This day in MY history – September 11, 2001

As a way of acknowledging the anniversary of 9/11, I thought it would be interesting if I shared my posts from the blog I had back then. Not just the ones from that day, but also in the days and weeks following. I’ll tell you in another post how I managed to find an archive of my old blog — so excited about that.

Yesterday was my first time in a decade reading these blog posts, and it was kind of surreal. I can’t believe that I forgot that there was a bomb threat at my school.

Here are a few things you need to know:

1 – That morning I was mad at my mom because she had called my house really early and woke me up. It was the second day in a row. At 9:22 am I wrote a blog entry complaining about it, and then I called her so I could yell at her for waking me up.

2 – I had been dating my now soon to be ex-husband Jeffrey for a few months. At the end of August he had gone to Portugal to visit his sister and then to Ireland to renew his visa. He was flying back to NY on the morning of the attacks.

Just to warn you, there is a lot of cursing ahead. And I apologize for any statements you may find offensive. I know there will be quite a few. Even I find myself cringing at the hatred in my words. Please do not judge the 22-year-old me too harshly. It was an extremely emotional and scary time.

With that said…

September 11, 2001

9:45am – Okay fuck my problems. Absolutely insignificant in the scheme of things. I called my mom up and she asked me if I was watching the news. I said no, and she told me to hurry and put it on, that two airplanes had crashed into the Twin Towers. I turned it on, not quite believing. But then I saw a picture of the Twin Towers with smoke billowing out of the top. Then they said that another plane crashed into the Pentagon. And that there was a terrorist threat on the White House.

The first plane to crash into the Twin Towers was hijacked from Boston. But there’s no info on how many people are dead. All of the airports in the US are closed. (Which affects me because Jeffrey WAS supposed to be coming home today.) They don’t know about the second one or the third.

I’m actually scared right now. Fucking crazy ass people out there. Now I’m really crying, for myself and my children (if I’m stupid enough to bring any into this world) and for family and friends and people I don’t even know. For the people on the planes, and everyone.

This shit is unreal. I’m watching it live, and this lady was talking about what happened, and all of the sudden she started screaming. They panned to the second tower that was hit, and the whole thing was tumbling down and there was mad smoke. They don’t know if it’s a second explosion or a reverberation from the first.

I have to stop writing. I need to go to school. I need to call my cousin, because she works downtown like 3 blocks away from the World Trade Center. My phone isn’t working. My cell phone isn’t working. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. I need to see my mommy. I’m scared to go out. I’m not even kidding. I was 13 when the WTC bombing happened, and it didn’t really phase me. But now I’m scared.

6:18pm – I feel like we are a scarred generation. Our grandparents had WW2, our parents had Vietnam, and now we have this terrorism. I will not be having any children. There’s absolutely no way to justify bringing a child into this mad world that we live in.

I was freaking out. Both my dad and Judy work in the area. My dad works like two blocks away. I got in touch with Judy’s mom pretty quickly, and she’s fine, but I couldn’t get in touch with my father. Finally at around 2pm my brother told me that he had spoken to my father, and he was okay. My father was on the Brooklyn Bridge on his way home when the Tower collapsed.

I didn’t go to school. Instead I picked up Vera and we drove down to this pier that has a really nice view of the city. We stayed there for awhile in disbelief. We took a few pictures on her disposable camera. We sat and watched the city in flames. We watched people walking across the 59th street bridge back to Queens because there was no way to get out of the city by car.

I can’t fucking believe the Twin Towers are gone. They’ve always just … been there. It’s hard to write down how I’m feeling. Now there’s just going to be a big gap between the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty. I look in the sky and see F16’s flying overhead. It’s utter madness.

On the news they showed people jumping out of the WTC trying to save themselves. They died. I watched the Twin Towers collapse, one by one. Thousands of people presumed dead. Thousands.

