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9/11 Ten Years Later. Share your thoughts & experience.
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Joined: 23 May 2008
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medicineman wrote:

I was a 17-year-old junior well on my way to dropping out of high school but I was in class, American Government class, strangely, in fact, that morning. We turned on the TV, if I remember correctly, shortly before or maybe it was shortly after the second plane I had hit. I don't really remember. I remember that it did not take them very long to start showing pictures of Bin Laden's face next to the burning towers. I remember putting my head down on my desk but I don't remember what I was feeling. I remember thinking that I was seeing people dying live on TV and that thought was disquieting.

Most strikingly, there was a student teacher in the class who had just moved to Iowa City from New York City. Her last job had been in the World Trade Center just some weeks before. I remember her beginning to cry on the opposite side of the classroom and I remember that some people were giggling at her. Just high school kid shit. Mean, mean as hell, but not really understanding. I think it turned out later that she knew something like 40 people that had died, like everyone she used to work with. She quit the school and I don't know what happened to her. It didn't hit me until years later what an intense and kind of bizarre experience that was. I was just one degree of separation away from what was happening. In her life the tragedy was immediate as to everyone else in the room it was not. It didn't click until much later.

When I think about how it psychologically affected me I don't really know how to do the math. I was discovering drugs and falling deeply for hip-hop and becoming exposed to a lot of new people and ideas of a lot of stripes at that point in my life. I had never really thought that much about things like the government and war, except in the context of the medieval history I had devoured as a child, but my concept of that kind of war was fantastic and legendary and didn't have much to do with the politics of it. I felt a vague and general 'patriotic' sensation but I didn't feel any real threat to myself, and the pure adolescent contrarianism I was embodying at the point in my life as I lashed out against what I was beginning to perceive as oppressive institutions...schools, corporations, the government...with of course a pathetically incomplete understanding of what I was even upset about or rallying against. Very Rage Against the Machine. So I hopped on board with the conspiracy movement right away. The fuck Bush movement, I took those cues from my family. Any actual frustration or rage I felt about the events I channeled toward the administration and the powers that be in the situation - they seemed so much more tangible and threatening than Al-Qaeda, regardless of who was ultimately responsible for the attack itself. I felt and still feel the Patriot Act was and is a larger attack on the American people and our freedom than 9/11 see it pushed through on sentiment, to see the world becoming what I think many of us saw as just cartoonishly Orwellian around me...well, I became the frothing at the mouth hard left pot smoking rap spittin young gutterpunk that would eventually become me, in short. Makeshift Patriot made me aware of SFR and that obviously changed my life. And I really didn't want war. I saw the whole thing happening, I saw those of the people I knew who were all too willing and ready to suit up before the invasion was even really in motion. The anti-war movement, back in the days of its birth, back when we thought we might stop them, for all the good it did us, probably was a much more formative time in my life than I've ever really stopped to think about now. I've consumed and spat forth a lot of ignorance and a lot of inexcusable behavior because of 9/11 - on the first anniversary my friends and I took ecstasy and stole a large number of the American flags people had put out on their porches. We burned a big pile of them in the cemetary - kept the most mutilated for display for a long time...what did that mean? Why? I still don't know. Steve Jordan lost his virginity that night to the girl I wanted to lose mine to that night. I remember them making out in the back of my car. Does that matter? I dunno, I remember though. I think that maybe on the whole the events that would follow 9/11 gave me a nudge towards becoming a more aware and conscious person, even if the avenue I took to that conclusion was path of senseless juvenile rebellion and anger, so if that's the case, for that blessing I'm grateful.

This is eerily similar to my experience with 9/11, except for some name, location, and age changes.

I was 13 and living in Phoenix and my first class that day was American history. My teacher was very quick to jump to the Muslim terrorist angle and talked for awhile about "Why they didn't like us", which pretty much equated to the whole, "They hate us because of our freedoms."

