Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today Is That Day!!

I didn't know what else to call the title for today's blog entry, I wanted to put "Just Another Day", but I think that would have been somewhat offensive to some people and today, I promise not to offend and debate anything with anyone.

I'm going to post what i was doing 7 years ago today, just as I do every year on this day. I'm also going to post my feelings on the entire situation at the end.

7 years ago today, I woke up right after the 1st plane hit the 1st tower. I got up and turned on the television like I did every morning when getting the kid ready for school. I had obviously been watching Oprah (A show I'll never watch again, but for other reasons) because the tv was on our ABC affiliate. And they had a live shot of the 1st tower on fire and the caption said "Small Commuter Plane Crashes Into WTC". I'm thinking it's a plane accident, because we hadn't had a major one in quite some time. So I tossed the images out of my head and turned to either Cartoon Network or PBS (which shows kid shows in the morning). Then on my way to the restroom, I knocked on the door of the room my mother was sleeping in. That was her day off, and normally she did not wake up so early on her day off. But I wanted to tell her what was going on, so I woke her up and told her what happened. She got up and turned on the television. I went to the restroom and started getting the LO ready for school. Then I heard my mom say "Oh My God!". My mom says that a lot, but it was the way she said it that had me kind of concerned. So I made sure the LO's stayed in the room they were in and I went to see what was going on. She told me a 2nd plane had hit the other tower.

In my mind, I said "It's just a bad day for aviation!". I'm thinking 2 planes crash into the same site. I started thinking maybe something was wrong with the people at the airports from which these planes took off. I went about my normal routine. Walked the LO's to school and had to go and get some milk. I get into the store and see a group of people standing around a television. Thee people were old and young, men and women, some good citizens and what you would call thugs. They were all just standing there looking at the tv. I was in the back and could see the tv somewhat. Then I just casually looked to my left and saw the owner of the store on the phone talking to someone in his native language and English, the thing that struck me as odd was that he was laughing and saying "Omg, this is hilarious. What is going on with these planes?". Then he looked at me and I must have been giving him this look because he kind of walked off to the back area of the store. I went and got my milk and noticed the butcher was going off. This butcher was a black man, who I had spoken to on many occassions and I knew something was off. So I went back to speak to him and he was going off at how the owner and the other Arab men in the store were making fun of the situation and they didn't know what was going on, but there was going to be some big death tolls.

I had to get out of the store. I can't remember if the plane hit the Pentagon on my way home or after I got home. But my mother told me a 3rd plane hit the Pentagon and I didn't believe her. I told her that it was impossible for that to happen. My mother worked at an airport at the time and they were in the process of shutting down the airport close to our home. We couldn't call the place my mother worked at because the lines were so jammed. We sat on the porch with a neighbor from down the street and waited for my mothers friend to come home. The sky was quiet as ever, as we lived right under a flight path or two of Midway airport. I kept going back and forth from the tv to the porch. We saw an F-16 fly over the house towards the D.C area. That was odd, because we had never seen one fly over our area before. I saw the towers fall and didn't even think about the people inside.

I tried to place a call to someone I know who is in Law Enforcement and couldn't reach him. I then went throughout the day, just thinking that we had now 4 planes crash into something (by this time Flight 93 had crashed). Even after seeing some people in some Middle Eastern/Arab country passing out candy, dancing in the streets and shouting "Death To America"...I still had no idea what was going on. Even after finally being able to log online that night after trying all day. A good friend of mines (Hey Phil) was livid. I had never seen him like this before, so it was odd.

In my eyes, I saw and understood what happened. But for a few weeks, I could not even imagine, how on earth this big bad ass country like the United States would/could allow people to come into our country and do this to us. I did not see it happening and I just would not believe it. Finally in mid October, while watching a video that was made by several music artists and seeing images of firefighters and police officers crying and going into the towers and knowing that some of them would not be coming out, it finally hit me. I finally realized that something horrible had happened to our country and I was just bawling like a big baby. I felt so sad that day and honestly thought I could never feel that sad again. I cried for the longest time, then I had that same anger that many Americans had and I held onto that anger for a very long time.

I can remember coming back from the mall one day and having to ride the bus home, a young Muslim woman who was clearly Arab got onto the bus. Everyone had been just talking it up and having a good time, when she got on hat bus, the bus went quiet and I could remember the anger and rage I had just looking at her. I never had such thoughts of rage and anger towards a person in my life. I wanted to jump up and choke the life out of her simply for who she was and knowing that she was the same as the jerks who did this to our country. For the longest time, I did not patronize any business if it were run by an Arab person and in my community, that leaves you with slim pickings. I still have not gone back into that store I walked into earlier that day.

My thoughts on the entire situation are this. We may or may not have had advance warning, from some of the shows I've seen, we had knowledge that Bin Laden was planning something like this. The security at airports was lax as hell!! My mother invited me and the family to breakfast at one of the airport restaurants and we were able to go into the airport without a plane ticket (this was before 9-11). These jerks that did this had items that set the metal detectors off, but they were still allowed on. I'm angry at a lot of things, and I hate when this day comes up. But this is one of those days, that as hard as you try, you will not forget. You may not think of it during the year like me, but when it gets close you start to think of it more and more and you see those images again and again.

Another thing that ticks me off is, I can remember how much patriotism was shown right after. We used to play "Count The Flags" on our way somewhere and they would always reach into the hundreds. Now, you are lucky if you see one. Have people forgotten? Or were they just "posing"? I don't know.