Remembering 9/11/01

Hard to imagine it was 8-years-ago. I just graduated college that spring and had just gotten back from a two-month jaunt in Europe — that sort of carefree living you’re expected to do at 21. I was living with my parents to save some money (since I blew it all on drugs and hookers in Amsterdam) and figuring out the next move, looking for a job, etc.

The morning in Boston was unusually crisp and bright, fall was definitely beginning to creep in. I plodded downstairs, half asleep, and went about my normal routine at the time: pour one large mug of coffee, prepare a bowl of Lucky Charms, turn on television to check if the 7 a.m. Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode on FX was a repeat, change channel to ESPN.

Of course neither Buffy or SportsCenter was on — just the images of the above and the newscasters trying to fill in the details of what just happened. Two planes leaving out of Logan Airport had crashed into the towers. Oh fuck, I thought. The adrenaline rushed into my system propelling me from half-asleep to wide awake and alert. What plane was my dad flying out of that morning from Logan Airport?

I called my mom at the school she was working at. Have you heard? Yes, everyone is panicking around here, she said. Can you can your Dad’s office to see if they have any more information? Yes. They don’t know which flights out of Logan Airport were hijacked, yet. Okay good. But, I said, his plane left at around the same time as the other two. I know she said. You could feel the fear and worry through her voice. What she was really saying was I pray to god your father wasn’t on one of those flights.

I called his office, they didn’t know anything but would call to check in keep me updated. I watched the television like a zombie watching the coverage over and over again. The two planes were en route to L.A. There was a window of hope that he was still alive. We’ll here from him I thought.

I left the house to go buy some music. It was a decision that didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t watch the carnage anymore. I felt powerless and small. Scared even. Buying music gave me comfort. I bought Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Fairytales, Ben Fold’s Rocking the Suburbs, The Soundtrack for Memento. Weird choices.

Everything was frantic. Boston was being evacuated. My sister and good friend Steve worked in Boston. His friend Bobby worked on Wall Street. Was he okay?

More coverage, this time BBC America. They should events uncensored. It was worse than I imagined.

2:30 p.m. no word on my Dad. Nobody really had cellphones back then. He’ll call when he can.

More coverage. More coffee. I haven’t even changed out of my pajamas and sweatshirt yet.

3:30 my dad’s office calls. They had to immediately ground all FAA traffic. He’s in South Carolina, his plane is okay. He’ll call when he can.

I felt happy for the first time in a long time. Genuine, overwhelming happiness. It was short-lived. He was okay. He was alive. We talked quickly later that night about his ordeal. But he was coming home eventually.

There are thousands of stories, millions more for New Yorkers, similar to mine, but they end in tragedy instead of elation. This fills me with a deep sadness. Crippling sadness.

The details of this day will never dull. What’s your 9/11 story?

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