10 Years - and I remember every minute of it. | Mental Poo

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years - and I remember every minute of it.

I'm about to do something that is very very rare on this blog.

I'm going to be serious.

There will be no pictures. There will be no jokes.

Just memories of a terrible, brutal day.

Come back on Monday and I'll do my damndest to make you laugh your ass off with a post about my latest experience in an adult XXX store.

So, yeah, I'll try to make you laugh on Monday.

Just not today.


My daughter was born on September 22, 2000.

On the morning of September 11th, I was alone in the house with one of our electricians.

The wife (at the time) and I were putting on a fairly large addition to the house, and I was standing in my newly finished family room watching my brand new Sony 50" projection TV as I got ready for work.


Man, I loved that television.

The construction guys had been working feverishly to try to finish up their work and make the house look presentable for my daughter's first birthday party. A pretty big deal when it's your first child. Well..any child, I guess.

Regardless, it was just me and an electrician in the house.

My wife, a school teacher, had already taken our daughter in with her. My daughter had daycare in the same school my wife taught in - which was extremely convenient and, thankfully, wicked cheap.

As a technical support person, I was on pager rotation that week - so it allowed me the luxury of going in to the office late...in exchange for the possibility of staying up through the night talking idiots through stuff they had no busy attempting to try in the first place.

I was just about to walk into the kitchen when the 'Breaking News' prompt came up.

The news was sketchy...something about a small plane hitting one of the World Trade towers.

I remember saying something like, 'Oh wow' as the news footage started trickling in. There were really no details on it yet..just footage of the smoke pouring out of the building.

I imagined a small Cessna or even prop plane hit it...although, honestly, that seemed like a ton of smoke for a small plane.

I more or less went about getting ready for work, checking the television every so often... as now the reports turned to the small plane possibly being a jet. But, still, not many details.

I remember exactly my position as I watched what enfolded next.

I was standing in the family room, about four feet away from my fantastic new television. The newscasters were going on and on and on about the fire and then - coming in from the side of the screen - the second plane hit.

I knew what I saw.

The second plane hit the other tower and a huge explosion burst out. We all know the footage.

I yelled to the electrician, "DUDE. ANOTHER PLANE JUST HIT."

But..at that time...the newscasters just kept talking about whether it was a small plane or a jet and DID THEY NOT JUST SEE THAT?! They must be on a delay or don't have monitors because they seemed to ignore that second plane.


I looked at my electrician who had been wiring my under-the-cabinet lighting in the kitchen but was now peering into the family room, and said:

"That reeks of terrorism."

We both kind of stood there now as the newscasters finally acknowledged the second plane or, at least, that a second SOMETHING appeared to have hit the other tower.

Jesus Christ.

What the fuck is happening.

I picked up the phone and called the office.

My coworker and friend, Craig, answered. Craig was this big, aloof guy but a great friend and funny as Hell.

Craig: "Hello."
Me: "Craig, It's Rodney. Are you watching the news?"
Craig: "No. Why?"
Me: "You won't believe what I'm watching on television."
Craig: "Is it me?"

I laughed.

I'm embarrassed to say it now, but I did. I laughed at that because it was funny.

And, looking back, it was probably the last time I laughed that day.

I told him what I was watching - apparently no one at work had started following the story or, if they had, had spread the word.

But by that time, I needed to go to work.

I left the electrician and hopped into my car - the radio station I always listened to starting their hypothesis and coverage of what was transpiring in New York.

I didn't like what I was hearing.

I picked up my overly large cell phone and called my wife.

"Get Payton. Get her right now. Go home. Stay there."

By the time I got to work, everyone was in a conference room watching a small antennae-driven black and white 13 inch television. The reception was terrible. We couldn't see much through the snow.

But, when it happened, I swear I saw the sway.

I don't know if it was the fuzzy reception or if I saw what I saw...but I saw that first building sway just before it collapsed.

And, just like on the news, we all watched it with a huge delayed reaction.

Shortly after..we really started losing the reception on the television. But not before we all watched that second tower go down.

Two years prior, my wife and I had been standing on top of one of those buildings on a trip to New York. Now, both were gone.


Up until this point..I remember my feelings. My reactions.

My wanting to GO HOME. To be with my family and know we were all together.

My daughter was having her first birthday party in a week...there was much to do. Much to keep safe. Like I could do that knowing that day that a lot of people died and didn't need to.



CHILDREN, for Chrissakes.


I would imagine them on those planes, crouched low with their heads held down while some adult - maybe even a stranger more terrified themselves - trying to console them. Fruitlessly.

