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 Post subject: 9/11 Remembrance Thread
PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep , 2011 8:01 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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Ranger Note: This topic was split from the Hippo Thread at the request of the posters. Everyone else, feel free to post your own remembrances of 9/11/01.

--Riverthalos


Jonas is the guy from the planet where Daniel gets accused of mass murder. I think that's how it went, anyway.

I do want to talk about it, actually. The memorial today was very moving. I wrote this on HoF.

Lalaith wrote:
I actually shed a few tears--something I rarely do in public.

The 21-gun salute is stirring. Taps can make you teary-eyed. If neither of those do it, the bagpiper playing Amazing Grace will surely bring a tear or two. What really did it for me, though, was when all of the First Responders turned on their lights and sirens simultaneously at 1pm. This was something all police and firefighters were going to do across the nation. Amid the cacophony of sound, I couldn't help but think, "This is what they heard at the Towers. This may have been among the last sounds the firefighters and officers heard. This may have been among the last sounds the people heard. It would have been so terrifying, so incredibly awful and dire."

:(

Someone I know posted a first-hand account of someone she knows. This part, in particular, really hit me in the gut:

Quote:
To my right was a set of three fire engines, lights flashing, and I could also hear their dispatch radio from one of the engines. My attention was caught by a woman who sounded slightly hysterical. It was a black woman in a dark purple business suit, completely drenched, with no shoes and a large tear in one sleeve. She was explaining – in shrieks – to the leader of a fire company that was standing nearby that she had just come down from the 84th floor of 2[??] WTC. She worked for MetLife and had narrowly made it down the stairway alive. She’d had to change stairways at the 44th floor, and the stair she took down from there was completely dark, filled with smoke, and had water cascading down the shaft in such great quantities that she and the others descending with her more fell down the 44 floors of stairs than walked. Above 44 she said, it was an inferno, and no one could survive it.



It became clear from the lead fireman’s response and his directions to his team that they were suiting up to go up into the tower. “Ma’am, we’ve got a job to do. Please let us do it.” At this point the lady began to beg the men not to go. I’ve no doubt that the story the lady was telling the men was unnerving, but as they finished strapping their tools and gear on, and collecting their helmets, a large explosion blew out windows in 2 WTC and several nearby towers in sympathy. At this point, the group of firemen (maybe a dozen) had moved to the curb just beside me, and were headed toward the tower just three or four blocks down. The lady was following them, sobbing uncontrollably, pleading with these men to abort their plans. Whether it was the woman, the explosion or just the awesome spectacle of the conflagration they were walking into I don’t know, but several of the men were crossing themselves, one I could hear mumbling parts of Psalm 23, and a shorter red-headed firefighter was saying ‘Hail Mary’ over and over:



Hail Mary, full of grace.

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners

Now and at the hour of our death.



I don’t know if this is the ‘official’ version of the Hail Mary, but this is how the man repeated it, over and over. I don’t know how many times I heard it, but it was enough that I memorized it. I haven’t been able to get it out my head since.



The leader finally pushed the woman aside, and moved across the street with his team, up West Street towards the towers. The Hail Mary and crosses affected me, but I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of those firefighters. It was a powerful mixture of cold fear and raw courage, and I believe, a deep sense of their prospects for coming back alive. The night before in my hotel room, I’d been reading about the landings of American Infantry at Omaha Beach in Steven Ambrose’s D-Day, marveling at the unalloyed courage of these young soldiers. More than fifty years had passed, and I was seeing firsthand the same faces, the same courage in these firemen.


Written by Michael Graves, from here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/jennifer ... 1985049289


******

No doubt the police officers and Port Authority officers had the same grim determination on their faces as they went toward the danger instead of away from it.

I remember where I was, of course, as do all of you, I'm sure. I was on my way to my friend's house to see her new baby. Katie was 5 (almost 6), and Sarah was 2. When my mom met me at my house (we were riding together), she said, "Something terrible has happened in NYC. A plane crashed into one of the World Trade Towers."

We drove to my friend's house and turned on the TV. We admired the newborn baby girl and watched the carnage unfold--the second plane hitting the tower, people jumping to their deaths, the towers collapsing. We watched in horror and mostly silence. With tears. And we kissed that baby's wee hands and toes and watched our toddlers play with dolls. I kept hustling Katie out of the room, though. She was old enough to understand that those were people falling from the sky. She says she remembers that day, remembers me yelling at her to leave the room and not look at the TV. I knew the tower was going to collapse as it started to happen.

