Tuesday, September 12, 2006

5 Years & 1 Day

and where are we?

there are still close to 3,000 people dead. military men & women stationed overseas putting their lives on the line each and every day. attacks on u.s. embassies across the world. and the man responsible for most of the things mentioned above still not found. oh, and most of the same administration running the united states directly into the ground.

on september 11, 2001, at exactly 8:59 am i was awoken out of bed by a friend in minneapolis. after a groggy 'hello' came out of my mouth i heard, 'please tell me your father did not have a meeting at the world trade center this morning.' after three seconds passed and i realized who was on the other line and what she was asking me i responded with, 'i don't know. why?' 'a plane has crashed into one of the towers at the world trade center. were you asleep? go turn on your tv.' i stumbled from my bedroom to the living room and did as my friend told me. as the tv turned on and the picture came into focus i witnessed a second plane hit the second tower. 'oh my god.' 'what? what?' 'a second plane hit the other tower. i have to go.'

i frantically tried to remember the number to my father's office. a shaky voice on the other end answered. 'malcom, it's me. is everyone ok? where's my dad?' 'we're ok, but...' and the phone line went dead on the other end.

phone calls started coming into my apartment. friends and family from all over the country asking if i had made contact with my friends and relatives in nyc. i was living in atlanta attending grad school at the time. friends from school began randomly showing up at my doorstep, bringing with them food and asking what they could do. what could any of us do but sit back and watch the latest developments on a 24-inch screen? getting in my car and making the 16-hour drive back home did cross my mind. but what good would that have done? all i could do was sit back and watch my home be attacked on this 24-inch screen. and also wait for the phone to ring and hopefully hear the voices of my loved ones on the other end telling me they were ok.

every time the phone rang silence fell over the 15 or 20 people who occupied my apartment. people sitting on the couch. people sitting on the floor. all focused on one thing. that 24-inch screen with live pictures from lower manhattan. this scene reminded me of the scene that often happens when an italian family loses a family member. (something else i have experienced more than once.) numerous people flooding an area bringing with them food, support and of course, hope.

unfortunately, i had to leave that bubble later that night to go to work. no one will be out drinking and eating tonight. at least that is what i thought as i entered the bar i worked at and saw not a seat was to be had. drink your sorrows away...the good ole-fashioned way.

all of the bar's patrons and my co-workers knew where i called home. and therefore, my somber mood was tolerated and understood, but just for this one evening. being released early and still making a decent amount of $ in tips for the night are all i can remember from that specific shift. and walking into my apartment to a ringing phone. 'it's me. i'm ok.' i didn't know whether to cry or laugh out of the nervous energy i felt upon hearing my father's voice on the other end of that line.

and there it is, my tuesday, september 11, 2001.

fortunately for me, i do not know anyone who lost their life that day. i do though know someone who was in one of the elevators on her way to the top floors when the first plane hit. she is burned over 75% of her body and will never be the same person she once was. and i have a cousin who was pulled into a store front by a complete stranger as the first tower went down and was trapped under the debris of the second tower in that same store front for hours afterwards.

and even though it is 5 years later and my life is considerably different than it was on that day, i can still remember it like it was yesterday. and even though i am considerably different as an individual, i wonder just how different we are as a country.
we are still emotionally recovering. the country is still being attacked around the world. we are still living in fear on a daily basis yet still going on with our lives. and a large hole still stands where the world trade center once stood.

so even though today is september 12, 2006 one can easily close his or her eyes and mistake today for september 12,2001.


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