I had so many thoughts running through my head today that I wanted to write down. I’ve lived in this city my entire life, and I just can’t come to grips with the fact that the Twin Towers are no longer going to be there. It’s already 6pm and the smoke is still going strong, because there’s no wind today.

And then there’s the 911 twist. That they did it today because today is September 11th, 9/11, 911 being our emergency number. Today is a day that I will never forget. I’ll be talking about this shit to … well, not to my kids because I’m not having any, but to my friends’ kids.

Here’s where all my fucking prejudices will come out for the fucking world to see. These fucking Arabs. Dancing in the fucking streets over there because of what’s going on here. Bastards. In times like this I understand when people says that the US should send ALL the Arabs back where they come from, citizens or not. Get them the fuck out of here.

Vera called me and said we bombed Afghanistan. I can’t find anything about it on the local news, but I’ll try CNN. Let a war start, Jesus. I’m watching footage on FOX and I swear it looks like something out of “Independence Day.” Start a war, and put all the Arabs into camps like we put the Japanese during WW2. Okay, I don’t know how I really feel about that statement. But I don’t know. I’m so confused on what to think. NY is in a state of war. I NEVER thought that I’d live through anything like this.

Okay FOX just said we bombed them a half hour ago. Good. Kill all those fucking fanatics. If a few innocents have to die in order to better the world then so be it. Vera thinks that these attacks make the US look weak. I don’t know. I can’t believe that in FOUR DIFFERENT AIRPORTS hijackers managed to get through security and on to the planes. It’s unbelievable.

Okay, now it’s a different version, it was Afghan rebels that bombed them. Whatever. Let them wipe each other out.

Jeffrey is stuck in Newfoundland. I don’t even know where that is. I still haven’t heard from him. I called up his airline and they gave recorded details. No flights going out of Newfoundland until Thursday. The plane landed at 12:30 but nobody was allowed off the plane until around 3. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Security at airports is at “Level 4.” I don’t know what that means, but I hope that he’s able to get back into the country.

7:48pm – Now I’m watching footage on NBC of these fucking Iraqis eating fucking cake and saying “God is good.” This one guy just said “Well maybe now America will realize that they shouldn’t mess with Iraq.” (Not an exact quote.)

Call me ignorant or whatever you want. Ten fucking missiles, headed straight to Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever the fuck and blow ALL THE MOTHERFUCKERS UP and that’s the end. Show all the fucking freaks out there that America will NOT take shit from ANYBODY.

Cheering in the streets. BLOW THE MOTHERFUCKERS UP. KILL THEM ALL. This shit isn’t said out of ignorance. It’s fucking anger. Osama bin Laden has been given asylum. What, you want to protect him? BLOW THEM ALL UP. Arafat, you want to pretend you didn’t know? BLOW THEM ALL UP.

8:11pm – I just saw, via tv, my first picture of the NYC skyline without the Twin Towers. It’s like a big black hole. Words can’t even describe the heartbreak that I feel.

11:19pm – So far I know one person that’s still missing. This guy James. I’ve known him since I was 12 or 13. He went to school with Kathy and Judy, and we all used to hang out together. I didn’t know him that well, but well enough to think about going to the funeral, should he … not turn up. He worked in one of the buildings on the 101st floor.

September 12, 2001

12:20pm – Now I know two people that are missing. This lady who lives on the block where I lived for 15 years, her son is missing.

So I was driving home. When the LIE meets the Grand Central there’s a pretty decent view of the skyline. I’ve driven that way hundreds of times and never even noticed the view. But today I noticed the Empire State Building, which is now the tallest building in NYC, and then I looked to the left and there’s only smoke. I can’t even remember what the skyline looked like before. It’s only smoke.

I will keep reiterating the fact that the Twin Towers are gone.

I went to school and my only class for today was canceled. School is open though, which I think is pretty bad. Not for me, per se, because my school is in Queens, but all CUNY schools are open, including the ones in the city. Guiliani said on the news that he wants everyone to stay out of the city if possible. So how are you going to keep schools open?

