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cyberdad
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11 Sep 2022, 6:56 pm

For me watching it all unfold live on TV without any prior frame of reference was surreal. This was just before the internet/social media age when the concept of live steaming didn't really exist (except possibly for the LA riots or the OJ Simpson car chase where reporters were on the ground or filming from helicopters as events were happening).



ASPartOfMe
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11 Sep 2022, 8:03 pm

During September 2001 I was working for a very small computer repair company with under 10 employees. I was the programmer. We did have clients we modified a software package for. It was located 15 miles from what was to become ground zero.

They talk about that day as being a perfect day weatherwise. It really was. In America the Labor Day weekend the first weekend in September separates summer vacation season from the back to work, back to school season. The massive increase in traffic is noticeable. I remember thinking to myself that morning on my way to work all these people are probably wishing they were still on vacation.

Being the klutz I am my boss did not trust me with the keys to the office. I was waiting outside the door when another employee came in and started talking about watching streaming video. I thought that was an odd thing to say and asked him why he was talking about that, he said a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I immediately thought this was a terrorist attack because it was such a clear day, and I had figured we were due for a big attack of some sort because terrorism was happening worldwide and we are the most powerful country in the the world who had pissed people off. Apparently this is just another way I think differently then most people, everybody else was completely surprised and had little idea why this happened. I soon found out telling people I was shocked but not surprised for these reasons really pissed people off.

We had no TV but in the repair room they did have a radio and as we know things deteriorated quickly. That did not prevent one customer from picking up his computer at 11 AM. Hour after hour I heard the fire departments using our road to get from Long Island into the city. The internet news services were frozen. It saw my first picture of what had happened 15 miles away from the BBC website at around 1PM. My dad was in the hospital for precautionary reasons so after work I visited him, ate dinner at a diner and finally got home. 12 hours after the fact I finally saw the infamous 2nd plane video that most people had probably seen live and dozens of times since.

Murphy's law was in full effect. As It turned we had just installed a major modification for a client the day before. Let's just say it was not one of my better professional moments, ie lots of bugs. While most people were processing the events I was dealing with one angry boss and his client and working a lot of overtime.

I knew I wanted to visit the site. History had always happened either before my time or far far away. While this was not the history I wanted it was just a train ride away. And unlike most I did not have the time to deal with it when it first happened. September was too soon, I would just be in the way of people who really needed to be there. If I waited too long the site would be cleaned up, the rubble gone. In late October I made my visit. Being that I do express my emotions differently I had not really cried since I was a young boy, but I did expect to burst into tears. It did not work out that way. Even though it was a cool windy day it still smelled but life was starting to go on. A wedding was going on at a church down the block, at the site girls were having their pictures taken with the policemen. This place was already becoming a tourist trap even though the ruins were still smoldering. I had been down to the WTC a number of times including a week and half before so I knew the area I but this time It was very different as discombobulation not sadness is what I felt.

For months on end you would be stopped for a funeral procession once or twice a day. I live under a flight path for Kennedy airport so I got over the sound of planes frightening me relatively quickly. I remember walking in Manhattan and thinking I had better get a good look at that building it might not be there for very long. The start of 2002 seemed to be a turning point in recovering from whatever PTSD symptoms I had, the attack was now last year. When a digital clock strikes 9:11 it still gives me the heebee jeebies sometimes.

My brother emerged from a subway a block or so away when the second plane hit. I know two firemen who were half a block away when one of towers collapsed. They all survived fine. I know one of the people profiled in the movie World Trade Center. He was one of the people who rescued somebody way down in the rubble.

The cliché rang true for the fall of 2001 in the New York area. It certainly was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times in the sense the there was unity I had never seen before and seems today like it came from an alternate universe to the America of 2022. There was an intensity to every moment.


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MaxE
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12 Sep 2022, 5:53 am

I was a fairly new employee in the IT department of a financial services company. At the time, I falsely concluded that our management would want us not to become distracted by this occurrence and continue to work productively so I tried at first to continue to focus on my work.