I drove home shortly after that and crawled into bed with Craig. He worked midnights then, so he was asleep. I woke him up to tell him the terrible news. Later that day, with our nerves already frayed beyond reason, we all became panic-stricken when a terrific boom shook our houses and the sky. There was a plane that had been hijacked over Cleveland. Was this it? (Obviously, we found out later that that plane was the one that had crashed in Pennsylvania.) After some time, we saw some smoke rising on the horizon. Was it another attack? We live close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I could see it being a target.

We found out much later that it was an F-16 creating a sonic boom as it cleared the air space for Air Force One to come through. The smoke? I think it was a fire at a dump or plant or something. Completely unrelated.

I spent that day on the phone with friends and watching TV, all the while trying to keep Katie from hearing or seeing. I explained to her what was going on in general terms, of course.

One of the beautiful stories that came out of that time was the hospitality of that town in Canada where so many planes were stranded. Thank you guys for being there when we needed it. :hug:

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Last edited by Riverthalos on Sun 11 Sep , 2011 10:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: The Hippo Lounge
PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep , 2011 8:44 pm 
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I overslept that morning. If I'd waken up on time, I'd've been awake when the planes hit. I might have even read about it on Yahoo. But I overslept, so instead of checking the news I threw some clothes on, shoveled down some breakfast, and hurried off to Molecular Biology.

According to my lecture notes, we talked about some basic points of DNA replication. It also looks like I missed some bits as I later added to those notes with a different color ink (I have a rocky relationship with pens). Interestingly enough, what I learned in class that day was stuff I use routinely. In fact, I use it so routinely that I don't even remember learning it...so maybe going through my old notebooks this morning was a good idea.

At no point in that lecture did the prof hint that the world outside was changing. None of my classmates seemed overly fussed about current events either. Had none of us checked the news? Or were the facts of the situation just so unclear we hadn't bothered getting scared yet?

While I was sitting down in my seat at the beginning of that lecture, another plane hit the Pentagon. By the time I left class, both towers had collapsed and Flight 93 had crashed after the passengers decided that if they were going to die anyway, they would rather not take anyone else with them, thank you all the same. As I walked out of the building, I heard one student say to another, "Did you hear about the plane that hit the World Trade Center? I don't think it was an accident." I remember, as I walked by, thinking, "Yeah, that doesn't sound like an accident." But I thought it was a Cessna. I thought it was a suicide.

Well, I was half-right. I guess.

Anyway, I got back to my room and checked my e-mail. My prof for my afternoon class had declared class canceled "due to the events of this morning."

What events?

Then another e-mail, announcing all classes were cancelled for the day.

WTF? This was a university that never cancelled class for any reason. The year before I started college, Rochester got hit witha blizzard so severe teh National Guard got called in to assist. The UR remained in session. But they'd cancelled class...so I logged on to Yahoo.

I think you know what I saw.

My first worry was for my sister. She was living in a NYU dorm in Chinatown. After establishing taht Chinatown was distressingly close to the towers, I went to the NYU website to find her phone number. Instead, I found an announcement that all students living within a certain radius of the WTC had been evacuated and all were present and accounted for. That eased my mind about her so I moved on to trying to understand what happened. I spent the rest of the day watching the whole thing replay on CNN. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, but ater the news came, it seemed dark.

The campus as a whole was, of course, shell-shocked. Lots of students were from NYC or DC. And the whole thing looked like something that Hollywood might put in a summer blockbuster. But it was real. Oh yes, it was real. And by the end of the day, flags were appearing all over the place, including hanging off the wall of a new building on campus. I'm not sure when the Rochester Fire Department stopped flying flags on its trucks; when I left in 2003 they were still doing it, but they started doing that on Sept. 11, 2001.

One month later, in a show of defiance, my father and brother flew out from Seattle to visit me and partake in the unviersity's 150th anniversary celebrations. The theme for the even was Freedom. That theme had been chosen a year before, but, given the mood of the country, it seemed especially apt. Fareed Zakaria spoke about how there was a right and wrong way to handle our invasion of Aghanistan and he outlined what he thought would be the right way and how doing ti the right way would be great for us but how doing it the wrong way would lead to dire consequences in terms of our credibility in the Muslim world. Well, in the ten years since we've pretty much marched along what he described as the wrong course and the results have been about what he predicted so Zakaria now has a place of honor on my list of People Who Are Worth Listening To.

