Monday, September 11, 2006


I'm still not ready to talk about the Texas loss to Ohio State on Saturday. So don't even ask.

I do, however, feel it appropriate to maybe write a little something about 9/11. I figured I'd post about that day 5 years ago today.

I was driving to work in Houston, listening to NPR when they interrupted Morning Edition to report that a small plane had crashed into the WTC. The initial report indicated that it appeared to be a single engine, but possibly a dual engine prop plane. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "Had to be a suicide thing." They resumed Morning Edition and I arrived at work.

A few people mentioned hearing about it and we clucked about the possible causes for a few minutes before starting the day of work. The day of work was interrupted 30 minutes or so later when my assistant came running into my office screaming, "We're under attack!! We're under attack!!!"

She was so hysterical that I didn't even bother trying to get details out of her. Instead, I turned on the radio in my office and listened to the drama unfold. When the radio announcer, who was reporting from Manhattan, started screaming that the first tower was collapsing, I didn't believe it. I thought to myself, "Maybe just a couple of floors on the top. Surely this is just a case of another reporter sensationalizing the situation - as they do."

Then I saw the pictures.

Then I saw the footage.

As I watched, the tears streamed down my face. I thought about the confusion. I thought about the desperation. I thought about the way that this incident would forever change our country and way of life.

I was a part-time firefighter at the time, running a small department in suburban Houston. This all hit too close to home. In the footage of the collapse, I was seeing and hearing sounds that perhaps most people missed if they'd never worked as a firefighter on a working scene. Distress alarms and panicked radio traffic. These sounds send the hair on the back of your neck standing straight up and induce flushing cold sweats. Helpless. Hopeless.

It's been 5 years - which apparently is the end of the "Grace Period" where entertainment executives feel it's appropriate that they can start capitalizing on the entertainment value. I'm not ready to indulge them. I also won't indulge the conspiracy theorists and political activists who like to stir the pot and point fingers. Especially when they like to use phrases like, "This is all 'Fact'. You make your own decisions." Yeah asshole, anyone can present 'Fact' and still spin it to make the point they're trying to make. I learned that in 8th grade debate class. Fuck you. It was a tragedy. That's all that matters.

Where were you?