When I think of 9/11 today though, I just don't think much about what happened that day but about everything that happened in the years since, which seems to me a bigger disaster than what bin Laden accomplished. Where I live, a lot of people are involved in the Military/Intelligence community, and for them 9/11 came as a rebirth after the relatively peaceful 90s. People came out of retirement to cash in on the sudden demand for new classified technology and the cleared personnel needed to develop it. The budget for this stuff had no limit and the US went from a healthy budget surplus to huge deficits in a decade. Also Guantanamo Bay and the USA PATRIOT Act.

Don't forget why the attack happened. Although my opinion of OBL is no more favorable than anybody else's here, the fact is that he planned this attack in reaction to what he believed was a blasphemous deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia before invading Iraq, which was a victory lap after winning the Cold War. So the mother of all unintended consequences.

9/11 was also a pretext for the subsequent invasion of Iraq by GWB. I only wish people could see the parallels between what the US did then in Iraq and what Russia is doing today in Ukraine.

Sad for many reasons.


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cyberdad
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12 Sep 2022, 6:07 am

MaxE wrote:
I only wish people could see the parallels between what the US did then in Iraq and what Russia is doing today in Ukraine.
Sad for many reasons.


​“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana



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12 Sep 2022, 6:55 am

It's my understanding that the DoD made a point of not drawing attention to the successful attack on the Pentagon because they believed it made them look bad, so we are surprisingly seldom reminded of it. I live within an hour's drive of the Pentagon yet when reminded of 9/11 I tend to think only of NYC.


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12 Sep 2022, 8:04 pm

I was in bed listening to the radio and an announcement came on about the towers, I got out of bed and turned the TV on.



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13 Sep 2022, 12:47 am

My wife and I were in bed that morning (we had just been married since that June), when my friend and Best Man at our wedding called to tell me to turn on the news, saying that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center. I got up, turned on the TV, and just stood there, transfixed as I watched the smoke gush out of the building. Finally, I pulled myself away to tell my wife. When she came out into the living room, we both saw the second plane crash into the second tower.


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Mona Pereth
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15 Sep 2022, 4:09 pm

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I had plans to go to a building located right near the World Trace Center, to pick up a $2000 check for my work on a computer science research project.

But, that morning, I felt extremely sleepy, so I went back to sleep and didn't wake up until around noon. I decided it would be best to pick up the check sometime later in the week.

Then I looked at my email and saw something about schools being closed for the rest of the day, because of "the tragic events of this morning."

So I turned on the radio to try to find out what was going on. At some point I also found some relevant news stories online.

Then my Internet connection went down for at least several hours, if I recall correctly. (Back then, I was using Earthlink via a telephone modem.)

Upon finding out what had happened that morning, I was very frightened, but not surprised. If anything, it seemed to me almost a miracle that the U.S.A. had not experienced more terrorist attacks.

For several months afterward, I worried about what the terrorists might strike next. NYC's bridges and tunnels? Our water supply? I rode the subway when I had to, but I felt very nervous about it.

The building where I had planned to pick up my check on 9/11 was one of the buildings that got damaged by debris from the WTC, and was closed indefinitely. If I recall correctly, it was another two years or so before I finally got my $2000.

Throughout the fall of 2001, I was obsessed with learning more about Al Qaeda and with learning more about the international situation generally.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 15 Sep 2022, 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mona Pereth
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15 Sep 2022, 4:11 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I immediately thought this was a terrorist attack because it was such a clear day, and I had figured we were due for a big attack of some sort because terrorism was happening worldwide and we are the most powerful country in the the world who had pissed people off. Apparently this is just another way I think differently then most people, everybody else was completely surprised and had little idea why this happened. I soon found out telling people I was shocked but not surprised for these reasons really pissed people off.

I too was not surprised, for the same reason, though I was very frightened.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I knew I wanted to visit the site. History had always happened either before my time or far far away. While this was not the history I wanted it was just a train ride away. And unlike most I did not have the time to deal with it when it first happened. September was too soon, I would just be in the way of people who really needed to be there. If I waited too long the site would be cleaned up, the rubble gone. In late October I made my visit. Being that I do express my emotions differently I had not really cried since I was a young boy, but I did expect to burst into tears. It did not work out that way. Even though it was a cool windy day it still smelled but life was starting to go on.