The signs of this tragedy are everywhere. I was driving to school, and going in the other direction on the highway there were at least 20 fire engines and emergency vehicles speeding towards the city. They were from Long Island. Flushing Meadow Park is closed. There are police cars blocking the entrances to the airports. To get into Marine Air Terminal (which is a different entrance to the airport and as of now the only entrance) there are people stopping cars that are trying to get in and checking passes.

Vera developed the pictures we took on the disposable camera. I’m going to head over to Kinko’s in a little bit and scan them. They came out pretty clear.

I’ve been talking with this guy online from North Carolina for about a year. He just told me that some of the “country fucks” (his term) beat up three Arabs in the Walmart in his area. I definitely don’t agree with that. All the shit I was spouting yesterday, I don’t know what was true. I don’t know what I feel. I don’t believe in punishing a group based on the actions of a few. But to see all those fucking ANIMALS eating cake and celebrating in the streets, it’s like a fucking knife. It goes against all sensibility. I could never rejoice in the death of others, no matter what my political convictions.

I just saw my first footage of the first Tower getting hit.

Enough. I finally got an email from Jeffrey this morning. I learned that Newfoundland is in Canada. His plane was an hour away from NY when they were told to go away. They tried to go to Toronto and Montreal airports but they were full, so they headed for Newfoundland. They had to stay on the plane for 13 hours, which is a total of 22 hours on the plane. The town or province or whatever it is only has 4,000 people. He said that 50 planes have landed there. There’s plenty of food but he’s sleeping on a dance floor. The town doesn’t have the capabilities to deal with all these people so they’re talking about flying back to Ireland tomorrow.

If that happens he will be fucked, because he was only allowed on the plane to NY “by the grace of God,” and he doubts that he will be allowed back into the US if he tries again. US airports (except for NY and DC) were supposed to open today at noon, but that has been canceled indefinitely. I’m praying that they are opened by tomorrow so that he can at least fly into the US, maybe Newark or Boston or upstate NY, and then he can train or bus it into the city.

3:22pm – Watching the news. Someone was arrested for looting last night. No shame, I tell you, no fucking shame at all. The thought that looting might happen never even entered my mind. Some Arabs have also been fucked with. Truth be told I didn’t think that would happen in NYC. I always thought that NYC was more open-minded than the rest of the country, not including the other big cities.

I don’t know what to think about the whole thing. Of course I don’t think that all Arabs should be sent back. I don’t think they should be put in camps. That was my rage talking. When I read this book about the Japanese internment camps I cried like a baby. My mom’s side of the family is Jewish. OF COURSE I could never believe in that shit. EVER. It’s just so hard to figure out what the solution is.

I think we’re going to go to war. And I feel that if Afghanistan doesn’t give up bin Laden in a few days we should start bombing. Innocent people will die. Of course. How often do the culprits die? It’s always the innocents. But the US is the strongest country in the world, and the country with the most enemies as well. We’re going to strike back. It’s a given. Innocent people out there will die, sure, but that’s the price that the world will have to pay. It’s a fucked up world we live in.

I was going to go with Kathy to donate blood, but she called the hospital and they told her not to come in today, that they already have more donors than they can handle. So we’re going to try to go tomorrow.

Apparently some airports are going to open at 6pm and the flights that were grounded are going to be allowed to finish their trip. I hope that goes for international flights as well.

7:30pm – My “personal death toll” is now up to three. I hate to say “death,” because there’s always a possibility that they’re still alive. But it’s not likely. The third is this kid that I went to my first college with. He was 22 years old.

The interviews with the families of the people who were on the airplanes that called them on the cell phones before the planes crashed are fucking heart-wrenching. Watching the people on tv that have people missing in the WTC is heart-wrenching.

At times like this I almost wish that I really believed in God. That I could go to church and ask God why. That I could find some comfort in the fact that even if those responsible don’t suffer in this life, they will in the next.

