Sunday, September 12, 2004


I didn't expect to have any kind of thoughts worth putting down about 9/11. The minutes when planes hit and buildings went down came and went. I knew that somewhere tributes were being paid and silence was being observed. But I was just quiet with my own recollections, and chose to keep them vague. It's been three years -- these days that's a long time.

And what is there to say really? One of the things I really dislike about living in an age of mass communication and information is that every spontaneous human emotion gets repeated and reported and dissected until there isn't a hint of spontaneity left in it. And then it gets served to us as another spectator sport, more entertainment in case the current crop of movies are duds.

On the real 9/11, there wasn't a lot of talking. I remember that. Even the newspeople who can talk for hours were having a hard time.

On the real 9/11, I couldn't say anything either. I wanted to turn the TV off at noon. I tried, but I couldn't stand it. I cried and I prayed, but not nearly as much as I would've thought I would. I hurt. My bones hurt. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to look out my window at the Kansas City skyline and see no smoke, hear no sirens. If I turned the TV off, it would've been like nothing happened. Except that the shock of things was everywhere. How far is Kansas City from New York and Washington DC and the field in Pennsylvania? And yet, it was as if we'd been hit. There was no traffic. No one did any work. And even that wasn't an interesting thing to me at the time -- I wasn't thinking in terms of a spectator sport. All there was was reaction, and the reaction was pain.

So why talk about it now? Because I saw it again. Greg started this 7MB tribute video downloading and set me to minding the computer so I could tell him when it was done. I was tinkering uselessly on the computer and then it started. Greg wasn't trying to be insensitive -- he didn't know how it would affect me. I didn't know how it would affect me. But the emotions that were frozen three years ago weren't frozen as the video started putting up pictures of happy, smiling people that I knew weren't here anymore. I couldn't take it. But I still couldn't turn away.

To the victims of 9/11 -- rest in peace. May their memory be eternal.


Blogger Karl Thienes said...

I work in the television advertising industry...I am still amazed, remembering how our clients were screaming on the phone to get them back on the air.

Cuz, of course, their stupid ads were more important than the news or just plain silence. Sigh.

My wife had the worst day between us, teaching in a public school where she couldn't mention God ALL DAY.

September 12, 2004 at 6:07 PM  

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