Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/01 (2002)

NR, 62 min.
Featuring: Rudolph W. Giuliani

I lived near and in New York City for seven years of my life. I left NY in 1997. I have a great many friends who reside there. If the world were a perfect place, I’d still live there. I loved the city. It just didn’t fit into the other plans in my life. If I could work it in there, I would. There’s no greater place on Earth.

I’ll never forget where I was at about 8:15 a.m. CST on September 11, 2001, when our local radio station switched its feed to the Today Show’s live coverage of the shocking events that were in progress. I was sitting in the passenger seat of a work truck on Missouri Highway 240 headed from Marshall to Slater, the one-time childhood home of Steve McQueen. The sun was shining in my eyes, because the sun visors in the truck weren’t low enough to cover the sun at that time of day at that time of year. I was working on my father-in-law’s tree crew. We were headed to trim shrubs.

I couldn’t see very well, but I wasn’t looking anyway because something was very wrong in New York. I stared at the radio as if seeing into it would help me better understand what I was hearing. Nobody knew what was going on yet, but all the news coverage was tiptoeing around what everyone suspected—a terrorist attack. A plane had flown into the World Trade Center? That doesn’t just happen. A plane doesn’t fly over Manhattan by accident, I thought to myself; of course it’s a terrorist attack.

The second plane went into the second tower just before we started our job. I didn’t know if I could function. I suppose I was in some sort of shock. I couldn’t understand how anyone could just go to work with what was going on. But work we did, all day long, checking the radio for the latest updates every chance we got.

When I got home, I don’t remember registering anything but finding the TV and turning it on. Since everyone was covering it, it wasn’t hard to catch up. I must’ve spent the next hour with my jaw hanging open. I don’t remember eating that night. I don’t remember deciding I’d had enough. I think my wife and I just got to the point where our shock made us lay down for the night.

“In Memoriam”, HBO’s documentary commemorating the first anniversary of 9/11, isn’t the best document out there on the event; but its use of eyewitness footage taken by people stuck in the same awe and shock I felt that day, makes it one of the most effective documents for me of that dark day. I haven’t watched it every year since, only a handful of them. I just can’t take it some times. It brings me back to that day very well, however. It has great value because of this effect. It is important that we remember these moments of our lives. They define our place in the entirety of what we know, and we should never forget those who so senselessly lost their lives that day. 

Watch the documentary in its entirety below.

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