United Flight 175 from
A flight attendant has been stabbed. The plane is flying erratically. Many passengers, huddled in the back, are vomiting.
A passenger calls his father.
“I think they’re taking the plane to ------------------------------------------
At that morning, I woke up with a terrible headache. I had gone to bed with that same headache. It was so intense, I’d just curled up on the sofa to sleep, leaving the TV on our local Fox station. It was bad enough that I determined I would not go into work. I would not try to call until after , as our office had just moved to another building, four blocks from the White House, and there was only one functioning phone and no Internet connection. I would call the cell phone of one of my coworkers. I set the alarm on my watch for and fell back asleep.
American Airlines Flight 11 from
A friend of mine is in her
I open one eye and see the Fox news time and temperature stamp still in the lower right corner. That’s not right. The news should be over. I put my glasses on and see the
As I listen to the office phone ring and ring, I see it.
9: United Airlines Flight 175 hurtles into the
“Oh no,” the Fox anchor quietly says. “This cannot be an accident.”
My friend in
And now, my hands are shaking. I start calling my friend at his World Bank office, even though I know his workday doesn’t begin until . I need to talk to him. I turn on the radio, which is set to the shock jock station. Howard Stern is humorlessly broadcasting from
And George Bush smiles and reads from My Pet Goat.
American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
I have no recollection when I finally got through to my friend. I just remember telling him to get out, get out, get out. He’s gotten calls from loved ones in the
He is one block from the White House.
He begins his long walk to
My friend in
My dear friend in
United Airlines Flight 93 goes down in
I haven’t been able to get through to my family. No one is sure what is happening. So many rumors. My brother finally gets through to me from the
Phone lines go down. My radio goes dead. I start to sob. And then I get in the car and drive. South. To the District line. To find my friend.
I’m driving, my hands shaking on the steering wheel with each new panicked rumor. To get to Quartermaine’s and meet my friend, see my friend, hug my friend, make sure he is okay, I have to pass between Bethesda Naval Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health - a corridor of military medicine and medical research - cancer research, AIDS research, infectious diseases, nuclear medicine. The police and military presence is overwhelming. Traffic is barely moving, and I am driving toward a target zone.
I'm not paying attention to the clock. Time is passing, but seems unimportant. I make an illegal left, carving my way through thick northbound traffic, to enter the stripmall lot. Everyone looks shell-shocked, and is alarmingly quiet. Don & Mike, good time guy DJs are now on the radio, quietly reporting from
I hug my friend. That is all the world I need right then. That is all I need. The entire universe in the face of my friend and in his bonecrushing hug.
Going to work after this is strange. The smell of smoldering jet fuel and burning office supplies… and human flesh… it lingers for days and drifts across the
Other than the helicopters and the sweeps and booms of military craft, there is silence in the skies. I live on a flight path. It’s unnatural. Even the dopplered whistles of CSX and Amtrak trains rumbling through three-tenths of a mile from my door make me jump. Nothing is right. Nothing will ever be quite right again.
My friend in New York quits her job. For days after the attacks, she works in the Armory, helping survivors and family members of those lost. She moves to Puerto Rico and gives up the corporate fast track to study health food and herbal cures. She's still there.
Planes return to the air, but later, much later to DC. I remember dropping a glass in the sink the first time I hear a plane coming across the sky above my home after Everything Changed. I remember the silence of all the passengers the first time I flew again. I took a delegation of Central Asian computer experts to
It's useless to explain. I am suspect. There are a lot of tears by my 9th search. I feel persecuted. I’m crying on the plane to Vegas from
I don’t fly much now. Flying is no longer fun. I’m the daughter of a pilot, and flying is no fun.
I don’t trust our government. I am suspicious of them. And I’m embarrassed and ashamed of the smarmy cronyism, bootlicking, and unworthy appointments of
I don’t trust the judgment of more than half of this nation. To twice choose a man who couldn’t keep a private company running. To choose a fool. And to make us look like boobs on the world stage. And to trust a man who can’t even pick advisors who don’t lie to him. WMDs my ass. No one ever thought the levees wouldn't hold. Get real.
I’m ashamed of this government, and I’m frightened of the damage that has been done to us for generations to come. 9/11 was a horrific event, but sadly it was used as an opportunity for the “government of less government” to smilingly, insidiously begin the process of reducing our civil liberties, of slowly sucking away our privacy in the name of security. It’s very Soviet. It’s Soviet Lite. It’s the
Unlike most Americans born in this country, I lived in a Socialist country for several years. I saw a lot of ugliness. The Soviets did a great deal with pretty posters and patriotic music, too. And they monitored what people read, what people bought, where they traveled. Sound familiar?
I pray for our nation. What we have now is no greatest generation. What could have risen from the ashes of the
And George Bush strums a guitar and smiles as Katrina bears down on the Gulf Coast.
I’m glad I can still write these words, but I’m sure I’m on some list somewhere now.
Pray for us.