On a less political note, I was in the orchestra that year and on the program was the William Tell Overture. We did not have time to rehearse it before the dress rehearsal so the conductor was going to strike it. The principal cellist sent out a mass e-mail stating something to the effect of, "Guys, we've all played this before. We know the parts. We know how it's supposed to work. We have to play this." She was right, of course - if you're at a level where you can play in a college amateur orchestra and you've never played the William Tell before, you've been living under a rock. Or you're a complete charlatan. So all us string players boned up on our ricochet bowing, the other sections did what they needed to do, and we knocked the conductor's socks off at the dress rehearsal and brought the house down at the concert. It felt good. Defiant, even.

Two months after the attack, I went to see my sis in NYC. My dad was there too. L still didn't have reliable communications, be it my internet, landline, or cellphone. No one in Manhattan did; the equipment had been on top of the towers. They'd pulled back the barricades so we were able to get within a block of Ground Zero but there were still Hummers and other military vehicles all over Lower Manhattan. I saw recovery workers entering St. Paul's, where they were camping out. I'd never seen such exhausted people before and never have since. I saw a building with a side blown out, the metal girders twisting in the sky like iron entrails. In a shop window, all the shoes were a strange silvery grey. I thought it was the fashion and then I realized that no, it was the dust. On a fence by St. Paul's, an impromptu memorial stood, covered in flowers, flyers, and cards from all over the country and the world. The one I remember best was from a first grade class in New Zealand: "Dear Americans, We're very sorry." But the one thing that will never leave me from that trip was the smell. I doubt we were at that site for more than an hour, but the smell hit from a couple blocks away and I'll never forget it. I'd never smelled it before and never have since. I can only describe it as burned metal and death.

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 Post subject: Re: The Hippo Lounge
PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep , 2011 8:51 pm 
Aspiring to heresy
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I'll compose my thoughts while I go for a walk, but I wonder if this would be worth splitting into a thread of its own? (with Lali's and River's permission, of course)

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PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep , 2011 12:04 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/user/storycorps

The latest few videos from this channel are, to me, more stirring than any number of speeches or remembrances or services or moments of silence.

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep , 2011 1:36 am 
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I'm sooooo slow in posting my thoughts. Oh well.

What I remember is rumours of things that never came to be. At the time, we had graphic footage of the World Trade Centre attack and aftermath, a confirmed report of an attack on the Pentagon, a possible report of a downed plane somewhere in the wild (okay, that one turned out to be true), another report of a hijacked plane in the Yukon (I remember this, but seemingly no one else does - I think it turned out to not be true. And who would attack the Yukon anyway?).

The point is, in those first few hours before we knew exactly the three attacks that occurred, there was this tremendous uncertainty: what's next?

There was an unauthorized truck parked on Parliament Hill in Ottawa - apparently it had been there for three days, and no one bothered to check it out. Suddenly, it was a big deal! Actually, it turned out to be another false alarm.

Parliament Hill is closed to traffic now. I can remember one winter night, pre-2001, on the spur of the moment driving up with some friends to admire the beautiful Christmas lights they put up every year. You can't do that now. In fact, I remember, going back years and years when I was just a boy, attending some function at the Hill presided over by then-Prime Minister Trudeau. I have no idea what the occasion was, but when he had finished his spiel, he walked through the crowd, shaking hands and high-fiving people. My mom's friend said, even at the time, "There are only a few places in the world where the leader can walk through a crowd like that", and I remember thinking "why is that?"

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep , 2011 2:14 am 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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I experienced something like that, too. I can remember taking the girls to downtown Cleveland at Christmastime. I wanted to take them to the top of the Terminal Tower, a beautiful, old skyscraper that holds a lot of nostalgic memories for me. It's no longer the tallest skyscraper in Cleveland, but it's the most beautiful. And you used to be able to take the elevator up to the top and get an amazing view of the city and the Lake. But, after 9/11, they stopped doing that. As far as I know, they never reopened it either. (We tried again a few years later.)

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