Nine-One-One, Two Thousand One

Here we are,  the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001.   It doesn’t at all seem like an entire decade has passed since this awful tragedy.  Perhaps that has something small to do with my age.  For many in my generation (born in the 80’s), Sept 11th marked the first “I remember where I was when…” moment in our lives (though I do begrudgingly admit remembering exactly where I was and what I was doing when OJ Simpson was acquitted, but I digress).  I have no incredible story on that front.  I was a typical college freshman, snoozing away in my dorm.  When my phone wouldn’t stop ringing with the telltale sign of an on-campus caller being on the other end of the line, I finally climbed (fell) down off of my loft bed and picked up with nothing more than a “This better be good..” grumble.  Much to my surprise, the voice on the other end of the phone said nothing more than “Amy, turn on the TV”.  What?  Turn on my TV?  Travis, one of my longest standing and closest friends from childhood, absolutely knew two things about me:  1) Waking me up from a dead sleep (and bossing me around in the process) is a surefire way to end up on my shit list, at least for the day; and 2) I really don’t watch much TV.  Being groggy and hazy didn’t help me to understand the seriousness of his tone.  “Huh?” was really all I could muster.  Somehow forcefully, panic-stricken, incredulous, and scarily calm all at the same time, Travis said once more “Go turn on your TV.  Then call your family and Jeanine.  And then call me back.  Love you.”  Click.

Still, all I could think was “This better be incredible, whatever it is.”  And really – call my family?  Call Jeanine, my best friend in Maryland?  Fine.  Out of sheer, unabashed curiosity, I dragged my collegiate ass out of bed (of course it was “early”, 9:40-something a.m. is much like the crack of dawn on campus) and turned on the television.  Ho. ly.  Shit.  Phone call time.    Parents safely in the midwest? Check.  Extended family and friends nowhere near the City or the Pentagon? Check.  Almost in the clear.  Check on Jeanine and that will round out confirmation that in my immediate world, everything is everything.  Much to my surprise, I end up getting a message from Jeanine that she, too, is in her dorm… Because she can’t leave.  Not being terribly far from D.C., they take things like threats to national security very seriously.  I understand that.  What I don’t understand is why there is a bomb threat on her campus, causing a lockdown.  Maybe I’m missing something here, but “bomb threat” to me means “evacuate”, not lockdown.  I was worried, of course, but this bomb threat paled in comparison to what was unfolding on the news.  Thankfully, nothing more than some extremely anxious students and faculty ever came of it.

Now what?  I started up and down the hallways of my dorm, what had to have been a solid 20 minutes after every television and radio station had been overcome by the day’s events.  Somehow, nobody had any idea what was going on.  A couple of my sorority sisters (yes, I went Greek in college – believe it) and I went door to door, advising everyone to turn on the news and contact their loved ones.  You know that exhilarated feeling you get when you’re the first to really drop some big news on someone?  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  In the process of spreading the news of campus being shut down and our very way of life being attacked, I managed to be so numb and confused about it all that I couldn’t really be upset.  Yet.

I’m babbling.  Sorry about that.  To get to my point:  Not everyone was in NYC or D.C. when tragedy struck.  I still feel confident in saying that I don’t believe there was a single soul in this country that wasn’t affected that day, many of which continue being affected to this very day.  I’m very lucky in that although I did grow up as a kid in the northeast (upstate New York), it seems as though many of my friends and their families never migrated to the city.  Similarly, I’m thankful that I hadn’t moved to Manhattan directly out of high school, as I’d begged my parents to let (read: fund) me.  Beyond that, man, what a crushing feeling.  I think that day was the first time in my life that I actually felt truly, legitimately helpless.

What could I do?  From my dorm room in BFE, Indiana, I couldn’t do much.  As I alluded to in a previous post, I used to write poetry.  Once a tortured emo teenager, always a tortured emo teenager, I suppose.  Looking back, it helped me to take my mind off of the horror being looped on my television for a little while.  I can say I’ve got it for posterity, though I’m not sure what good that does me.  I’ll share it with you here (below), not because it’s any good – it isn’t – but because it’s the only reaching out I felt I could do in the only way I knew how at the time.  Just know that I was 18 years old and beyond terrified of the reality of the bigger picture and what may happen in the future.  The future is now and what I’ve learned is… I’ll never forget.

Nine-One-One, Two Thousand One

So many lives lost
Families destroyed
Foundation of a country, rocked
Foundations of buildings – gone

Terrorist knife
Dug deep
Into our nation’s heart

Thousands & thousands of familes
Fathers, mothers
Babies, brothers
My aunt, your uncle
Everyone’s pride
Everyone’s soul

Physical destruction
Political burn
Complete devastation
Everywhere you turn

Our nation – glass
A rock thrown
Right through the pane
Creates shards
Our morale, like glass
Crumbles with it

The geninue evil
The “bad guy” in us all

Yet our country will stand
To get us through it all
Hold your neighbor’s hands
Help them not to fall

One Response to “Nine-One-One, Two Thousand One”
  1. Travis says:

    I still remember making that phone call. Love you still Ames.

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