Where was I on 9/11?
I noticed a few weeks back the Times- Standard invited readers to send in their 9/11 experiences for possible publication in their obligatory 9/11 memorial issue being run tomorrow, I thought I'd break with the crowd and do mine early. Should have probably ignored the event altogether, as I usually try to ignore the main media topic of the day, but decided what the heck. But, I should be able to avoid the touchy- feely type stories we'll hear from most media outlets.
So where was I when it happened? Right here, sitting at the computer. Actually, I didn't have my Alienware machine back. I was using my old 600mhz E- machines system and had just started doing my morning computer routine: Check the e- mail, check the news, enter my sweepstakes, check more news and then answer any e- mails that required a response. I don't know that I'd even heard of blogs back then, although I'm sure they might have been around.
Back then I'd wake up a bit before 6am(?) and get right to it. That morning was no different. I went through my e- mail and there wasn't any mention of anything newsworthy. The wife had the clock- radio set to wake her around 6am and the radio came on right about the time I'd finished the first look at my e-mail and I was heading up to the web to take my first look at the news.
Unlike a normal morning, this time the radio didn't have the usual music or talk radio that would normally be on. I heard President Bush saying "Looks like an act of terrorism might have occurred...". I thought, "Hmmm... wonder what that's about...", not being particulary worried about it. The wife got up and said, "That's just what I needed to wake up to...".
I kept up with my web surfing. For the life of me, I don't remember if CNN had any mention of the attacks at the time- CNN being my usual first stop for news each day. The wife went right in to the living room and turned on the TV, catching the first coverage of the attacks as they were happening.
"So, a plane ran into the WTC?", thought I. Not enough to break my morning routine. I went through some of my news sites when the wife says from the other room, "LOOK, another plane flew into the other building...!". That was enough to get me out of my chair to take a look. The replayed the second plane crashing into the building as I entered the room.
"Boy, that's some heavy shit...", or some such, I thought to myself. Nonetheless, I wasn't really all that surprised, or shocked. I went back to the computer and started entering my sweepstakes. Back then, with dial- up, it could take up to an hour and a half to enter my sweepstakes.
I couldn't help but overhear the news on the T.V. I remember one correspondent saying he'd talked to one of the WTC building managers and that there'd normally be around 10,000 people in the buildings at that time of the day.
I don't remember just what I was doing when the buildings collapsed, but I do remember going to the living room and seeing the buildings come down. My first thought was of the firefighters. They must have all been killed, along with whovever was left in the buildings. If most everyone was still in the buildings, then at 8 or 9,000 people, that must be the biggest mass killing since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I went back to the computer and started going back through my news, after my sweeps were taken care of. I had an internet buddy, Michelle, back then. We used to chat on Yahoo Instant Messenger. I don't remember who paged who first, but we ended up chatting around then. She was a bit upset and was trying to contact her kids in Washington State to see if they were ok.
She wondered what I was doing and I told her the same thing I was always doing at that time of the morning: entering my sweeps and checking the news. She said something along the line of, "Not gonna let anything interfere with that, huh". "Nope", says I.
Don't remember how long I stayed on the computer that morning. It was pretty much a normal morning for me.
Went to work at nine or ten, as usual. At my first stop one of my customers came out a bit excited and asked me if I'd heard what happened. I told her that yes I had and that it was "really something, huh.". I guess she assumed that with something like that happening I would have taken the day off. Nope, although that was back then and now I'll use just about any excuse for a day off.
That was pretty much it. A normal work day, a normal day pretty much all the way around for me.
Not for some, though. I remember the wife's parents and some of the Matteolis, from across the street had headed for the Bay Area that morning. They turned around at Santa Rosa when they learned what happened and that everything had pretty much been shut down. They got back later in the afternoon and I remember Janna and Maria looking a bit freaked when they got out of the van.
Connie's dad looked pissed. Oh, and I remember some guy earlier in the day- he must live a few blocks from here- he's driving all up and down the street with a couple American flags stuck in the bed of his pick up truck. He looked all pissed off, as well. I wondered what I was supposed to do while he drove up and down the street: Salute the flags?
But that was pretty much it. I did have a couple concerns: Is this the beginning of a long string of attacks on the U.S. mainland? Will they start doing crap like they do in the middle east, suicide bombers and all that? What direction will the inevitable lynch mob take when it gets formed up to get even for this? People are people and most are going to be seeing red after this. They'll want blood, very possibly anybody's blood.
I was going through the news up at Antiwar.com, one of my regular stops each morning, when I found an article on Osama Bin Laden. It included an interview with him. I can't remember what paper it was but I don't believe it was a U.S. paper. In the interview he said, as best I remember, "There will be a significant act taken against the United States within the next three weeks.".
I remember wondering just what he meant by that. Another embassy bombing, or an attack on some American ship somewhere?
I'd swear that article appeared within a month of 9/11. I did a half- hearted effort in searching for the article to no avail. If anybody wants to give it a shot, like I said, I don't think it was a U.S. paper. It might have been British, but something keeps telling me it was the India or Singapore Times or maybe an Austrailian paper. Anyway, one of the papers from down there (pointing southwest).
If anybody finds that article, let me know what date it was published.