It also wasn't a teacher who lost loved ones in the tragedy. It was a student in my grade who had several family members, including her dad, that lost their lives that day. Everyone was very consoling to her though for the short bit of time she was actually in school. I didn't end up seeing her again after that till a few years ago, where I had learned she had been living a pretty rough life since that day for various reasons.)

I was definitely of the teenage Rage Against the Machine style of rebellion as well. Rage and Anti-Flag were actually two of my favorite bands at the time, which I think paints a pretty descriptive picture of where I was at. I pretty much resented everything that I saw as an authority figure. This led to several retrospectively-embarassing encounters that I had with principals, parents, and teachers about my "civil liberties" and how they were "oppressing" me in some way. That particular phase didn't last too long though.

I guess the part that relates the most is your story about the 1 year anniversary of 9/11. My friends and I did the exact same flag stealing and burning in a cemetery thing. Except we were all fucked up on coke and Jack Daniels that particular night, instead of ecstasy. It was also my friend Eric who got laid that night, and it was far from his first time. It was her first time though, and it would've been mine as well. Man, I definitely do not miss middle school.

This is what I remember about 9/11.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:27 am
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guy who cried about wrestling being real

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This is what I did yesterday.

Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:26 am
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I remember rejecting the whole thing. I was too removed and immature to grasp it. I still had to go to work, so what did I care?

It took a year or two for me to start paying real attention to what was happening. The only criticism I made before that was wondering why it took a terrorist attack for everyone to buy a flag. I thought if you didn't have a flag before that, you were being disingenuous to run out and buy one now.

I'm still trying to grasp everything when I stop to really think about it. Whenever someone says "post 9/11" I try to remember how things were pre 9/11. I wonder if they were really that different. I was only in high school in the late 90s but I still remember outward racism and prejudices. I even remember hijacker jokes. Of course things are different but it was like those planes just watered our seeds.

I don't fucking know.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:51 am
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Mark, your post (the text, not the picture) pretty much encapsulates my own feelings on the subject. You've explained things more calmly and lucidly than I have, which I can appreciate. Here is another quote about history that I also think speaks very well about this event:

"Histor, history! We fools, what do we know or care."
- William Carlos Williams
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:30 am
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X the Outsider

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I remember waking up and taking a shower. I then came out and turned on the TV and saw what was happening. It was surreal in watching the whole thing. Ten years later I still find it hard to express what I was feeling. It was a combination of fear, sadness, and shock. Which I think is what most Americans felt that day. Watching the coverage all day was just mind-numbing and even watching it throughout the weeks after the attack. Over the years, I remember believing all of the conspiracy theories and putting stock into them. Now I'm not really sure what to believe anymore.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:39 am
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I was in the 8th grade. They took us out of class and told us the World Trade Center had been hit. I didn't know what the World Trade Center was and figured it was in china or something so I was like "who cares?". We got out of school early, which was pretty cool. My parents were watching it on the TV when I got home. I went in my room and played video games and hoped they would make it a national holiday so id get the day off from school the following years. That didn't happen. So much for not letting a crisis go to waste. Cant say I really cared. It didn't really seem like anything out of the ordinary at the time.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:57 am
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My ex-wife's aunt (I was newly married than) died a few days before and the funeral was on 9/11. I left work at 8am and made my way home, let the dog out and grabbed my wife. We went over to a McDonald's to grab breakfast and while I waited in the car I heard Howard Stern talking about it. I still remember where I parked and looking at a Kmart across the road. The funeral was odd enough (her aunt was 50 and died of mysterious causes) but the whole tragedy had most of us in the bar area of where the luncheon was held watching tv. The aunt had a daughter who lived 2 blocks from WTC but was back in PA instead so that was odd. We came home in the early afternoon and I hung with my new dog (at that point now he is the oldest dog) and watched the news. I went to church around 6p. That is still the first and only day I ever went to church without being made to by my parents, girlfirends, wedding or funeral. I remember the days after being odd because o planes were in the air (I live 5 minutes from the Philly airport).