I had similar impressions when I too visited "Ground Zero" for the first time after 9/11 in mid-to-late October of that year.

At one point when I was waiting to cross a street, I remember several cops hanging around talking about how, of all the various volunteer groups that had helped out (or tried to help out) on and after 9/11, the most helpful were the Scientologists. That surprised me.

I remember groups of National Guard soldiers hanging around also.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The cliché rang true for the fall of 2001 in the New York area. It certainly was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times in the sense the there was unity I had never seen before and seems today like it came from an alternate universe to the America of 2022. There was an intensity to every moment.

I remember that feeling too.


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15 Sep 2022, 7:41 pm

I was home with my infant staring in shock. And then I was wondering how I was going to talk about it with my preschooler when he got home.

Definitely felt like an end to how life had been as an American.

My kids have never known that secure feeling we used to have.


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15 Sep 2022, 8:41 pm

I was in elementary school that day. We knew something was happening because the adults were acting strangely and talking to each other a lot in hushed worried tones. My class saw a brief glimpse of the tv news when walking in the hall past the room where we made the morning anouncements. Then, when I was in math class, I don't remember what period, the teacher got a phone call that seemed to hit her pretty hard. Soon after that there was an extremely veugue, criptic, and concerning announcement on the PA system. It was something along the lines of, "Attention students and staff, some buildings have been hit. Everyone is ok." That was all we heard until lunch. The principal got up on stage in the multipurpouse room and told us a little more information about what was going on, because we were the older kids in the school, so they felt they could tell us more. I remember after that, we were all scared everytime a jet flew over, especially because it was not the usual air traffic, but just a few jets flying fast and low as well as helicopters, but it was only the jets that were scaring us. We actually thought that a plain might fly into our school. Some time after lunch, a staff member from the main office came to my classroom and told me that my mom was there to pick me up. This was completely unexpected and added to my confusion and concern. I remember the staff member commenting to me about how nice it was that my mom cared about me so much as to come get me at a time like this. My mom and I walked home together and I found out that she had been ordered to evacuate her work and so she decided to pick me up from school after she got home. My brother was already there watching the TV news. It was the first time I actually was able to see what was happening and start to understand. He had actually watched the second plane hit live because he was in his AV class in middle school and they happened to be flipping channels and stopped to watch the news when they saw the coverage of the first plane. My brother and I then ended up going into our front yard and lighting some candles and making a little memorial thing as scarred commuters rushed passed on the sidewalk.

I don't remember if we found out that day or a couple days later, but my brother's scout master was almost killed when his office blew up. He would have been killed if he had still been there and not left to attend a meeting.

That was a crazy time. For the next few months it was hard to sleep because the fighter jets would patrol right over my house. They would fly over low and fast in groupings of two to four. Every 15 minutes they would come north, then five minutes later they shot over heading back south. My favorite sleding hill was permanently closed for sleding as they put a high security fence halfway down the hill and the a large line of bolders a quarter of the way from the bottom. The city became militarized overnight and there were jersy berriers placed everywhere. They eventually started replacing those with other berriers after a few years.

Flying was also crazy then. We went on a trip a few months later and I remember there being soldiers in fategues with full armor carrying rifles everywhere at the airport including on a catwalk above everyone. The whole feel of the city changed that day.

Also, it wasn't that long after that we had the more protracted terror incident with the snipers, but that is a different story.

I have plenty more to share on this, but that was pretty much my experience with 9/11.

Edit: I also found out years later some interesting things about some of my extended family relating to that day. One is that one of my uncles would have been killed but he had swapped shifts with a buddy from his same station. He lost his whole shift that day. The other thing I will not post as it is genuinely far to eunique and easy to doxx me from it.



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16 Sep 2022, 7:21 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
The cliché rang true for the fall of 2001 in the New York area. It certainly was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times in the sense the there was unity I had never seen before and seems today like it came from an alternate universe to the America of 2022. There was an intensity to every moment.

I remember that feeling too.

