For most of us, five years ago today represents the first time in our lives where some can ask you where you were when [insert moment in history] happened. For our parents, that would be JFKs asssination. I don't remember the day the Berlin Wall came down & my recollection of Challenger is solely from text books. For us, that moment in time is watching the towers. Its only been within the past five years that I met most of you for the first time, moved over half a dozen times, attended two colleges & completely shifted my political ethos. And I would say most of that is due to the perceived lack of security I felt living in the DC area immediately following the attacks.
For nothing more than posterity, & it may even be emotionally cathartic, I am going to write a little note about where I was five years ago today and hope that others would do the same.David Cox
-- I was in College Park, MD (about 8 miles from DC) that morning getting ready for class then my afternoon internship on Capitol Hill. I remember sitting in my fraternity house bedroom, my eyes welling, as I watched CNN for three days. It took about 6 hours for my parents to finally get through because of the rush of cell phone calls nationwide. For the next few days, fighter jets were flying so low over the DC Metro area, you could see and feel them. The first day DC airports opened back up, I was on a flight home, fully contagious with mono and terrified of the unknown.The chain reaction of evil--wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. -- Dr Martin Luther King Clinton Yates
- I had been in Oxford for no more than two weeks. I had just left DC for the first time in a year, and before that I lived on 5th avenue & 10th streets in downtown New York while going to NYU. I still had tons of friends there that I talked to, not to mention all kinds of family, in NYC and DC.
When I first heard the news it was relayed to me in my CSA 101 - Webmaking (whatever you get the idea), when the 'I'm the dumbass loud sorority girl who comes in talking loud on her cell phone about [insert random idiotic MTV show] here every morning to class with her venti coffee. We were a couple classes in, and she had already pissed every off to the point that everyone just completely ignored her all the time.
This particular day she came in going nuts (but still in the OMG MTV style tone) talking about 'um..someoneo is shooting at the towers! I think our country is at war!'. Which everyone immediately dismissed as 'wow..she's still really drunk.'
Then when everyone sat down and logged on to their computers..things changed. I remember going straight to washingtonpost.com as I day everyday, and seeing the first burning tower. I just got up and walked straight out of the room. I was so shell shocked when I got back to my dorm, that I couldn't even turn on the TV.
When I did, I might have cried until the sun went down. Seriously. Between talking to my dad/parents, and trying to figure out if any of my friends were dead, I couldn't deal with it.
I also wasn't ready for the hardcore 'fuck those sand niggas' reaction from the Miami Campus. I wasn't used to that level of all-out Americanism so to speak until right then. That day, as Cox said completely shifted my political paradigm, and I instantly decided that I didn't give a shit about any other country in the world.
The next thursday (I guess two thursdays after), I sat down and banged out 1300 words about how the kickoff of that year's first home Miami football game (I was in the booth for student radio) brought me back to a sense of normalcy that made me proud. It was the first time I'd ever written anything, and the editor of the High Street Journal printed it word for word, and I apparently thus became a sports writer.
9/11 still scares the shit out of me everytime I think about it, and it turned me into a sportswriter. my dad saved the front pages of the USA Today, Washington Post, and Baltimore sun from the 12th, and the headline from the sun still gives me chills.
In big ass black letters with the towers burning below it said simply 'Infamy'.
sidenote: I'll try to get a copy of that column to post, if for no other reason than to round out this discussion. good call on starting this post moyer.Andrew Labovitz
- That Tuesday morning started way to early for me. It was our first Tuesday of classes, and I didn't have one until 11:00 that morning. Nevertheless, I was woken up by a phone call from my mother shortly after 8:50 in the morning. "Mom, what the fuck, I don't have class for another two hours!"
"Anj, someone just flew a plane into one of the World Trade Center buildings..."
At that point, somewhat regrettably, I said one of the more spiteful things I've ever said, as the second Intifada had just begun a month before, "It's the fucking Palestinians!" I was convinced.
And so, my mother and I sat on the phone together and watched live as the second plane hit a few minutes later, at which time I had the kneejerk reaction to run around the rest of the frat and wake up everybody, most importantly my New York brethren. I was the first in the house to know what happened that morning, and being the messenger was one of the most trying things that I've done in my life. A bunch of guys came into my room and watched the towers fall, and then I trudged off to my 11:00 class. Of course, I barely got out of the house before other guys came back with the word that classes had been canceled for the day. And so, the rest of that day was filled with 30 morose guys collectively smoking more pot than you can possibly imagine being consumed. It was the only thing we could think of doing.
Admittedly, that day didn't mean as much to me then as maybe it should have. At that time, I'd never been to Manhattan, never saw the towers in person, and even though I'd spent a lot of time in DC, I couldn't get my head around the magnitude of what the country was experiencing. Now, after spending living in DC last year before moving up to NYC, I have developed a much broader understanding about both the literal and symbolic meanings of that day. Unfortunately, I believe that the memory of that day has been horribly abused by our current government, but that's really a rant for a different time. As I live now just a few blocks north from where the towers would have stood, and I have a great view of the memorial lights that shoot seemingly all the way up to the heavens, I am constantly reminded of how that day forever changed all of our lives.