But I don’t. It’s nice to believe in an afterlife, but what if there is none? I figure that we should get those fuckers now, JUST IN CASE.

I just got off the phone with Jeffrey. I feel so much better now that I talked to him. He wasn’t sure what was going on as far as the airports go, but right before he called me he found out some news. The Newfoundland airport opened. Flights that were heading to Europe will be leaving tomorrow. But his flight is staying there until JFK opens, be it tomorrow or Friday. I hope it’s tomorrow.

He said that he was on the plane for a total of 22 hours, but that they kept some Arabs that were on the planes for like 35 hours. They just let them off right now. I think it’s horrible. On the news they showed the guy who was arrested in Boston, I think. I think that’s fucked up too. What if he isn’t connected?

September 13, 2001

1:11am – FOX news said that JFK is opened. So Jeffrey should be in my arms tomorrow.

Apparently there was a 5th plane that was supposed to be hijacked out of JFK. (This is all speculation. NBC is the bomb with the news though, for real.) Three Arabs were on a plane heading from NYC to LA, but they were acting or doing something that was suspicious so they ended up getting kicked off the plane. By the time the police or security got there the men had disappeared.

NY (and I guess the whole country) is on edge. There was a bomb scare at the Empire State Building. A dog sniffed out a suspicious package and the Bomb Squad was called in. The evacuated the whole Midtown area, but it ended up being a false alarm.

I was watching Dateline and the children in Oklahoma City were sending teddy bears to the kids in NYC, it was so damn sad. The kids were speaking and I just looked at my brother and started bawling. He was sleeping though.

I’m so tired of this. I want to write about something else. I want to watch a funny movie. But I can’t. I feel like writing about anything that’s not connected with this is disrespectful, and the thought of watching a movie while people are out there looking for family members seems so wrong.

2:20am – Almost forgot. Seems that Iraq knew about it. It’s only suspicion right now. But last week they called up an insurance company to get an $8 million dollar policy in case of any damage to their building. Which is right near the White House, which was the intended target of the plane that hit the Pentagon.

What was that? Yeah, BLOW THE FUCKERS UP.

4:53pm – Over 90 bomb threats in NYC today. And I was in one of them.

I was in my first class, my math class, thinking how ridiculous it was to be there while workers were digging up bodies and while people were being evacuated from LaGuardia airport because of bomb threats. Learning math seemed pointless. I wrote a paragraph down on my looseleaf that I was going to write up here, for the first time in what seems like forever having nothing to do with the past few days. I thought that maybe today was the day when people would start to resume their lives.

WRONG!

It was fucking crazy. It was at the end of my history class, at 12:50, when the fire alarm bells started going off. For some reason I didn’t take it too seriously, which is pretty retarded considering what’s been going on all over the place, but nobody else seemed to be paying much heed to the bells either. Even the professor. He finished up his lecture and let us go. Instead of hurrying out of the building I went into the bathroom to blow my nose. I was in a stall and there was another girl fixing herself in the mirror. All of the sudden she started banging on the bathroom door and said “Hurry up! They’re evacuating the building.”

We left out of the bathroom and ran down the stairs. People were outside without a clue of what was going on. Then all of the buildings were evacuated. Then the security guards and professors started yelling at everybody to get away from the buildings, to go stand in the parking lot. Then the fire engines and police cars started rolling up. About 5 fire engines, 3 police cars.

We had to wait outside for about 30 minutes before they said it was a fake bomb threat. Then we had to wait another 10 minutes while they decided if classes would resume. I wanted to go home right then, but since I missed the first week of classes I didn’t want to take a chance that professors would actually be teaching shit. So I went to my spanish class and waited for about 15 minutes and only 5 people, not including the professor, showed up. So I left and went to see if Jeffrey had emailed me with his arrival time. Then I called to see if my health class was still going to be going on. It wasn’t, so I headed for the comfort of my home.

