Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever in our hearts and minds

It was an absolutely gorgeous Tuesday morning. Try to imagine a perfect day in your mind, and that was it. I was working for the Kraft Pizza Company; running my usual route in my truck driving on Rt 206 South in Hillsborough, NJ en route to the Shop Rite of Montgomery. Howard Stern was on the truck's radio, the first of a trio of daily radio shows I listened to, with the Radio Chick and Opie & Anthony to follow, respectively.
Howard was talking about Anna Nicole Smith when news came in that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Thinking it was some sort of errant bi-plane and as yet unconfirmed, it was quickly dismissed in favor of resuming the talk about the blonde with the big boobs.
Shortly thereafter, the news came in that a second plane hit the towers and Howard immediately said, "We're under attack."
It wasn't very long after that that the towers that dominated the NY skyline for 30 of my 38 years collapsed, forever to be a memory.
It was at that point that I started to feel a sense of being violated that quickly turned into anger and sorrow. I didn't know anyone at the towers, nor did I know anyone (closely) that lost someone there. Nevertheless, I felt that sense of violation that you feel when your car or home gets broken into, but obviously on a much grander scale. EVERYONE in the country knows this feeling. A feeling of helplessness and ensuing fantasies of hurting those responsible.
In the weeks that followed, we experienced an unprecedented (in modern times) sense of solidarity and patriotism. Any civil unrest based in race, religion, or politics was put on hold. It was US against them. There were no sides within our borders (save for the ignorance-based backlash towards anyone from the Middle East). The accessories common among everyone were American flags and FDNY hats and shirts.
As was to be expected, the car flags soon tattered and were not replaced. The FDNY hats once again became exclusive to very few other than actual fire fighters.
This is of little relevance. What matters is that most of us hold in our hearts and minds the true sense of unity and loss of that day. 2,977 deaths in 102 minutes. 9/11/01.
Never forget.

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