Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.
The timing may be a lot out of whack but this is just how I remember things.
My dad took me and my brother to our grandmother’s home in Tell City. It was our first simple get together since her husband, Grandfather Paul “Pockie” died. My brother, Andrew, and I were watching TV when the first tower fell. We couldn’t think of any family that might be in New York and we didn’t bring in our dad and grandmother when it happened. We were just two 21ish kids watching something really terrible happen. All four of us went to our favorite restaurant in Owensboro, at the Moon Light buffet, as we waited for any news. Our waitress told us that her son was in the Navy, a first lieutenant on the Enterprise, and that she was waiting for him to contact her. It was about 1:30 when we got back to Maxine’s home when we turned on the TV and saw the 2nd tower fall. My eyes were opened and my jaw was wide with “Oh my God.”
When everything finally sunk in and I was a little more collected, I wanted to do whatever I could to help out — from buying relief supplies to giving blood to trying to go to ground zero to aid in the rescue effort. My corporate pea brained boss told me that they couldn’t afford to buy a giant poster board that says, “Our prayers are with you” with all the signatures of the Meijer employees from our store. People were dead or dying and he couldn’t bring himself to do a decent thing for them, or put up any money for relief supplies. Things were bad at work but that’s what crossed the line for me and why I started looking for a new job. I wanted to go to ground zero and help with the search and rescue.
But my mom, knowing full well how these things are done, told me that they would only let in trained construction workers and medical staff. Of course I’d also have to put in for personal time off from work and my boss said, “We can’t afford to” as usual, so mark that off the list. Then I wanted to give blood. On the morning I was supposed to go to the Red Cross, my mom woke me and told me that they had all the blood they needed and that it would be a while before they could take more; which meant that my blood could spoil before it got used. Three strikes and I was out of ideas.
Then I heard one of my coworkers say that he was going to go to the mall and just walk around. He was going to show that he wasn’t going to live in fear at home. I couldn’t think of anything to buy but I went anyway. I haven’t watched the news since the president delivered the State of The Union address after 9/11 and I was a little unsure how he became the bad guy.
Through some conspiracy theories and some heresy times, I got how people might view the “War on Terrorism” as a means to make like a bandit and drain oil from a foreign nation. But know that I will not tarnish the heroics of the men and women of the NYPD or the FDNY by ranting about what has transpired since that dark and terrible day. Craig T. Nelson quoted the Policeman’s memorial in “The District” with ‘It’s not how they died, but how they lived, that made them heroes’. I have nothing but fear, admiration, and respect for the men and women of the NYPD, FDNY, and the United States military. God help us.