The unity ended when the military/intelligence "community" seized upon this event as a pretext for uncontrolled spending on all their pet projects
(along with income tax cuts to please the wealthy) plus neocon military adventures as a way to profit from the horror of the 9/11 attacks. In a couple of short years, it became "their" mission not "ours".


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16 Sep 2022, 7:50 am

At the time this occurred there was one government official that made a critical decision. Nobody knew what was going on. At first they thought it was an accidental airplane crash. But then other planes began hitting different sites and they then realized this was a major attack. There was one government official who made a critical decision. Maybe he didn't have the power to do this BUT HE DID IT ANYWAYS. He shut down all the airlines, grounded all the planes. Was the West Coast next? No one knew. So by grounding the planes, it meant that if other attacks were in the making, he could make them stand out and not be hidden by the tens of thousands of friendly aircraft flying that day.

In a way he was a Hero. He brought order to the chaos.


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16 Sep 2022, 10:09 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
I immediately thought this was a terrorist attack because it was such a clear day, and I had figured we were due for a big attack of some sort because terrorism was happening worldwide and we are the most powerful country in the the world who had pissed people off. Apparently this is just another way I think differently then most people, everybody else was completely surprised and had little idea why this happened. I soon found out telling people I was shocked but not surprised for these reasons really pissed people off.

I too was not surprised, for the same reason, though I was very frightened.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I knew I wanted to visit the site. History had always happened either before my time or far far away. While this was not the history I wanted it was just a train ride away. And unlike most I did not have the time to deal with it when it first happened. September was too soon, I would just be in the way of people who really needed to be there. If I waited too long the site would be cleaned up, the rubble gone. In late October I made my visit. Being that I do express my emotions differently I had not really cried since I was a young boy, but I did expect to burst into tears. It did not work out that way. Even though it was a cool windy day it still smelled but life was starting to go on.

I had similar impressions when I too visited "Ground Zero" for the first time after 9/11 in mid-to-late October of that year.

At one point when I was waiting to cross a street, I remember several cops hanging around talking about how, of all the various volunteer groups that had helped out (or tried to help out) on and after 9/11, the most helpful were the Scientologists. That surprised me.

I remember groups of National Guard soldiers hanging around also.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The cliché rang true for the fall of 2001 in the New York area. It certainly was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times in the sense the there was unity I had never seen before and seems today like it came from an alternate universe to the America of 2022. There was an intensity to every moment.

I remember that feeling too.

Hmmm, maybe their is something to that autistic way of thinking idea.

Anyway I am glad and somewhat surprised the people made good on your check two years after the fact.


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16 Sep 2022, 10:27 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
I was home with my infant staring in shock. And then I was wondering how I was going to talk about it with my preschooler when he got home.

Definitely felt like an end to how life had been as an American.

My kids have never known that secure feeling we used to have.

I can’t say I felt secure with the crime rates being what they were in the 1970s and being a bullied undiagnosed autistic school kid in the 1960s. 9/11 created a very different type of insecure, and more recently COVID another type of insecure.

It has waxed and waned but there has always been uncertainty about world ending nuclear war. It peaked in the 50s and 60s, waned in the 70s, peaked again in the 80s and had a significant uptick in recent months.

How did you explain it to your preschooler? Still a relevant topic with mass shootings in schools.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 16 Sep 2022, 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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16 Sep 2022, 10:50 am

MaxE wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
The cliché rang true for the fall of 2001 in the New York area. It certainly was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times in the sense the there was unity I had never seen before and seems today like it came from an alternate universe to the America of 2022. There was an intensity to every moment.

I remember that feeling too.

The unity ended when the military/intelligence "community" seized upon this event as a pretext for uncontrolled spending on all their pet projects
(along with income tax cuts to please the wealthy) plus neocon military adventures as a way to profit from the horror of the 9/11 attacks. In a couple of short years, it became "their" mission not "ours".

These were factors that at most sped up an inevitable process. The predecessors to todays disunity were quite evident in the 1990s, they were there during the Vietnam era. In some respects we never got over the Civil War. The post 9/11 unity is not natural. It takes a traumatic event for it to occur. If the traumatic event is long term unless we develop PTSD we adjust and get used to it. The expressions “new normal” and “learning to live with it” describes this process.


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