What 9/11 Means to Me
My mother met my father at the World Trade Center in 1976. It was love at first sight, and I came into being in 1977. She had worked there for the Department of Unemployment Benefits.
Although I was born in Jersey City, NJ, I was raised in New York. WTC was always a symbol of my state, along with the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
A lifetime later, on September 11, 2001, I was working in a Florida office when it happened. It was a surreal morning for me. I was out on the production floor working on processing some images, and a co-worker of mine, Lisa Glatzer, was on the Internet. It was a pretty full office at the time, and she said that a plane had hit into one of the towers. Someone scrambled to put a radio on.
My mother had called my cell phone and was in full panic mode; she was watching it live on television and saw the 2nd plane hit. I had believed that the 1st plane was a pilot error. When the 2nd plane hit, I got scared. Rumors began to spread on the radio and Internet feeds that it was no accident. As information was filtering in, and the buildings began to crumble, I thought that our nation was under attack, and we had finally experienced the beginning of World War III, and that I would see the end of the world.
Just out of conditioning, my first reaction was the Russians, since I had been raised during the Cold War. But I had been following Osama bin Laden since 1999, when I read that he and Saddam were teaming up. At that time, before the original DailySkew, I would type up fake news articles on my computer, and did a Super Villain Team-Up with them, after reading the real-life article.
The stories came in about the Pentagon and another plane, and I truly was overcome with a sense of dizziness and a manic fear that the US was under attack and in a state of emergency. Of course, my bosses wanted everyone to stay calm and continue as is; after all, we were in Broward County, nothing happens there.
I’m a sensitive guy when it comes to death, and I needed a break, but as much as I wanted to go to Tamarac and watch the news with my family, and I had to press on at work. Back then, there were a lot of mean and selfish bosses at my office, so I didn’t take off-especially since it was no BIG DEAL to the Powers at Be (none had lived in NY- the true capital of the world).
I remember seeing the Democrats and Republicans united together.
I remember the speeches, the footage, the horror stories, and the grief and sadness.
I remember the conspiracy theories.
I remember George W. Bush’s delay before we started the bombing. I knew as a nation, we had to bomb something, and we eventually did.
I remember Osama bin Laden being the most hated figure in the U.S., but we never got him.
However, the biggest shock to me was how a bunch of terrorists could take over planes and fly off course. It was (and still is) unimaginable to me. I guess I was naive and gullible: I thought that everything was run by computers, that satellites observe major things like that, that airlines would have been alerted instantly if a plane was off-course, and that the air force or military would have intercepted the planes.
For me (and Tony Vahl) September 11, 2001 was the end of the world as we knew it. It was the end of the era of security in the U.S. Indeed, the world has changed so much since then. In many ways, the world has been shaken upside down- from major events to the most minor changes in every day life and customs. There is no question that the great divider of U.S. history will be pre-9/11 and post-9/11.
For those of you who do not know the magic and relevance that the New York Yankees have meant to New Yorkers, forgive me but I must bring them up; part of the healing process for New York was for the Yankees to get into the World Series- and they did. To show the world that New Yorkers, and a nation, would never surrender, it was destiny that the Yankees’ dynasty continue with a World Series win. But things didn’t turn out as expected. In the most exciting series ever, the Arizona Diamondbacks won with a lucky bloop hit off Mariano Rivera- the best relief pitcher of all time. This reinforced Tony Vahl’s and my view that the world truly will never be the same again.
9/11: Seven Years Later
Things are very unpredictable in this new earth we live in. In many ways, the terrorists have won, because our freedoms have been reduced in the name of national security. Our ways of life will never be the same. Middle East conflicts have come onshore in the form of terrorist threats and thwarted plots, and divide us as nation. Americans are in the midst of an idelaogical war right now- read any message board, watch any TV show, read the comments on Youtube videos.
Yes, for a very short time after the attacks, politicians put aside their differences and the MEDIA just wanted to get to the bottom of the matter. Police officers and firefighters were worshiped in the northeast. Rudy Giuliani was the spiritual leader of the nation. President Bush was a popular icon, whom we looked up to for strong leadership. There was a sense of community and national identity- at least in the north east. It was cool to be patriotic, even in South Florida. Everyone supported our troops and demanded military action in Afghanistan against the evil Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Thankfully, the Internet archives still show proof of how things were different.
Now, on September 11, 2008, 9/11 is a political issue. There have been many laws, actions, and events that have occurred since September, 11 2001 that have been beyond controversial and unpredictable- truth is stranger than fiction. Guantanamo Bay was set up, the army used excessive force to extract information, there was an American Taliban, an anthrax scare, The Patriot Act, phone taps, a suspension of rights for American citizens at airports, a War in Iraq, the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime and his execution, the idiot shoe bomber, the revelations that some of the 9/11 terrorists were trained right here- in Broward County, and countless other things. It could be argued that in a world wide opinion poll, President Bush is now hated more than Osama bin Laden. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are too numerous to mention.
It seems as if any 9/11 tribute by the Republican Party is immediately labeled as “right wing propaganda” by the Democratic Party.
But the fact is, everyone had used 9/11 as a way to further their goals or to cash in. Rudy Giuliani tried to run for presidency based on 9/11, and he was revealed to be a fraud. I even ranted and raved back then on the original DailySkew that Marvel comics went overboard with their 9/11 themed comic books because they were making a profit off it.
In the end, the illusion of America being an unstoppable super-power was erased that day. When our government mishandled Hurricane Katrina’s preparation, damage control, and horrific aftermath, it only further stripped down any remnants of the illusion of safety, security, and power that I thought protected us. Any sense of national or cultural identity or community spirit is long gone.
So what does 9/11 mean to me? I could never forget the victims.