Monday, August 15, 2005

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

i will be the first to admit that i am not one to read the newspaper or watch the evening news. my feelings on this is that there is enough bad news and problems in the world that i do not need to be reminded or given visual recounts while lying vertical on my couch. from the few snippets i was able to catch while on the precore machine at the gym last week, it is my understanding that the tapes from 9/11 were released last week. why? why? why?

it is a proven fact, and i am sure many will agree, that september 11th was the worst attack the united states has ever experienced, especially since it was on our own soil. the terrorist plans did not go 100% according to plan and the death toll numbers could have been a lot higher. but, all in all, it was still a devastating day.

even though it was almost 4 years ago, i remember almost every minute of that horrible, horrible day. i was back in school and the furthest away from home i had ever been. home being nyc. my class that morning had been canceled, and after my teacher called to tell me that, i went back to sleep. the phone rang again and it was my friend from minnesota. all i heard after saying 'hello' was, 'please tell me your dad did not have a meeting in the world trade center this morning.' still half asleep, i asked why. she instructed me to turn on my tv and as the picture on my screen came up, the second plane struck the second tower. i remember say, 'a second plane hit the other tower. i have to go.' i hung up the phone and called my father's office immediately. his assistant answered and was already crying. in mid-sentence, the phone cut out and i was unable to know of my dad's whereabouts.

my phone, along with call waiting, began to ring nonstop. cousins from all over the country asking me where my dad was and if i had spoken to him. my dad worked blocks away from the trade center and had meetings in those buildings often. i frantically began trying to contact any family member i could in ny. with each unsuccessful attempt, i became more and more upset. fellow classmates and friends slowly began to occupy my apartment bringing with them food and support knowing i was from nyc.

for the first time in my life, i felt completely helpless. i began to run down the list of everyone i knew who worked in the city, in or around the trade center. my first reaction was to jump in my car and drive the 14 hour drive it would have taken me to get home. my family and friends were there and i needed to make sure they were all accounted for. it was pointed out to me that i probably would not have gotten very far, considering that the island of manhattan was closed. and i would have had to go through d.c. as well. my friend in minneapolis summed it up perfectly, i was watching my hometown being attacked on tv and there was nothing i could about it.

after a few extremely long hours, my father called to inform me that he was ok. he in fact took the day off and was down the jersey shore with my grandparents. but, he did see the towers fall to the ground from the jersey side as he made his way back home. to this day, he still feels an incredible amount of guilt that he was not there to support his staff and assist in everyone leaving the building and finding safety.

although my classes were suspended for the day and the city was shut down, i still had to go to my waitering job that evening. i thought to myself 'who the hell is going to be out tonight?' i could not have been more wrong. the place was packed as people drank their sorrows away. many patrons knew nyc was my home and asked how i was. at that point, my dad was accounted for, but there were many friends and one person i knew of who worked on the upper floors who were not accounted for. i will never forget when one co-worker asked, 'what's with the sad face and attitude you have tonight?' i actually asked if he was kidding. i remember the silence that fell upon the entire restaurant and bar as the leader of our country addressed the nation. people stood and applauded as george w. swore we'd catch those responsible and bring them o justice.

well, it is almost 4 years after the fact. and what do we have to show for it? a huge, gapping hole in the lower section of manhattan. families (still) mouring the loss of sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, friends and relatives. over 3,000 innocent people lost trying to carry on their lives. soldiers lost trying to defend our freedom. increasing oil and gas prices. attacks happening in other parts of the world. tapes promising even more destructive attacks in our future. the leader responsible for all of this still at large. our leader taking vacation and trying to discriminate against people within his own country. and the release of tapes from that horrible day.

fortunately for me, i did not lose anyone to those attacks. i do know a survivor who was on her way up to her office on one of the top floors. she made her way out of the elevator and down 80+ flights of stairs on fire. she never again saw the people in the elevator with her or her coworkers who were all lost and she will never be the same person again. i also have a cousin who was pulled into a storefront as the towers crumbled and she escaped being under the wreckage. and i have a father, who because of his job, was down in the rubble on september 12th. and to this day refuses to discuss what he saw.

of course, we should always remember what happened that day. it is now a part of this country's history. remember the victims. remember who and what they were. but, do we really need to hear the fear and terror in their voices on record as they tried to escape? is that really the memory those in possession of the tapes want families to have? for me, what i saw on my television screen was enough. and being without a father for 4 hours was enough.

it has taken almost 4 years, but the public and hollywood is letting mr. george w. know how we, as a country and as seperate communities, feel. the final season of 'queer as folk' did a great job informing the current a$$hole in charge what we think of his discriminatory acts against gays. and last nights episode of 'six feet under' did a wonderful job giving a viewpoint on the current, and pointless war taking place in the mideast. in my opinion, both great ways for two shows to go out with a bang and give george w. the big middle finger in his face that the rest of us cannot give.


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