Riveted to the TV, I remember watching to the live feed while conjecture of possible bomb plots, accidental plane crashes, and/or gas explosions were given as to the cause of the thick plumes of smoke. I remember Matt Lauer stopped talking, even for just a moment, as the second plane crossed across the scene and dove into the South Tower. 17 minutes after the first explosions, there was momentary panic and pandemoneum as the playback showed that it was indeed a plane that had purposefully flown right into the side of a building filled with people. Survivors? Maybe on their way out? Rescue crews? Already working to save and organize those who were trying to move away from the carnage. Who could do such a thing? And then that's when it was pointed out, the obvious, this was terrorism. I couldn't believe what I was watching. It felt like that part of the world quit moving while all the focus was what was going to happen to those towers, but the world was still moving in Nevada; in my little house on Jazzy June, at Silverado High School in Las Vegas and I had to get to work.
I remember, six years ago, getting in my car and trying to tune into an AM station that would have the news. 94.1 FM was all pop and talk, so surely the more conscientious AM stations would be having some reports. Nadda. I got to the school and headed to the teachers' mailroom and asked some of my coworkers if they had heard anything. None of the five or six I talked to had even heard anything about it. Semi-disgusted with their ignorance I headed to my classroom to turn on the TV for some updated news. When my 1st period of seniors came into my room, it was hard to turn the TV off . . . so I didn't. In fact, I asked some of the boys to help me rig a better antanae out of paper clips so we could listen to the news unfold. I think Tom Brokaw had taken over the broadcasting and I was half-heartedly trying to work through our daily agenda. That's when the towers began to collapse. I still remember standing at my desk looking to the front of the room, with my mouth open, and thinking, "Oh no, no, no."
I kept thinking, "Dialogue about this with the kids." But who had any kind of answers? The media was making all kinds of guesses and were reporting other plane crashes around the country. By the time my 2nd period class came in, there was a somber ambiance as the kids were finally understanding the magnitude of what they had been watching. I guess word had spread and I wasn' the only one showing the news in my classroom. There was a gal, Jessica, in the 2nd period class that had just moved from back east at the beginning of the year. She was a wreck as soon as they announced the Pentagon had been attacked because that's where he worked and she couldn't get a hold of him on his phone. (He was fine, luckily.) Really? This was going to touch clear across the country? By the time the second tower fell, I knew the reports were going to turn morbid, so I made the kids write down their impressions, right there, that minute, right in the thick of that turn in our existence.
But I haven't written about it. When the final numbers were reported, 2974 killed, I immediately empathized with those wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings, etc. who had lost their loved ones. The rescue workers who sacrificed their well-being for others particularly touched me . . . still do.
I think about the catastrophe of 9/11 and it still makes me sad. I remember the ensuing politcal debates, the investigations, and the anti-terrorism fervor. It makes me sad to think there could be a mom or a dad that would teach children to hate other people, so that when those children grow up they'd be willing to kill so many guiltless people. Six years later, when volunteers are fighting for medical care to deal with the aftermath of days and nights spent in the muck of the twin towers, it doesn't feel like we're any safer, any wiser, or any more focused. Fighting a war spurned by the events of 9/11? It doesn't make sense to me. None. Killing for killing? It doesn't make me feel any more settled than I did that morning six years ago.
Have we relegated 9/11 to an Oprah special and small memorials? It doesn't make sense how so many of us, myself included, "remember" but stay out of affecting change. Sigh. So, where were you six years ago? Are you still affected? Do you remember? I want to be a better person and nation to really honor the memory of those who were lost. Can we do it?