Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years Plus One Day

Wow, I readed so many of the blogs yesterday with the nice stories about so many who died five years ago. That was way before I was borned. So I asked mum about what this was like for her way back then.

Like for all the day was a total shock. I had just arrived at work and was heading to the cafeteria to get ice water for the morning and I overheard someone say a place had crashed into one of the Towers. Well, I figured a small general aviation plane, or a commerical plane that had serious flight issues. By the time I got back to my desk, the second plane had hit. You knew this wasn't an accident.

I worked with a team in accounts recievable and we decided that it did not make sense to try to call any customers. Our focus and theirs would not have been in the right place. Plus you never know if the person you might get on the phone might be personally connected to the incident. We tried to do paperwork and follow the news.

My personal worries were several friends. I know several people who worked for United, and another whose work sometimes took him to the Pentagon. So not knowing was the biggest issue.

Plus I never seemed to get the whole story at one time so it was confusing. Things were happening so fast that you didn't get the flow of events, just bits and pieces, not always in the correct order. They moved a big TV into the cafeteria. I watched a little bit while I ate some lunch. Still confusing, heart wrenching and painful to watch. Tears were easy to shed.

After work I had an appointment to get my hair cut. Somehow I managed to drive there, tears flowing at the continuing reports on the radio. Then I hurried home. First check, e-mail, my friends who worked for United. The subject line was "NOT FLYING TODAY". Whew. Then I called my friend about her husband, he was home sitting next to her on the couch. Not in Washington DC that week. Double Whew.

Then I could sit down at 7 PM and watch Brian Williams on MSNBC. I normally watched this for my national news, I never get home in time for the usual nightly news. Finally I got the story, start to where it was at that time. While the event timeline now made sense, the why didn't. Maybe it never will. My Dad probably said it best, how could someone hate so much to do something like this. I still don't understand the hate.

I didn't watch much of the TV shows over the last few days. The only one I watched was one of the going forward with the site on PBS last night.

As for making it a holiday, no work, school, shopping. If it would really happen it would be great. But our holidays in the US seem to become long weekend, with more party than reflection.

I think election day should be a holiday and the day after. No work or school. Some communities have a hard time staffing voting places or have rather aged staff in some cases. With no work you could get more voluteers to staff the polling places. Plus, with so much time, people would not have the excuse to say they didn't have time to go and vote. Not having kids in school, take the kids to the polls. Plus let them stay up and see the votes counted and the results. Show the kids how we keep our country and democracy going.

OK, jump off soapbox. Back to our regular blogger tomorrow.


  1. Derby's mom, our mommy agrees wif you 'bout 'lection day. she says that when she was in grade school, the schools were closed on 'lection day, and the bars did not open until after the polls closed. she also says that veterans day was more than a day for sales at the store, it was a day to actually 'amember the men and women who gave their lives for our country. we are glad we is cats - there's too much sadness that peoples has. we just like to give cuddles and purrs and gets cuddles and kissies.

  2. William's mom here--I work for a community bank and while many bigger banks in the area closed that day (Bank of America, for instance), it was decided to stay open to prevent panicking our customers. Nevertheless, it was very hard to get through the day, and many, many people in town just went home anyway. The streets were absolutely empty.

    Albuquerque has many places that could pose as ripe targets. The FAA for the western US is located here; there’s Kirtland AFB, Sandia Labs, and munitions buried in the Sandia mountains, to list a few. Concrete jersey barriers went up everywhere.

    My closest friends were in different states, one just having moved and the other left behind when I moved back to NM. My sister and brother-in-law both work for Continental and are based out of NJ, and I remember seeing on the TV we'd set up in the conference room that the fourth plane (the one that eventually crashed in PA) was not only unaccounted for but it was not clear whose plane it was. As it turned out, they were safe but stranded in different cities when air traffic was halted.

    It seems so surreal even now--I saw fighter jets overhead when I went home for lunch (presumably to escort Air Force One en route to Nebraska or North Dakota, I forget which, since the president didn’t head back to DC right away), and I stayed up until after 2 a.m. looking for a video clip I thought at that point I had hallucinated. In fact, I was terrified to go to sleep and at that point I was flipping through the channels and had seen on a Spanish broadcast station the brief video the firefighters made by happenstance of the first plane. All I could think at the time was, "How could they have known to be there to film that?" Nothing made any sense.

    I wish there could be sense made of it, but even the passage of time hasn't helped. Your father is right. Needless to say I’ve gotten more sleep since, but still it is so monumentally baffling. The only thing I’ve watched on TV since was some PBS show on why the Towers fell, but I couldn’t even watch the full clip of that new Oliver Stone movie without sobbing. I can’t see any of that-–or even some hint of it–-without flying apart.

    Thanks for the space. William will return next!

  3. You know, I used to go to great lengths to celebrate all the holidays. Now I don't. It seems that everything has become about sales and shopping and what's "expected of you". The advertising implies that holiday gifts are a requirement, that if you don't shower a "Valentine" with appropriate gifts you're a loser, if you don't have certain foods and stuff yourself with them on Thanksgiving you have no sense of family, etc. You're absolutely right - election day should be all about the right to vote AND THAT'S IT. Kids should learn the process and be able to see that it's a serious matter. Days of remembrance should mean that that's all you do - no great sales, BBQ's, parties, etc. I'm really sad about how the meaning has been sucked out of so many things.


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