My 9/11

Ten years ago today, I woke up for work to my clock radio set to NPR. Michele Norris or one of the newscasters was talking about something major in New York City.

It was a typical day in Chicago. I woke up around 7:15 or 7:30.

On the radio, Michelle was saying, “Smoke is rising from one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center,” she explained. “At this point, it appears to be an accident. A plane has crashed into one of the buildings. We don’t have any more information.”

I walked over to the TV. I turned it on. I never watched TV in the morning. But I figured something like this must be covered by regular TV. I didn’t have cable.

As soon as I turned the TV on, I saw images of what the radio voices were describing. Smoke was rising from near the top of a New York City building. I was ignorant of the New York skyline, so it was Greek to me.

In the voices of the radio personalities, there was definitive panic behind the “calm.”

I grabbed the phone. I called Tina. She picked up.

“Hello?” she said.

“Did you hear the news?”

“I’m looking at it now.” She had been on a morning TV kick for a couple months, and they were covering the story … just like everybody else.

We were on the phone when the cameras were pointed at the building. Eery black smoke wafted from it. Suddenly an airplane entered screen left and hit the other tower.

Profanities flew from my mouth. “Holy shit, did you see that?”

Tina said yes.

We watched in awe as the newscasters tried to say that this must have been a coincidental accident on the same day into the other building. At that point, no one knew anything about anything.

After a few moments, I said, “I’ll call you back. I gotta call my parents.”

I called my parents’ home line. My mom picked up. I was panicking. I asked if she’d seen the news. She said yes. Her words were something to the effect of, “They did it again.”

Key word: “They”.

“Who’s the ‘they’, Mom?” I asked.

She explained it was the same people who bombed the World Trade Center in the 90s. Back then, I didn’t give a shit about such things. I guess I didn’t care. I was a dumb Christian at a dumb school at the time.

Mom explained that the Muslims were probably to blame.

I knew shit about Islam.

At the time, I was a robot. Despite the world changing catastrophic event, I looped my tie, pulled it tight, and went to work. I caught a bus. Pushed myself on a train. It was run of the mill.

At one point, a guy got a phone call. He answered. He said, “In New York? Really?” He hung up and said to a nearby passenger, “Something happened in New York.” The other person said, “What?”

He said, “A plane flew into a building.”

“You didn’t hear?” I piped up. “Two planes flew into buildings in New York City.” I didn’t explain that “They” did it.

I was surprised so many people didn’t know about the attacks. It seemed that the majority of people didn’t know anything. I felt like a celebrity of sorts explaining to the group what happened.

After I got to work, everyone was in the know. People were panicking. The building I worked in was surrounded with cops as it was one of the biggest buildings in the city (but not the tallest).

Soon after the towers collapsed, there was an announcement that we could leave work. I was so scared and out of my mind, I left without Tina.

After a few hours, Tina and I met at her place.

Then, just like everyone else, we watched the news for the next week as America picked up the pieces.

My view of the world would never be the same. I’m not sure many Americans felt any differently.

9/11 gave me the strength to walk away from religion and faith.

For others, it made their faith stronger.

Ahhh, perception.

13 thoughts on “My 9/11

  1. well being a Muslim, let me tell you what we believe about all this

    killing the innocent people, is a great sin. even Islam dislikes it. Islam Allows only those to kill who are harming Muslims and are in a fight. It disallows to kill those who are not a part of the war directly.
    still you call the Muslims terrorists.

    what we believe is, It was a work of America itself, You can find many evidences in this regard even on web,that how it all seemed to be well planned. all the jews, who worked in there were on leave and many other similar things.
    but for Muslims you have but just one Allegation, that Muslims werebehind this……………
    For us, its believed that it was a conspiracy against Muslims. without it they couldn’t attack or enter in Afghanistan.or Iraq or Pakistan. Same plan for every Muslim country they have entered.
    First create a situation, then blame that country fdor terrorism and then enter in that country, with an APPARENT mission to set all things good. But in which country have they set all things??????????IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN OR PAKISTAN? the situation is more worse than before!!!!!!!!!

      1. Kilre,

        The guy above subscribed to this blog just before he responded. His blog is one of those zealot sites that religious folks (no matter what the genre) set up and then walk away from, because after you say your god is great in 10 ways, there’s nothing left to write about.

        It’s silly. He’s silly.

        Your response is borderline verbose, as it should be that obvious without words.


  2. Thanks for cutting and pasting your boring old message in response.

    I don’t care what you believe happened. You’re as conspiratorial as lots of Americans.

    Any group of people with radical ideas about death could be behind any tragedy.

    Your ideas aren’t backed up, so i could care less. I didn’t ask you to explain the attacks so your immediate justification implies guilt.

    This message isn’t part of a solution; it’s part of the problem.

      1. Khaula,

        You didn’t make any citation. You just spouted the same nonsense that many others make in conspiratorial form.

        Cite it. Don’t spout it, and expect changed minds.

        The burden of proof is on you.

        If you behave like a troll, you get treated as one.


  3. Really?
    Listen, I don’t blame Islam for what happened on Sept. 11th. I blame some disturbed fanatics, whose faith was twisted and manipulated, for the attacks. That faith just so happened to be Islam. It could have been Christianity. It could have been Judaism. It could have been Sikhism.

    What caused 9/11 was global disparity, geopolitics, and poverty. Since these things rarely make people motivated to act, religion was injected in order to fan the fires of hatred.
    In this sense I don’t even blame religion- because it is the best things about religion- the sense of human value, of camaraderie, of not being a bystander to injustice- that were so skillfully manipulated to make those people kill other human beings.

    It is absolutely abhorrent to listen to someone pin the blame on one group of people. Islam. America. Jews.
    We all wear the stain of 9/11. Every active participant in our global society. It is a collective failure of mankind- not an occasion for finger pointing.
    This anniversary- this tragedy- should be a rallying cry for us to create a world where this couldn’t happen. Instead it becomes another narrative of division.

    1. @george, Thanx for your opinion………I am a lil convinced by what you said…..,
      and i think, all this cannot bring those who were killed there, and killing thousands of people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan is no sanity. They are the same people as Americans…… the need is to work for a worldwide peace………If america draw back its troops from those countries and stop invading in other countries, things can be settled to a larger bit.:)

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