Friday, September 11, 2009
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)...in 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.