September 11th

Last modified on September 12th, 2007

I apologize for being a day late on this, but I’ve been a bit busy with a few things. Yesterday, as most people know, was the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Last year on that day, I was flying into Logan airport in Boston, which was a bit strange considering some of the highjackers left Logan that morning six years ago and put a plane into the World Trade Center.

Ground Zero, World Trade Center

Last summer, I decided I would go to New York City and pay my respects in person, so I got on a plane and spent four days out there. The shot above was taken as I passed by. It was strange to me, because without really knowing where I was going, I somehow gravitated towards ground zero myself, probably because it was the only place in Manhattan that was open and full of light. I remember thinking at the time how strange it was that for a lot of people, it had become nothing more than a tourist destination, similar to the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. People lined up with their arms around each other, smiling, giggling, taking “thumbs up” photos, etc., and I remember having mixed feelings watching it all occur around me.

Perhaps everyone grieves in their own way, or pays respect differently, but some people there obviously didn’t really appreciate the fact that in that exact barren region of lower Manhattan, over 3000 people lost their lives. These were ordinary people who woke up, kissed a few family members goodbye, and went to work like they do each day. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t come home that evening.

They say that pretty much everyone will remember where they were when they first heard about the attacks on that day. As for me, I was coming out of a clean room at JDS Uniphase’s building A in Ottawa, when a guy named Jim told me a plane just smacked into the World Trade Center. Not really thinking anything of it, I continued with my day, learning shortly afterwards that another plane had hit the other building as well. I spent the next hour and a bit at my desk, hitting refresh on CNN to get updates on what was going on. My friend Ryan, who had been recently laid off, called me at one point and told me one of the towers had collapsed. I grabbed my stuff, went across the street to Boston Pizza, and spent the remainder of the day watching the day unfold on TV.

Unlike most of my friends out here in Vancouver, I witnessed that entire day in real time while living in Ottawa. By the time most of my friends were waking up, I had witnessed the majority of the damage from September 11th live on TV, and was trying to make sense of it all. It was a scary day, and the scene at the Boston Pizza was much like the videos I had seen of people waiting for news about John F. Kennedy shortly after he was shot in 1963. People didn’t understand, and they were scared.

There’s really not much more to say other than my heart goes out to the people whose lives were forever changed by the events of that day. If anyone has a story, either about where they were on that day, or anything related, please feel free to post it in the comments.

2 responses to “September 11th”

  1. Tom says:

    I also remember it well. I was on my way to work at about 6:50 A.M. and got a call from Duane asking me if I had heard about the twin towers or not. After he told me, I was in shock. I got to work 1/2 hour later and those that had already arrived were gathered around the T.V. watching the coverage. Everyone was just stunned. One of the office ladies, later in the morning, wondered why they showed the tower coming down so many times……..she didn’t realize they were showing the Second tower coming down. Very nice post Duane, I’m sure everyone thought of the victims yesterday.

  2. Dori says:

    Well Sept 11th also happens to be our anniversary. I was up early that morning doing laundry, sitting in front of the TV folding socks while watching some morning program when all of a sudden they broke in with what was happening in NYC. I was completely stunned. I phoned Dustin, he had heard already, they were following updates at work. It was so unbelievable, I just kept thinking “this must be some kind of horrible joke!” circa Orson Wells War of the World… But as it went on, watching the second plane hit, then people jumping from buildings, seeing the flames, the first bldg fall, the second. the absolute shock and no one, on not any single station covering the events, knew what to say. There was nothing to say. I spent the day watching the TV, just in complete shock and soul aching pain at what was happening.
    I mentioned it is our anniversary- so we had already made plans to go have dinner at this funky sports bar downtown, so we decided to just go and have dinner, just hold hands and try to appreciate that we have one another… But not thinking that there are dozens of TVs in this bar, and all of these people, sitting there eating their meals, talking, laughing, or whatever… it just occurred to me that things had changed, in a very big way.
    Thanks Duane for sharing.

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