Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

I knew something was wrong, when Chandra woke me up. Chandra was living with us, then, because it was only a couple of months after Luis died. I staggered my bleary self into the living room, and snapped awake pretty fast, as I grasped what I was seeing. I was there in time to see the second plane hit. Like everyone else, I was stunned.

At the time, I worked at the New York Deli, at the corner of 620 and IH 35. It was a lunchtime hangout for New York ex-patriots, down here working for Dell. They slowly trickled in for lunch, and didn't leave. They stood silently in front of the two or three TVs, watching and waiting; some quietly crying. By mid-afternoon, there was standing room only.

And we STILL had not heard from any government official of higher rank than the Mayor of New York, and maybe the Governor of New York State. There was no statement from the President until several hours later. In the following days, we learned that he had been whisked off to some safe place, and to hell with the rest of us.

We had no idea what had caused planes to deliberately crash into these buildings. Rumours were everywhere, and the general consensus seemed to be that it was an attack by some Islamist group...but nothing official was said, for hours and hours.

I grew up with parents who had survived WW II in Britain, and I heard stories of the heroics of the British Royal Family, and Churchill's stirring speeches. There was our President...I hesitate to say "cowering," because who knows what he was doing (probably looking for his brown pants) a secret bunker in an undisclosed location under a mountain, while the rest of us were hugging and crying and saying "WTF?"

After the first few, they stopped showing footage of the people leaping from the windows to their deaths, rather than stay and burn. I wonder if President Bush ever looked at that.

I will never forget.


  1. I will always remember the day, and still shed tears at the image of those buildings burned into my mind. Using your post to bash Bush's response is disgusting. You can bet your bum that he was busy with meetings, calls, and briefings every second of that time. And for you to use this day to insult his leadership or patriotism (whether you agree with his POLICIES or not) is insulting to those of us who had family taken from us that day.

    While Bush may not have handled the day or the aftermath exactly right, I seriously doubt that ANY President would have done anything different... including Clinton or Obama. This was such a new form of attack, that there was no manual to follow... it was being written as they went along.

  2. I remember too. Always will. Seeing the smoke rising in the distance as I made my way into work. At first I thought it was an accident. Small plane hit. Then I heard on the radio that the second plane hit, then the smoke turned black in the horizon.

    I watched from our office for a while and cried when the people started jumping. When the towers fell me and quite a few co-workers fell to the ground as well. How many of us had family that might be in there, friends? Colleagues?

    The answer? Most of us. Including yours truly.

    And as for Anon, why shouldnt she use this day to question his patriotism? He used it to start a war that was in no way justified because he was mad that his Daddy didnt. (his father is a much smarter man)

  3. I agree with Melissa. I will have to look into my history books to find out for sure, but didn't Roosevelt make a speech to the nation within a day or two of Pearl Harbor being attacked? Hawaii may not have been a state yet, but those were our ships and troops there that were bombed.
    For a couple of months, the whole world, as the French put it "were Americans". Osama Bin-Laden was a known terrorist who had made threats to America for months. On 9-11 there was dancing in the streets in Afghanistan, and the Bin Laden family was whisked out of the USA within 24 hours even when everybody else was told NO-FLY. So, the excuse that Bush wasn't sure what happened or who might be responsible is flimsy (unless he wasn't watching the news, like he didn't during Katrina). Bush talked to the nation on his bullhorn in NYC sometime afterwards, and we were all glad to hear him...back then. However, I think a president with a stronger character and a higher intellect would have and should have addressed the nation with at least a press release as soon as possible. That's what Leadership does.

  4. It seems typical that the one who calls my expression of thought "disgusting," does so while hiding behind the mask of anonymity.

    I stated what my feelings were, that day, at that time.

    To be honest, I didn't see it as insulting President Bush's leadership; it's just the way it was. IMO, he should have been on the air, instantly, reassuring the country with any words he could muster.

    During WW II, the British Parliament wanted the Royal Family to leave London for the safety of the countryside. The Queen (the present Queen's mother) said something to the effect of, "The Princesses won't leave without me, and I won't leave without the King, and the King won't leave."

    THAT is the spirit of what I wanted to hear, and I wanted to hear it by noon on that awful day. Instead, we floundered for hours while the president did whatever.

    There was no manual to follow for Pearl Harbor, either, but FDR did OK.

    No insult to those who suffered personal loss was intended, but I stand by my words.

  5. I can't forget the looks on the faces of the people emerging from the smoke. Our fire department climbs a World Trade Center's worth of stairs every year, for those that didn't make it.

    Wasn't Bush out of town when it happened? I seem to recall he was off visiting, and then they wouldn't say where he was. Any president worth a damn would be on the air ASAP, at least to let us know he's on the ball and taking care of the situation. Even if there weren't many facts yet. You can't leave the country wondering if he's dead. As for leadership and patriotism; Bush couldn't lead a horse to water, and the only thing he's loyal to are other rich Christian fundamentalists. I'm from Texas, I KNOW.

  6. He was in Florida, reading to schoolchildren. Supposedly.

    I don't think he's even loyal to the Fundies. I think he and they were mutually using each other.

    Love you, Honey...

  7. Dubya was on Airforce One, flying around like a chicken with its head cut off. Soldiers with machine guns closed the campus at TSTC in Waco, because that airstrip was a possible landing site in case he decided to go to his ranch in Crawford.

    And as to what Anon who was so disgusted had to say, there's a little document called The Bill of Rights that you should read. Maybe if you got the Cliffs Notes, you might understand it.

    Former (thank God) President Bush did nothing but HIDE while the rest of the world needed the strength and guidance of the leader he was SUPPOSED to be. Then he didn't even bring the man who was behind the whole thing to justice. That was too hard, so he tried a different opponent and our soldiers are STILL cleaning up THAT mess.

  8. Boy. Oh. Boy!

    Can I raise daughters, or WHAT!

    Women who kick ass and take names later!

    Nessa, if you check this post on Facebook, David left me links to what the Prez actually said...Go to my Facebook profile, and under the "boxes" tab, you'll find "notes." These blog entries are imported there, and have another set of comments.

  9. Actually, then Pres. Bush made a 9:30 AM EST speech from Fla. telling the us the country has apparently suffered a terrorist attack. He then addressed us again at 1:04 PM from an Air Force Base in Louisiana. Then at 8:30 PM he addressed as for the 3rd time that day, 9-11-01.

    I remember this all, as I was glued to the TV all day, switching between CNN, MSNBC and FOX. I saw our president and he wasted no time getting on TV.

    That is my memory of 9-11, seeing all the devastation and crying and feeling comforted when our president was on tv those 3 times assuring us that the US would hunt down and punish those responsible.

    If I hadn't had the day off from work that day, I would not have been able to watch TV all day. I couldn't tear myself away. It was the worst tragedy I have ever seen in my lifetime.


  10. The timing explains why I missed the first two. I was on my way to work during the first one, and actually working during the second. Thanks for the info.

  11. I call bullshit on the first 2 addresses.

    For one, the pres's whereabouts were a secret during the morning and daytime.

    I do remember his scripted speach that night though.

  12. I have been given links. This is the text of the short announcement from the school in Florida:

    This is video of the address from Barksdale that afternoon.

  13. Announcements, not speaches before 8:30.

    He had advisors telling him to keep his mouth shut before then. While they flew the Bin Ladin family out of the country while everyone else was grounded.

    (note, I feel that was the right move, they had denounced Osama years and years before, but they were in imminent danger obv.)