Now I try to ignore all the hype and say prayers for the lives lost. I did listen to "Makeshift" yesterday as I walked to the store to get the is amazing how accurate those lyrics were and are...the song that got me into Sage.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:05 am
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Everything I thought and felt from the moment I found out is recorded in the archive of a message board I used intensely in those days.

It pretty much hasn't changed at all, except the facts are more clear. What I used to be freaked out might happen, I'm freaked out did happen. What I doubted then, I now know to reasonable satisfaction was false.

It's still such a sad event, but it's been so eclipsed for me (from this distance, especially) by everything that's happened ever since. The killing has become far sadder than the dying, as it multiplies over and over. The lies have become so much more offensive than the truth.

We've since sat through every trick in the book. And we keep sitting through more. God dammit.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:11 pm
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homophobic yet curious

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I was in junior high. Used it as an excuse to skip school and sat at home playing video games and reading books. A few years later I began to grasp what had happened and developed opinions about it.
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:09 pm
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Dr Sagacious

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I was in 7th grade. I didn't feel like being at school that day, so I feigned sick, and had my mom come pick me up. I remember being at an intersection, waiting to pull out of the suburb when I heard some guy talking about it on the radio. My grandma was in the passenger seat and my mom was driving. I asked what happened, and my mom told me that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center (two big skyscrapers in Manhattan, as she explained what they were to me). I went home, and saw the second tower fall. I was shocked.

I got swept up into the slew of prejudice and bullshit that followed 9/11. I remember I wouldn't high five this brown-skinned kid because I thought he was Arab, later finding out that his last name was like Hernandez or something. Which I found funny in a way, and realized I how silly I was to even reject a high five from any brown-skinned because the rest of White America was gung-ho for finding and killing everyone involved with the attacks.

I am 22 now, and it's been a decade since the planes hit the towers. Nearly half of my life so far has been comprised of terror and rabid nationalistic diatribes from lousy old men. Not that I'm pulling a George Michael from Arrested Development, hanging my head, and walking away because things could've and should've been done better in the aftermath. But really, c'mon, I wish we had Norway's president during the Oslo attacks at the time.

"Fuck you Bin Laden, my country is gonna be more free. Starting next Friday, pants are optional at the workplace."
Post Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:05 pm
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guy who cried about wrestling being real

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In related news I found this on the Onion today:,21353/

Lack Of Media Interest Makes Genocide Cover-Up Unnecessary

AFMADOW, SOMALIA—Utter global disinterest in the wholesale slaughter of 250,000 ethnic Bajuni people this week has caused Somali warlord Maj. Fortunate Charles to regret all the effort he put into covering up the atrocities. "I went out of my way to hide the corpses in secret mass graves, I burnt entire villages to the ground to destroy evidence—all for nothing," said Charles, adding that he had expected intense media scrutiny or at least some kind of U.N. fact-finding mission. "Next time, I'll leave them lying where they fall with the machetes still in their heads." Charles said he was also upset about the money he'd wasted on the custom-fitted Italian suit he had intended to wear while on trial in the Hague.
Post Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:09 pm
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I had just started my second year of college in 2001, kinda just wasting time, no declared major. looking back on it now, it's clear that the atmosphere 9/11 created was a big kick in my ass.

i remember certain family and friends talking about how they were glad Bush was in office, even though they voted for Gore, because this "changed everything," and they wanted someone on the attack. this was one of the first times that i really checked my own gut reaction, more violence for violence, righteous anger, etc. it was an important moment in solidifying my adult relationship with aggression.

anyway, i left that college, went to school for audio engineering and began performing seriously. what feels like my entire adult life was lived against the backdrop of the attacks. the person i am now, who i believe to be a decent and good person, was born almost precisely as a result of 9/11, whether consciously or not.
Post Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:52 pm
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