“Hemingway and James Joyce were drinking buddies in Paris. Joyce was thin and bespectacled; Hemingway was tall and strapping. When they went out Joyce would get drunk, pick a fight with a bigger guy in the bar and then hide behind Hemingway and yell, “Deal with him, Hemingway. Deal with him.””—
Today, as is my habit on September 11, I’m taking a momentary break in my usual lighthearted and sarcastic comments, gif sets and general mayhem here on Tumblr to take a moment to reflect on the tragic events of September 11, 2001. I don’t think that there’s anyone who was alive at that time who could possibly forget what happened that day. The tragic loss of life, the bravery, the miracles, the fear, the sadness and the uncertainty. In one day, in just a few moments really, our world changed forever.
Almost universally on this day people turn to one another and ask “Where were you?” and “What were you doing?” There’s an almost undefinable need to share those stories - as though we have to remember that moment to fully realize that we actually lived that moment.
Where was I? I was in my bathroom, drying my hair and getting ready for work when the hubs (then fiancee) called to tell me something was happening in NYC. He was on his way to work and listening to the radio - he said “turn on CNN a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”
I quickly switched the television on but finding CNN wasn’t necessary. The news was on every channel. I watched in horror as the second plane crashed into tower 2.
My world was such a different place on the morning of September 11. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. My brain tried to make sense of the senseless and the only thing it would allow me to believe was that something had gone horribly wrong to allow two such horrific accidents. It wasn’t until I got to work and heard the news about the plane hitting the Pentagon that I was fully aware that this was not an accident, but an attack.
In some ways I can’t believe I was naive enough to think that, even after the second plane hit, it had to be some sort of bizarre accident - and in many ways I wish I were still that naive.
I get angry, I get frustrated, I have a tendency to be sarcastic, short tempered and occasionally intolerant of others but even I can’t even begin to understand the absolutely sick and twisted hate and intolerance that brings about such horrifying events. Even today, 13 years later, I still fail to comprehend what kind of twisted hate can give rise to such absolute destruction of innocent human life. Clearly, I wouldn’t want to be the type of person who could understand it.
It makes me sad that my nieces and nephews will never have the luxury of being that naive. Born in a post September 11 world they will always know that there are people out there who are pure evil and they will never be able to look at an event as “just an accident” without first processing through whether or not it was a terrorist attack.
It makes me sad to hear my sister tell of her struggle to explain to the kids what happened that day while still assuring them that they’re safe. How do we explain something that we can’t even hope to understand ourselves?
Every September 11 we stop, we remember how lucky we are to have what we have and how quickly it can all be ripped away - but for those of us who are lucky enough to wake up on September 12th? We carry forward.
Tomorrow is September 12 - and we will remember but we will go on. I will go to work and wish that I was at home because I’m tired and I need a vacation. I will complain about our politicians and the state of our economy because I can. I will put terrorist attacks at the back of my mind and I will focus on other, far more trivial things. My world will get back to its “new normal” and that’s okay - because that’s the only way we can win.