Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Forget

Today is a Tuesday, just like that day 11 years ago. We didn’t have Facebook or Twitter and most people still got their news from the television, not the internet. Today people are posting on FB what they were doing when they heard the news.

I came into the office at the No-Name Software Company and my Team Lead had a smile on his face. Neal said a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. At that moment, we didn’t know what was happening. Neal just thought it was cool that a plane had crashed into a big building.

When the second plane slammed into the other tower and the first tower collapsed, we knew something more was afoot.

It was so surreal, as everyone has said. The days following were eerily quiet. We looked to the skies for the planes we expected to see going to and coming from O'Hare airport. All air traffic had been stopped and the birds enjoyed the skies to themselves for a while.

A few days later, there was a call to light a candle and step outside at a specific time in remembrance. I recall going outside and seeing no one, the only candle I had was my Confirmation Candle from RCIA. One of my neighbors later claimed she and her roommate had also gone out. I didn’t say anything but my thought was really, you need to fib about that!

In the days and weeks after 9/11, people were noticeably nicer to one another. At the time there was genuine concern more so than fear that the terrorists would strike again and quickly, particularly here in Chicago.

As much I was not a fan of President Bush, I do not criticize him for continuing to read to a classroom of students when someone whispered what was going on in his ear. I do absolutely hate him for the Patriot Act and the creation of TSA. I also have a hard time believing his lack of action directly caused 9/11.

If it didn’t happen on September 11th, we would be saying things like “remember 9/23 or never forget 10/14.” My point is that something was going to happen and for that I do blame Bush and others. Like it or not, our foreign policy has been inconsistent and grossly shortsighted for decades.

We will forget. Not my generation or anyone old enough to fully comprehend what was happening that Tragic Tuesday eleven years ago. We will always think of 9/11 as our Pearl Harbor Day. But even today 9/11 is becoming a faded memory for many, especially those that were not directly affected like New Yorkers, First Responders, and relatives of the fallen.

In 2001, we talked about the events of that Tragic Tuesday for months. The FB posts and Mimes related to 9/11 have already been replaced by current events like the Chicago Public School teachers strike locally and the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya nationally. We will forget.

I wanted to write a lot more about 9/11 but as I already technically missed the deadline, I'm posting what I have and moving on. 

In October of 2001, I ran my 4th marathon, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. My previous three marathons yielded finish times that were over 4 hours, including the 4:00:56 time in 2000. I so wanted to break 4 hours.

There were three songs that I keep running through my head (I don't run with headphones).

Perfect Memory by Remy Zero

Still Fighting It by Ben Folds

Superman  by Five for Fighting.

I don't know why these three songs stuck in my head other than perhaps at the time they were used as background music in some post 9/11 documentaries.  All I can say is that on October 7th, 2001, I not only broke 4 hours, I set a new PR by almost 15 minutes and I think it had something to do with these songs running through my head.

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