Revisiting 9/11

7/29/2020

Today marks, not a date of significance, but the re-watching of a Blue Bloods episode linked to 9/11. So, with that thought in mind I am going to post my thoughts on the day. Hopefully, not having the actual anniversary in play will allow it to have a softer tone for those of you who are still angry or hurt after all this time.

one point – even nearly two decades, the thoughts are scattered so forgive the execution.

9/11/2001

I was in my home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I was married and he was off on a job in Pittsburgh working on a power plant that was working at a diminished level which goes with off season use. 

That morning I got up like any other day. As we all know, it was a Tuesday that was bright, crisp and easy to remember as one of the good ones. Or at least, it could have been. After washing up, I put on my uniform for work, and went downstairs. I was a clerk at a local hardware store, and often was on the ten to closing shift since I have experience working with banking. The first thing I did after grabbing a cup of coffee was sit down at the computer and to log into my email. I never got that far.

The photo of a plane in flight heading toward the tower with the headline of a crash was only post I saw. Jumping up, I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV just in time to miss the second collision. 

The sense of utter disbelief and possible explanations that we all felt at the time were flying through my mind as I took in what the news report was sharing. Had I been on the west coast, where I am now, I may have missed it all. Had I not taken my time getting ready and grabbed coffee first, I may have seen every moment. As it was, I spent the day looking for more information, seeking out every nugget I could find in an attempt to explain away the horror.

Even at work I listened to the radio as loud and long as they would allow me to. Of course, the morning anchor had to make mention that, had this truly been a terrorist attack, the power plants would have been a more destructive way to share their message. Fortunately, I was able to express my displeasure about that via email, and because of it, I spent the day stressed that it would become a possible threat. That is until a couple of my ex’s coworkers came into work and allayed my fears. After United 93 crashed within 30 miles of us, it was a significant moment that brought a little relief to the day.

That night we went out for dinner and, of course, we spent the night watching the news, filling in the blanks that the audio from the radio didn’t fill that morning. 

I learned of a small aircraft that was redirected after nearly being hit by Flight 93… to the airport 2 miles down the road that I lived on. I saw people who unified on the streets of New York, caring not who those near them were, but rather that they all were shocked and feeling the same helpless sensation I felt from a state away.

I began to track the emergency personnel lost in the towers, and followed every prediction and detail I could get my hands on. 

To this day, nearly 19 years later, I am still seeking information. I have read books from the family members, and solid news sources, placing them within easy reach to use in the classroom every year. In all this time, I still connect more to the 93 symbolism, than 911. My birthday is September 3rd. It was also Jeremy Glick’s, a man who helped fight back on Flight 93 and kept one more building from falling under attack.

My mission is to bring an awareness to my students and any around me, to the fact that hundreds… thousands… of people walked away from jobs to join the service. To help sift through the rubble of ground zero. To provide services to those individuals unable to leave The Pile without having found every person possible.

A favorite movie that I hunt for every year around this time is called “The Guys” with Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia. The two of them drive the narrative as he is trying to find the words to share with families so there is a proper memorial service for six of his coworkers, even if no remains can be found. Sigourney provides the words by interviewing him allowing the shock, anger, and sadness, even joy at the men’s personalities, to wash over them. Riding that wave takes me back, but it also supplied one thing that took a good four years for me to do. 

I always find a way to put emotions into poetry. It took me until March of 2005 to find those words. To know how to encapsulate the day into a few short stanzas expressing my appreciation for the men and women who leave home every day striving to do nothing more than keep their cities and towns as safe as possible.

For me, teaching of the day is a mission that I must do so no one is forgotten. The writing is a plus that helps me keep my mind focused. Weed out all of the details that overwhelm rather than support the cause. It also helps me create new lessons for my crew to do regarding the towers, but I still fall back to the same favored lesson. 

It came from a history buff who had a degree, but chose, instead to leave a drawing on my chalkboard, when he worked as one of our maintenance staff. He depicts the impact zones on the towers and asks, how could the buildings have been built allowing everyone a chance to escape? The favorite is to equip every desk with a parachute. Ingenious, and quite interesting that three different schools worth of students have chosen the same answer.

I wish I could say that I was one who had moved past the event, but I may be one that processes September 11 for the rest of their life.  I hope whatever trials you have faced, are facing, or will face, can be encapsulated into their own bubble of art or activity that will help you process faster and more effectively.

Thank you for listening to me ramble yet one more time.

Hope you are well and taking care.

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

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