How the fuck can I get over this when it’s everywhere I go? I was never really scared, because if there had really been a bomb then I would think that they would have told us to get the fuck out of there, not to just stand in the parking lot 30 feet away from the buildings. 90 fucking bomb threats. What the fuck is wrong with people?

Anyway. Jeffrey isn’t coming home today. Hopefully tomorrow.

September 22, 2001

1:44pm – It’s been so long since I last wrote. Jeffrey got back into the states last Saturday, and I’ve basically spent the whole week with him. All we’ve done is smoke and watch DVDs, and considering the tragedy going on around me I didn’t feel it was appropriate to write about my daily bullshit.

September 27, 2001

7:26pm – I got this image in a forward today. I’m not religious or anything, but I thought this was really nice.

Yesterday my mother ran into John, whose brother is James, who was the first person on my WTC personal death toll. I never told her about James, so when she ran into John she had no idea. She chitchatted as usual, but when she saw he wasn’t joking back she asked what was going on. He told her about James.

It brought all the emotions back to me. I’ve been crying all day. Watching the news, then on Montel it was all these survivor stories. Even now as I’m sitting here typing I’m trying really hard not to cry. Jeffrey is already out of the shower, and Stu is laying on the couch that directly faces me. I don’t want them to see me cry.

Then I opened that email and even though I don’t believe in God it just made me cry so much. I think about James and all the people who died in the tragedy and it’s like Why? I really can’t understand it. Not terrorism. I understand that there are crazies out there. But why did so many people have to die?

I obviously don’t know what I would have done if I had been in the WTC. But there were 18 minutes between the plane crashes, and a half hour before the first building collapsed. PLENTY of time for the buildings to be evacuated. I don’t know. It’s just all these pointless deaths.But now I’m rambling. Jeffrey’s cousin was a fireman, one of the first on the scene, and he’s dead.

Death is everywhere, and even though I try to get through the day without thinking about it I just can’t.

October 4, 2001

9:30pm – Tonight I went with Jeffrey to his great uncle’s house, to pay respects over the loss of his son. It’s a complicated family history that I don’t feel like getting into right now, but Jeffrey met his great uncle for the first time last year, and he never met the son.

We got there and the uncle wasn’t there. Only his wife and their priest. They were making funeral arrangements. We went in and Jeffrey and her were talking, and I was just looking around. Pictures and cards everywhere. She took Jeffrey into another room to show him something, and it was just me and the priest. I looked at the pictures and I said something lame like “it’s so sad.” He agreed. Then I just started to cry. And cry. I had to actually leave the apartment because I was crying so hard, and I didn’t want the aunt to see me and then maybe she’d start crying. So I left, composed myself, and went back in. We left like 2 minutes after that, and I hugged her good by, and I said “I’m sorry” and kind of started crying again. She said “Thank you” and I could hear her voice start to get choked up. The funeral is next Friday.

I spoke to Judy yesterday. She was the one who informed me about James. I told her about my mom running into John, James’ brother, and we got into a conversation and I found out a few more heartbreaking details.

John, James, and their sister Michelle ALL worked in the WTC. John and James worked in tower 2, and Michelle worked in tower 1. When the first tower was hit John told James to stay there, that he would go and find out about Michelle, figuring it would be safer for James to stay where he was. James did, and then tower 2 was hit. He was on the 105th floor.

I can’t even imagine the guilt that John must be living with. The family is coming to accept, or rather admit to, the fact that James is dead, and his funeral will be soon. There was a memorial for my old neighbor’s son over the weekend. A memorial, not a funeral, because obviously there was no body.

I have to stop writing. I can’t stop crying. I can feel myself falling into a slight depression, and I don’t need that weight on my shoulders right now.

October 21, 2001

9:07pm – Yesterday was James’s memorial mass. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever witnessed in my whole life. But first let me take the time to describe Jeffrey’s cousin’s funeral.