Telling them that it was going to be okay..probably knowing full well that it wasn't.

I get angry and heartbroken and my blood boils just thinking about that.

That those kids were hoping for a parent or adult to protect them like a parent is supposed to...but this time there would be no protection. They wouldn't be saved.

Yeah. I remember 9/11.

But a huge part of me wishes that I didn't.


Fragrant Liar said...

And ten years later . . . not much has improved.

Unknown said...

It certainly was an unbelievable event! I remember being at work and watching it on the tv in our break room and not believing what we were seeing. It seemed surreal.

Ed said...

I remember it well, brother.

Time literally stood still.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Like you, I remember every second, the memory is in HD. Didn't sleep for months afterwards. Thanks for this, I appreciate the change in tone this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I remember every second of that day though I never processed the events until much later. I was an RA at college, in my senior year, that Tuesday morning and I spent the next couple of weeks counceling the freshman (2 of whom were from NYC) in my house. I don't think I closed my door the whole time...anyway...it was a day that changed me and the nation forever. I could never forget the men, women, and children that lost their lives that day and my post today is an effort to make sure we don't forget all the heroes that are battling for their lives because they were first responders or in charge of clean up. The horror of that day isn't over yet. Thank you for a beautifully written and appropriate post.

meleah rebeccah said...

I remember every second of that horrible day. It all seemed so surreal almost as if I was watching a movie with special effects.

Thank you for sharing your story. Very well written.

SarcasmInAction said...

we remember every moment and we NEED to because we have the task of keeping the memories and honor of all the heroes and victims and family members alive. We can't ever forget a detail, no matter how much it hurts.

Tawnya said...

I remember that day. I remember having to try to explain what my kids saw on TV. They were 6 and 4. I remember trying to explain to myself what happened. It was hard to deal with and for me, still is. I adopt soldiers who are deployed and all of my 'guys' are home right now, but they are getting alerts because of the heightened alert status now. I always pray for the families who were devastated that day.

Vinny C said...

Even as far away as I am, that day still turned my world upside down.

So. Cal. Gal said...

I remember my mom running into my room, telling me to turn on the tv...just in time to see the 2nd plane hit. After that, everything was a blur.

Nan S. said...

Thank you for your post. I've noticed a conspicuous lack of posts about today, because it is somehow too derisive? If you read comments on facebook, MSN, and others the comments range from sensitive and caring to conspiracy theorists and religious nutjobs.

I was working about 16 miles north of Washington, DC and we watched the tragedy unfold on a b&w antenna t.v. Since I had lived in NYC at one time I knew how many people could have died that horrible day (the buildings held 50K souls) The day was exhausting simply due to the range of emotions, shock, rage, fear, deep sadness. After determining that my crew at the Pentagon were safe and accounted for, and listening to increasingly hysterical news reports (i.e., a bomb had gone off at the State Dept. where many of my friends worked) it was decided that we should call it a day and go home. I will never forget that ride home. The normal douchbag driving habits were suspended, every driver on the road that hideous afternoon was in shock.

So, thanks for remembering...we should all remember and keep this day in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for all the lives lost - it's not fair and was definitely a tragedy. But the rest of the world is bored of ur 'poor me' shit America.

Unknown said...

I remember the day vividly, as well. Like you, I had just been to the WTC a year or so before. I remember the lobby & the shops just below it in the underground area very well. That day was horrible. Thank you for helping us to remember 9/11. And the children. Those poor children.

MrsBlogAlot said...

It is always those children I think about first. I was in the city that day and will never forget all of the horror that was that day. I think we will always carry a permanent memory of sadness because of it.

life in the mom lane said...

I haven't felt safe ever since...To think that some of the victims BEST choice was to jump? The horror of the day will never leave me.

Coffeypot said...

I, too, watched the whole thing from home (I was sick) and was more pissed off than sad. It was our Pearl Harbor and I knew we were going to war. Great post, Rodney.

MommaKiss said...

Know what babe? My very first ever in my life view of the towers was labor day weekend, 2001. The weekend prior to the attacks. I have incredible pictures. And memories, especially for this small town farm girl. I know many who survived and unfortunately many who died on that day. I'll never forget being in the Boston city hall. Being evacuated because no one knew if we were next. The silent phone lines and silent skies. The unknown terror for friends I knew would be trying to escape in NYC. An unbelievable day. I'll never forget. Never.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Rodney. I've yet to be able to write about it.

Isabella said...

If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.


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Sadie without the S said...

The worst part was seeing people jump - knowing that their best option was to jump.

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