So I hate the fact that everyone’s commercializing their coverage of the 5th anniversary of 9/11, but I didn’t want to avoid blogging about the date altogether. Just because the Bush administration makes it into a big PR campaign doesn’t mean others can’t have real feelings about their real experience.
So rather than dote on the numerous scare tactics used by said administration as a means of stripping us of our civil liberties one by one over the past five years, I want to ask you:
Where were you?
I was a junior or so in college (I use that term loosely, as I was in school for six years) in my Media Ethics class that started about 9:15 a.m. or so. A girl came in late to class, and before the professor could look to her for an explanation of her tardiness she said haltingly, “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I don’t think it was an accident.”
Without asking for more details, knowing like any experienced newspaperman that there were more, but would not be gleaned from anything this girl could say, our professor said authoritatively:
“Go find a T.V. now.”
And he left the classroom.
I walked out in the hallway not really knowing what was going on, but saw that some people in the mass comm building had rolled a giant T.V. on a cart out into the hallway, and students had started to gather around it. People whispered to each other as CNN unfolded the mystery to us: the towers were falling. Terrorists. Thousands feared dead.
As people started calling loved ones frantically on cell phones, mine rang. It was my friend Maureen in Chicago. Maureen is Assyrian, though some less cultured have mistaken her as hispanic.
“That’s it,” she said when I answered her call, “From now on I’m fucking Mexican.”
Not even two hours after the event had happened, Maureen knew what would happen to people of Middle Eastern descent. She knew how stupid people were going to be.
We chatted for a few minutes, and I let her go so I could call my then boyfriend. Even in a time of crisis he was an asshole to me, arguing with me that he was trying to watch the T.V. and didn’t want to talk to me (thanks, I’m glad to know you’re OK, too.) I figured nothing else was going to happen on T.V. and had already grown weary of the continual shot of the burning towers, and walked outside. The air did not seem fresh at all.
I had a Spanish class next, so I walked over to that building and sat outside my class, as I was about 30 minutes early. I called my mom to make sure she was OK, and she told me her office was sent home early. Pretty much all of downtown Chicago (the business distric/Loop) was being evacuated, too, she told me, but she didn’t know if they’d send my little sister home from school.
I don’t remember any more of that day. I’m sure I talked with friends/classmates/colleagues about it for the next several months, and I remember one day going through the drive-thru at work (I worked as a pharmacy tech at CVS then) and my friend telling me, “We started bombing today.” I thought, this is wrong. This is the beginning of the end.
I still think I was right.
Tags: 9/11, wtc, September 11, Bush