This is the first time I've done a real 9/11 post, so please bear with me. Or skip it entirely if you don't want to hear one more story about someone's reaction from a thousand miles away.
When it all started I was in Speech. It was my senior year of high school. All the classrooms had TVs, but our classrooms' TVs were off because we were giving speech presentations. Chris and Jason were in that class--actually, this class was where Chris introduced me to Jason. Anyhow, once that first-period class got out, we went out into the hall and Chris's twin brother James came right toward the three of us, very serious, saying something about planes and the World Trade Center. My homeroom was in a different building so I didn't hear most of it and I went back to thinking about how to let Jason down gently.
Those thoughts stopped when I got to homeroom and their TV was showing the news, and I realized what James had been talking about. Planes crashing into the Twin Towers WTF?
From homeroom to TV Production where the TV was on, but on silent with the closed captioning on, because groups were filming class projects. Towards the end of the class the teacher stopped everything and opened up the class for discussion. I asked if this was as big as Pearl Harbor, and he said that it was likely bigger.
Third block I had Volunteer Public Service (for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship I wound up not getting *whine*) at the Titusville Chamber of Commerce, conveniently right next to school so I didn't need a car, I could just walk. My big project there was putting together packets of info on housing, utilities, and such for people in other states looking to move to Titusville so they could work at Kennedy Space Center. The people who gave me my assignments let me watch the TV that was in the room where my Big Project was set up, and for the first and only time it was on. I was the one who told the others about the crash in Pennsylvania. I was wondering how many other plane crashes there would be, and where they'd be. And when the speculation started about Osama bin Laden, my first thought was oh fuck I hope not, because while I didn't know much about fundamentalist Islam or terrorism, I did know the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists, and I was worried that people would take their anger at these attacks out on Muslim Americans who'd had nothing to do with these attacks.
And damn if that didn't happen.
I was really proud, though, of how MTV and VH-1 sprang into action, playing patriotic and hopeful-sounding music videos and interviewing young people from all walks of life. I think by the end of the next day the "I. Am. American." commercials were all over the place.
I was also proud to see the lines going around the block near blood banks. I had school and my mom had work, so we waited until the weekend and didn't have much of a wait.
I wish that on these anniversaries of 9/11 that our leaders would make a point in their speeches where they talk about 9/11 as a day of service that blood donation is a great way to serve your country, save lives, and feel good about yourself. Also it's 500 calories gone bye-bye and you get cookies. The Titusville blood bank had Famous Amos cookies. :)
So...that's how 9/11 happened from behind my glasses. I don't think I saw anything other than news or the specials on VH-1 and MTV until that Thursday or Friday. We just wanted to know what was going on. A friend of my mom's collected stuffed animals (I contributed what few I had; I didn't become much of a plushie person until my 20s) and drove them up to New York since all flights were grounded. I wondered where my dad was in the sense of was he stuck somewhere in the Midwest or something because he was on a business trip or something but as far as I know my dad's never gone to New York City on business so that worry wasn't there. And if I remember correctly he was at home in Florida on that day anyway. My other worry was that my Uncle Mark, who's a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, would get called to active duty and have to go to war again. (He wasn't, for which I'm super grateful, 'cause he was active duty enlisted during Desert Storm when I was little and even at that young an age I saw how worried my mom was about her little brother.)
And all I'm gonna say about that fuckwit fundie jerkoff in Gainesville (HELLOOOOOO REDNECKSVILLE) is that I wish he'd never become famous. He doesn't deserve the attention, his blowhard asshole tactics have already caused one death, and it's making things worse for service members deployed overseas. And Chris and I are getting ready to move to Ft. Drum which is a quick-deploy station so Chris will be going to Afghanistan probably not long after we get there and and and I really just want to kick that bastard in the shins. *deep, shaky breath...deep breath...sigh* Yeah. I'm more than a little pissed off.
One more thing that happened in the days and weeks after the attacks--President Dubya said of the 9/11 hijackers, "these people have no religion." I was furious. Fuck you, George, I have no religion. They were true believers! They may have been fundie whackos who took their own holy book out of context, but they still believed in their God and their dogma. Which is why when then British Prime Minister Tony Blair said "This was an attack on all people of faith. And those of none," that I wanted to shake his hand and hug him and bake him cookies because that was something I needed to hear said in front of cameras and microphones by someone with power. I hope that I can meet him in person someday and thank him for that comment, even if I disagree with him on a whole bunch of stuff politically.
I just wish I could have heard it from an American political leader.