The service started at 3pm. When we got there there were HUNDREDS of fireman in dressup uniform in front of the church. It was touching. People had already started to go in the church, and by the time we got in there weren’t any seats left, so we had to stand in the back. The service was beautiful and extremely sad.

I cried a lot, as did everyone else in the church. Jeffrey wanted to make sure that his relatives saw he was there, so we went up and took communion, and I ended up taking it from the priest who was at his aunt’s house the night we went there, the one I cried in front of.

After we took communion we left, and I was pretty sad for the rest of the night.

On to James. The mass was at 3pm yesterday, and I met up with Kathy, Judy and Maria at the church. First was the mass, and then after the mass James’s brothers and sisters all spoke. Six of them. It was over at 4:45, and I was basically crying the entire time.

They handed out programs, and James’s picture was on the front. It’s a picture of him smiling, but his eyes look watery, like he was almost about to cry. All I had to do was look at the picture and I was bawling. I’ll get it scanned, one day. All throughout the mass you could hear people sobbing. Even the people who were doing the readings were crying, and the priest was all choked up.

I think it was especially sad because he was a neighborhood boy. The church, which is pretty big, was packed, and people were standing. I saw the faces of people I’ve known ever since I was a little girl. Girls I went to ballet with. Guys I had crushes on when I was like 12. Girls that I thought were SO COOL, because they were pretty and they dressed really nice, when I was 8. And everyone was grown up, brought to one place because we’re all in mourning.

It was one of those experiences you read about in books. Where the main character has some sort of epiphany and realizes that he’s not a child anymore. And that pain and sadness lie ahead.

Sitting in the church. Watching the family grieve. Sitting next to a women who lost her son. Looking at the guy walking past who lost his sister. It’s just so senseless.

When the family spoke … what can I say? Everyone was crying. I’ve said that already. Sobbing. I can’t even describe the amount of tears that were flowing.

After the mass I hung out with Kathy for awhile, then went to my mom’s. The VH1 concert was on, and that just started the tears back up. By the time I got back to Jeffrey’s I had a headache the size of … something really big. I’m finding it hard to express myself right now.

…………………………………………………………………..

That’s all.

Below is a photo of James and some of the pictures I took on 9/11.

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About notchangingmyname

I'm a thirty-something, about-to-be-divorced, former blogger trying to navigate single life.
This entry was posted in Blog, Life, Personal, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to This day in MY history – September 11, 2001

  1. Jeni Johnson says:

    Quite the read sailor mouth. 😉 I’m really impressed you had a blog for so long. I wish I got started years ago! Truly a sad day, today’s my Moms birthday, she’ll never forget it she said on the day of the attack.

    • Ugh it must suck to have something so horrible happen on a day that’s supposed to be happy.

      • Jeni Johnson says:

        Yes, but today’s my Moms birthday so in light of 9/11 thankfully I have her life to celebrate and that brings happiness to lessen the tragedy. I was up getting ready, blasting the news like I usually do when I saw the 1st plane hit. I tout I was dreaming. I sat my self down on my bed and felt despair for those involved….ugh.

  2. Tony Bird says:

    Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing that day, but you were right there in the city. I can’t even imagine . . .
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I’m really glad that you made this post. And to see those pictures are so surreal. I know everyone’s experience are so different. I’ll always remember where I was (on my way to pick up my boyfriend because he was drunk and spent the night out with friends the night before) and at the time when I was so upset, moments later it all seemed so trivial. And the pictures are eery and haunting at the same time. BUT I’m glad you still have them because it definitely puts things into perspective 11 years later.

    • Exactly. I was sooo mad at my mom for waking me up! Like I wanted to curse her out! So trivial. It was good to reread it just to be reminded of how silly it is to sweat the small stuff, since everything can change in an instant.

  4. Very moving post, and so insightful for a non-American like myself.

  5. I saw that Tony tweeted your post, so glad he did! Very vivid writing, glad you had that saved! Thank you for sharing.

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