabin at 7:00 in the morning. I couldn't believe it. Who would possibly call us so early? I picked up the phone with trepidation. It was my sister. She said, "Turn the TV on."

I said, "Are you kidding. It's 7:00 in the morning. No. You have to tell me why first."

She said, "Turn the TV. You have to see what's going on."

I said, "You have to tell me why first, Lynn. You're totally scaring me."

She said, "Planes hit the World Trade Center in NY. Turn on the TV. You have to watch this."

I said, "Oh my god."

I hung up, while Roger fiddled around with the satellite TV and found the news. We turned it on just in time to see the first building fall.

This was the first morning of our vacation. We didn't know whether to stay in Sierra City or drive home immediately. We kept the TV on and thought about it for a while. We made our tea and toast and watched the second building fall. We both said out loud in that cabin, "Osama bin Laden." We knew right away. We did not say, Saddam Hussein. We knew right away.

We decided that we should at least hike that morning and think about what to do while we were out on the trails. We hiked around between 6,000 and 8,000 feet. We cried at alpine lakes. We wondered about our loved ones who worked in NYC (who we later learned were in the throngs of people who walked across the Brooklyn Bridge that day). Our original plan had been to stay until some time late on Friday, but this disaster took all the joy out of our steps.

We stayed all day Wednesday and took a longer and more challenging hike in the high country, but felt hollow and detached from the moment. We decided to pack our car and head home on Thursday morning. We needed to be with our families and our neighbors. We listened to NPR all the way home. We arrived and found our nearest and dearest neighbors, we stood in the middle of the street for a long time talking with them. We repeated every story, every rumor, every fear, every hope.

We knew then that some aspect of our nation's innocence had been taken, but what we hadn't expected was how the Bush administration would steal everything else.

And here we are.

Where were you that day, and how do you feel about it all now?

18 comments:

  1. I was living in New York at the time, and working at the NY Times. Fortunately I was editing so I didn't need to go down to Ground Zero myself -- but it was a busy day, to say the least. I saw a lot of the dust and debris first-hand, but compared to many people, I didn't experience much of it personally because I was inside and working. I would run to a TV every so often just to see what was happening. It's a tragic event that ended my "honeymoon" period in New York. Nothing felt the same after that, and I lived in NYC for eight more years.

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    1. Steve-- I can't imagine what it must have been like to actually be in New York at the time of this attack. It's true in a big way that nothing felt the same after that.

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  2. I was in driving back from dropping my daughter of at a sports event when there was a news break on the car radio about a plane, possibly something small and private, crashing into on of the twin towers. Back home, it was my day off work, I sat up the dreaded ironing board and switched on the tv. I never did any ironing. Later when we ware all home, watching the first tower collapse, live in our sitting room, my daughter asked, will this change everything, do you think?

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    1. Sabine-- There was something about watching that tower collapse that felt like a crumbling bigger than the building itself. Then, the second one. There was simply nothing we could say. Yes, sadly, it changed everything.

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  3. The phone rang. A friend, Sarah, said, "Turn on your TV. This is a sad day for our country." I don't remember any further conversation. When I hung up the phone, I wondered if my tiny TV still worked without its cable hookup. For some reason, it did work. I watched the footage of planes flying into the towers and saw the towers collapsing over and over again. After a while, I didn't turn the TV on anymore.

    September 11 was a day I had been waiting for because it was day that Bob Dylan's CD "Love and Theft" was going to be released. I did go out that day and buy "Love and Theft." Everyone seemed to be fragile and extraordinarily kind. I went home and was startled to hear Bob Dylan sing,

    "Sky full of fire, pain pourin' down." (lyrics from Mississippi)

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    1. am-- I don't know that Dylan song, but now I'm going to find it and listen. It has a profound resonance for the moment.

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  4. We all will remember exactly where we were and what we were doing the moment we found out. Not even the attackers had any idea what a profound effect it would have on us and our country for years to come.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- So true, the profound effect continues. The world changed, and weirdly we got to watch it on TV.

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  5. I was at home and was watching a morning news show. Originally thinking it was a dreadful accident, the second plane dispelled that theory. I didn't move from in front of the TV for the rest of the day as I watched in horror.
    I so remember all the mind numbing scenes that played out one after another. They are a permanent part of my memories.
    My cousin was a NYPD officer and was among those who worked tirelessly for days and were scarred for life. But then weren't we all.

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    1. Patti-- Yes, some of those scenes are a permanent part of our memories. Such a sad day that changed everything. So sorry to know that your cousin was scarred for life. Yes, we all were, but some more than others.

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  6. I worked in a Maryland suburb of Washington, and a colleague whose husband worked at the Pentagon was frantic until she thankfully heard from him that he was okay. I went home, met my 12-year-old son at the schoolbus stop, and we sat in front of the TV the rest of the afternoon. At one point he turned to me and asked "is America gonna survive this?"

    We did, but would that we could have a little bit of that unity that existed in the days following 9/11.
    Cathy McDonald

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    1. Cathy-- I can't imagine what it must have been like for someone who had a loved one in harm's way like that, or to be 12-years old and seeing such a thing. Although, as I type this I remember that I was 11 when John Kennedy was assassinated. There are some memories that last a lifetime. Yes, unity would be a very welcomed thing these days.

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  7. I remember seeing that at work, some said it had happened and we were glued to the commuter screens speechless, could not believe some one would do something like that. Unfortunately they still do.

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    1. Bill-- It was one of those horrific moments that was hard to look away from. Yes, quite unfortunately it still happens all around the world.

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  8. I was in New York City. My children, then 9 and 7, were in school. My only thought was to get them. And bring them home. I went for our son and my husband walked across the park the get our daughter. There was a hush in the city. Everyone met each other's eyes. Later that night my son came to me and said, "A lot of heroes died today." Fifteen years later he joined the FDNY. His dream was born in the ashes of that sad, impossibly blue day. This year was the first anniversary I didn't write of that day on my blog.

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    1. 37paddington-- I can only imagine what it was like to be on the streets of the city that day. Your son's story is so compelling, how he was inspired by the acts of courage and heroism.

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  9. I was watching something on TV, when it was interrupted for "breaking news." I also, initially thought it was an accident. After, a few seconds, I remember saying, "how in the world, did a plane "accidentally" just happen to run into the WTC?" When the second plane hit, I was speechless. I was then GLUED to the TV for what seemed like days.

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    1. Pat-- GLUED to the TV. That's what it was like all around our country. What a time, what a moment. It changed everything.

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