There is a part of me that will always have that journalist instinct, to find the sound bites, to delve into way too much information only for the simple reason of, I want to know why. . . Even though it seems like a million years ago since I was in college, writing and learning about all things within the mass media culture.
I was at home when the terrorists attacked NYC, I was about to start a new job and was looking forward to a day by the pool relaxing, enjoying the day. Only, I sleep with my television on and was awaken by Matt and Katie talking about something hitting one of the towers. At 8:03 am (CST) I saw with my own eyes a plane ram into the other tower. The rest of the day is a blur because I just sat in my apartment watching this horrible event unfold.
This was in the days before the internet really hit it big, so everything was relayed on the tv, there were no back to your regularly scheduled programs, no local news, just disbelief that we had been attacked.
As I look back on it now, I still have a hard time with what happened. I am one of those naive fools that thinks that we don’t all have to like each other or agree with each other. But there are people in this world that take a stand and determine that their way is the only way and to hell with everyone else.
I have struggled over the past few weeks to come up with any decision of my own thoughts about the mosque being built close to the site. It bothers me but then the other part of me, the one that wants everyone to get along and respect each other starts raising questions. And while I do adore having the First Amendment in place, I have a hard time with anyone wanting to bun books, flags or the like. On a simplistic level that does not even rate an equivalent, as much as I hate all things orange and the TN Vols, I still wouldn’t burn their stuff. It means something to them. But again, we are talking apples and oranges on this point.
I have been to the site and to the makeshift museum in NYC. The destruction that the terrorists caused is huge, no picture or big screen television could give it justice. It tore at my heart to think that innocent people, just working to provide for themselves and their families, were killed that day. The second time I was at the site, it looked like a random construction zone and the tears only came once I went into the museum to look at the items.
I have read books, articles on the internet and watched tons of specials on 9/11. The one that still haunts me though is the documentary filmed by the French brothers who were following probies for the FDNY. That banging sound you hear? That is people jumping from a burning building. These people chose to end it their own way as opposed to burning to death. I was shocked. And of course I had to wonder exactly what went through their minds as they did this.
I have met some of the FDNY while up there and watching the St Patrick’s Day parade. Those men are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They talked with us, posed for pictures and one very sweet older man offered up a shot of his whiskey to me. The pipe and drum core of the department happened to be on the side street I was on that day and I cannot thank them enough for their kindness. Even while wearing kilts in snow that was starting to melt.
This day is one that will always be a vivid memory for me. I could never forget watching the kindness that came from strangers as they tried to help anyone and everyone through the horribleness. My wish would be for everyone in the states to be able to visit the city just once, visit the site and the museum. Take a moment to remember those who lost their lives and then remember that we are all in this together. A little kindness goes a long way.