Infamous Day #September11

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes in...

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center complex in New York City during the September 11 attacks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listened to the radio a lot in my long commute to work every morning.  Sometimes, I chose a music station, sometimes talk radio.  On September 11th, 2001 it didn’t matter.

I made it to work in Murray, Utah but sat in the car for a while, waiting for a break in the coverage so that I could have time to login to my computer and stream the news once I got to my desk.  AM/FM radios didn’t work well in our office space.  At the time I still hadn’t figured out what had happened, only that a tragic airliner accident had occurred in New York and that it was probably a terrorist attack.

I read later that Walmart did record sales on 9-11 on rabbit-ear antennae, because folks working in office buildings across the country wanted to access coverage on their training video setups in conference rooms.  We were one of those offices.  I arrived upstairs to find everyone gathered around the TV, like in that newsroom on the movie Independence Day.  It was then that I watched the second jetliner hit the second World Trade Center tower and knew of a surety that this was no accident…that people had done it on purpose to kill other people.

That’s when the shock and the horror turned into anger and tears.

Very little work got done at my workplace, mostly discussion and research into the available facts surrounding the event.  I don’t think I have any friends or relatives directly linked to the relatives of the victims, and my politics are far removed from those of the people of New York by and large.  But I love people and hate to see anyone hurt.  I love my country, for all of its flaws, and I grieved deeply for the loss of those brothers and sisters and their families who I would never meet.

I read about people hanging flags from overpasses, and saw one on my commute home.  I knew of an overpass where a remote country road crossed the freeway in Peterson, a town near the house in Morgan where I lived.  I took the cheap flag that we set out on holidays out of the closet and went there.  I stood over each oncoming lane of traffic in turn and waved it in the wind, high over my head, as the horns of the vehicles passing underneath me on I-84 sounded in reply, until I couldn’t lift the flag anymore.  I waved the flag for them, they honked for me, and together we mourned.

Middle-east terrorism became personal that day, for myself and most of the people of my country.  The nation was even one for a while, before everyone started pointing fingers.  Before January of the next year all of the old rivalries and disagreements had returned, but all of us still share the legacy of the event in our hearts.  A terrible tragedy, intended to destroy a culture, now binds us together on at least one issue.  Before 9-11 I watched a documentary advising people to acquiesce if they are ever taken hostage by terrorists.  After those towers, and the Pentagon, and that plane lying in a field, I think it firmed everyone’s resolve in such a way that nothing like that will ever be tolerated again by travelers in this country.  All civilized people still have an animal, with its instinct for self-preservation and species protection, sleeping inside them.  There exists a hidden courage in the hearts of all men and women that ignites whenever they can clearly see and end result that they know they won’t like.  Experts tell us now to introduce ourselves to those sitting next to us on flights, to put our fellow passenger at ease so that they have nothing to fear from us.  Now I always do that, and even though I usually travel alone, now I always travel with a new friend.

Frustrated at the antiseptic approach that the media took in its war coverage, I wrote Another Man’s Terrorist.  When I couldn’t get it published in Jim Baen‘s Universe, Roy Dudgeon invited me to include it in his upcoming anthology Satirica.  The story wasn’t a perfect fit for that book, and exceeded the size requirements, but Roy let me publish it there anyway.  I started this blog to promote Another Man’s Terrorist, so that my earliest posts talk of it, terrorism, child soldiers, etc.  The same publisher that took Satirica for Roy also took my book, Into the Dark: Escape of the Nomad

The land in which I live has been a land of peace for every day of my life except for September 11th, 2001.  Yet, that day changed me like non other.  Nothing will ever bring me back to the person I was before the towers fell.  It is my second birthday.  Into the Dark isn’t written on that theme of course, I moved on, as did this blog, but I can never forget that event.  It has indelibly stitched itself into my history, my published works, my very soul.

911 We Will Never Forget  the Victims, their F...

911 We Will Never Forget the Victims, their Families and Heroes of September 11th 2001 (Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo Insogna)

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~ by Bill Housley on September 11, 2013.

One Response to “Infamous Day #September11”

  1. powerfully written; thanks for including my humble post :)

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