I really loved jerie's recounting of her 9/11 memories. I think if there's only one time a year we publicly discuss what we went through that day, individually and as a nation, it needs to be this time.
Being on the west coast, I was obviously at some disadvantage, and I wasn't up early because I didn't have class until that night. My roomie, Phillipa, hadn't come 'home' the night before; she spent the night at her boyfriend's dorm. Rather than having voice mail like a normal person, she had an actual answering machine, and I woke up at the sound of her voice coming from the machine: "Alli! Alli, if you're there, turn on the TV. Something's happened. Any news channel, it doesn't matter."
I remember turning on the TV, searching for the buttons by feel because I hadn't grabbed my glasses. I was thinking local. I was thinking that maybe a tanker had spilled on one of the main drags in Stockton or a train had derailed and we were going to have to evacuate. Then I saw tape -- because it was around 9am PT and this had been going on for a while -- of the planes hitting the towers.
I really don't remember what I thought after that. I remember sitting up on my bed and watching for a long time. I remember calling my parents and hearing about the Pentagon for the first time, and then the plane in Pennsylvania. I remember being worried about ellory1 and andveryginger. Phillipa came in a little later and gave me a hug; she's a Brit and hadn't been in the country all that long, I think, but she still looked understandably shaken.
I basically spent the whole day watching the news, sitting at the computer or on my bed. Something that really stands out in my mind is that quite a few people walked by on the sidewalk outside my window, laughing and talking as though what was happening wasn't happening. It really pissed me off. I remember thinking -- how can they be acting like nothing's going on? Don't they know? How can they not know?
I didn't want to go to my 6pm class, but by that time I'd been watching the news for roughly nine hours straight and I was getting to the point where even the bumper music between segments was bringing tears to my eyes. I think some part of me realized that this was going to be going for a long, long time, and I couldn't stay in my room forever. So I went. It was Elementary Physical Education, and a surprising number of people did show up. It was very quiet, the mood very somber. I was still having problems keeping from tearing up. The instructor came in, and talked a little bit and led a discussion about how we would have dealt with the events of the day if we had been a classroom teacher (do you tell the students or not? If you tell them, what do you tell them and how? What if a student has family in NYC or a relative in the Pentagon?) That lasted about 15 minutes, and then he let us go.
I don't remember a lot of specifics of that week, except that it was long. I usually would drive home on Fridays, but that week it was torture to not just get in my car and make the drive, and screw my classes. I didn't, though, basically out of sheer stubbornness.
It's funny. The last two years I've been at or on my way to Gatecon at this time.
There's been a lot of talk about the 1,000 'milestone' of deaths in Iraq. But three years ago we lost three times that many, not in a war we believed (and many of us still do) was in our national security interests, or in urban combat trying to help put a country back together, but in a senseless and unprovoked attack. As we endeavor to learn from our mistakes in the field of battle, we have to continue to apply the lessons we learned three years ago today.