Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today I was at work, and the world was largely as it had always been: sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful. As it had always been.

As I worked at my desk I slowly became aware of a general level of commotion coming from our “TV area” (an area nearby where we sometimes met for meetings). The commotion continued, but I knew we had no meetings scheduled that morning.  Eventually I got up to see what was going on.

As I approached, it was apparent that most of the department was there; a couple of the guys were standing in the doorway.  I rounded the corner and looked in and saw the TV screen just in time to see (a replay of) the second tower falling.

That was my first contact with 9/11. Seeing the second tower fall.

I thought, at first, it was a movie special effect.

A co-worker explained what it really was.

Stunned disbelief.

I was born in New York City.

At that point, both Towers fallen, they were showing the images over and over. It didn’t take long to see the earlier images, to see the first tower fall, to see the second plane hit, to see the second tower fall, to see that the Pentagon had also been hit.

Over and over.

Images and experiences that have since become part of our national iconography, a part of our national consciousness.

Images that are permanently seared into us. Images that changed us forever.

We became a different nation that day; that day we suffered a form of brutal rape that changed us forever. It changed our path, it changed our hearts, it changed our minds.

Ten years later the experience is still vivid. The memories are still raw. A decade hasn’t changed that. Once lost, innocence is not regained so easily or quickly. It may sometimes not be regained ever again.

I know, half a continent away, in the sleepy Midwest, that I was profoundly touched and deeply affected by that day. It put upon me a dark and ugly mood that lasted at least a year. A somber regard for a world so ugly, with unanticipated peril lurking around any bend.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the office workers who thought it was just another day in the life of an office worker. Just another day at the office. Or the fire fighters and other emergency workers called that day to answer an emergency unlike any they had ever experienced. The heroism of people did show that day. We remember them and honor them.

But it was a day that changed us. The world continues to be sometimes difficult, sometimes easy. The world continues to be sometimes painful, sometimes joyful. The world really hasn’t changed so very much.

But we are changed.

And we remember.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

4 responses to “Ten Years Ago Today

  • Doobster418

    Thanks for the link back to here. Well stated and poignant. I especially liked, “Once lost, innocence is not regained so easily or quickly. It may sometimes not be regained ever again.” So true; so sad.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thank you. Yeah, there are moments where history makes reference points in our conceptual landscape. Part of what is so interesting is how different people reference it. It’s hard for me to understand how some can imagine it was a planned demolition, how they can give the idea any credence at all. Government conspiracy fanatic is one thing, but the logic disconnect required to overlook the sheer physical logistics required… I think TV and movies make people imagine anything really is possible.

      A year later, on the 11th anniversary, I wrote a three-part post having a go at debunking 9/11 conspiracy supporters. I’d run into them online year before and ended up doing a lot of research in the events of that day. Thought I’d put that to use in blog posts, since it made no impact on them whatsoever. The debate was a waste of time, and I was reminded a few months ago that it remains a largely pointless debate. Facts just seem to have no impact on people.

      If you’re interested, here’s the first of the three posts. (A weird thing: I get a lot of search hits for the second post, Beams of Steel. Since they don’t seem to read #1 or #3, I’m assuming they’re looking for something else, but no one has ever commented regarding their disappointment.)

      • Doobster418

        Thanks. I’ll go have a look. I, too, am amazed at how many people actually believe — I mean seriously believe — that this was some sort of government conspiracy. But then again, I am amazed at how many people believe in some sort of supernatural deity somewhere out “there” that watches over us and guides us.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Well, no amount of critical analysis can prove or disprove the existence of the deity. It is very much a matter of personal choice and viewpoint. But any least bit of critical analysis leads strongly to a conclusion regarding 9/11 — that’s a key difference.

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