Friday, September 11, 2009

Never forget.

I was getting out of an 8am class. I had been in Oneonta, NY (4 hours from NYC) for only two weeks. I had never lived on my own, and was just barely getting used to being thousands of miles away from home.

I remember coming out of class, and I quite clearly remember a girl passing by me talking to her friend. I heard her say something like "someone just bombed the World Trade Center!" but I dismissed it as rumor, or it just didn't connect to my brain in the least.

I walked to my room, my mind on something else entirely. I'm sure people were running around me in a panic, but I honestly don't remember seeing any of it.

I went into my room, where my roommate Stacey was watching some music show on TV. I said hi and sat down at my desk and opened my computer. About ten seconds later someone starts banging on the door calling for Stacey. I open the door and Stacey's friends comes barging in, babbling about turning on the news, grabbing the remote off of Stacey's bed and turning on CNN.

A tower burning.

"A plane crashed into the World Trade Center"

"Holy shit!"

And we watched in silence, wondering what the hell was going on. An accident? What had happened?

And then, as we watched the anchor standing with the WTC in the background, a tiny black speck ran into the other tower. An explosion.

"What the hell was THAT?"

Stacey in a panicked voice. We froze, as the anchor turned behind her.

"Oh, God. Oh, God."

I remember sinking into my bed as the anchor struggled to hold her panicked face together, as she announced that another plane had crashed. As people started figuring out that it wasn't an accident.

I froze. I put my hand to my mouth and watched, wide-eyed. Not understanding. Terrified.

And then I ran for my phone, and scrambled around my desk, trying to find my calling card, as Stacey and her friend sobbed on their beds, as we all wondered who around us knew people in New York City. Just about everyone.

I couldn't get a line. I was shaking. I remember that. Shaking. Feeling cold and unbelieving. The phone rang, my mom was in a complete panic. In the fear of the moment "New York" included me. I told her we were waiting, to see what would happen.

Classes were canceled. The rest of the day is so confusing, so terrifying in my memory. The towers collapsing. I could hear screaming from the other rooms. I went out at one point and people were collapsed in the halls, sobbing. My other friends and I (none of us Americans) sat together, holding hands and staring at each other in terror. I remember praying with my friend. Watching helplessly as our NYC friends sobbed into phones, contacting their families. All of us wishing desperately that we were home. We never felt that alone again. So terrified.

I don't like remembering this. Hell, who does? But we have to. We have to remember. And we need to share our stories. It's 8 years later, but I still remember the panic, the sadness, the complete and utter horror of it.

We'll never forget. I can't believe how much it still hurts to remember. Christ, all those people.

I'll stop now. The keyboard's getting too blurry.


Sin said...

weird, huh, how we had both been in this country just a little less than a was a huge shock. you know what else i remember about that day that is messed up? When someone told me what happened, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was and had to ask. Strange how everything you knew suddenly changes, and it's funny how I can barely remember what I did last weekend, but I will never forget where I was or what I did that day.

Deistbrawler said...

You know I was doing an interview with my grandmother for a sociology paper and she's lived from the Great Depression to now. She's gone from the Depression, WWII (she was a Rosie the Riveter), Korean War, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of JFK (she actually knew Ruby) and MLK Jr. The list continues. She said that the single worst moment she remembers in her life was the World Trade Centers.

As for being oblivious. I was waiting for my Political Science class to start when someone came in and told us a bomb had blown up in the World Trade Center, the teacher hesitated and then dismissed class. I went straight for the student center where they were watching it on the big screen. I watched the second plane hit and then went straight to a friends house (a very political family). Naturally they were all sitting around the TV. We sat there for about an hour before I asked him if he'd heard from our friend John. John lived next door so we ran over there and knocked on his bedroom door. It took forever but he finally opened it and yelled at us, "What!" We stared at him and then David said, "Two planes have flown into the World Trade Centers, its a terrorist attack." John looked at him and went "Shut the fuck up" and shut the door in our face. We walked in as he was laying back down in bed and put the TV on CNN. He looked up and went "Holy Shit." Watching them collapse was by far the worst part though.