9/11 has rolled round again. Everything that happened there is still one of the most terrifying things I can imagine, although maybe not for the reasons you might think. Just like, imagine dying in a horrible way and *then* your death is used to justify years of atrocities. Doesn’t matter who you were or what you thought. For the rest of eternity you’d be at best a statistic and at worst a symbol of nationalism and racism. You’d be warped forever without your consent. It haunts me and it could happen to me, to anyone at any time. Even if you *want* to dismantle the systems that made it happen, it means nothing in the face of war. Nothing you ever did would mean anything.
Honestly I feel I have little to say about 9/11 that hasn’t already been said by much smarter people. And that may be for the best, I guess?
So I’ll share a photo instead. This is one my dad took when he was in New York in 1997. It’s strange because to me it always looked like a 9/11 photo, like the ones burned into my brain since age 13, except the towers are still standing. And the flag was already at half-mast.
On September 11th at lunchtime…which would’ve been early morning in America, I think…my Adidas backpack broke. I stuck it back together with safety pins. My friends were bickering. I was hoping it wouldn’t rain at hometime because my books were bound to get wet.
I walked home under the railway bridge. Maybe some people knew already…maybe there were people discussing it as I walked home. I wouldn’t know. Anyway, I got home, and opened the door. The TV was on.
I was greeted with a hysterical yell of ‘CITV’S BEEN CANCELLED!’. That was from my youngest brother. He isn’t as horribly selfish these days, but bloody hell I get so depressed when I think about that.
On the TV there was a fire. It was coming from two buildings, which I knew only vaguely as the World Trade Center. It took some time for me to be told exactly what had happened. My brother kept complaining that the kid’s shows were cancelled. (In his defence, he was only about nine years old at the time. I suppose it was quite a lot for a nine-year-old to take in.)
Anyway, it was terrorists. They’d done it on purpose. From there, things get a little jumbled up and confusing. Dad came home, because work had finished. He said he’d seen the whole thing on a TV in the window of the TV shop near Waitrose. Mum was convinced that only six people had died. I don’t know where she got that from. She was wrong, anyway.
Me and Dad took my youngest brother to Cub Scouts, or Beaver Scouts or whatever it was. We had the radio on. It was talking about nothing but what had just happened. There was talk of war. I felt sick. No, I didn’t…I know exactly what I felt like. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. I have never liked rollercoasters.
Posted on a lot of message boards. Exchanged a lot of emails. Everyone seemed to just be in shock. I wrote in my RL diary. I went to school the next day, and I remember the people walking ahead of me on the way there were talking about it. The PSR department had plastered the front pages of all the newspapers all over the noticeboards. So had the library. In PSR and in Assembly and all the time we talked about what had happened. One of my friends said the terrorists should be put in a building and blown up themselves.
Third day afterwards, I went to the newsagents on the way back from school and bought a newspaper. I think I might still have it.
Probably the most vivid memory: I was reading a message board. People were posting on the subject. Someone…whose name I will never remember…said that the terrorists thought they were doing the right thing. They thought they were in the right. It was sort of Shit…there isn’t any good or evil. And I didn’t know. The message board isn’t there anymore.
That’s it, I think. No-one really came out of September 11th unchanged, as far as I can tell. Lots of stuff has happened since then, anyway. People have argued, people have gone to war, my brother who complained that the news was on instead of CITV reacted to the Russian school siege with ‘Stupid terrorists. I hate them’, the newspapers have long since gone down, people have forgotten, people have remembered, people have left the message boards, my arguing friends haven’t seen each other for months, I got a new backpack, and the TV shop closed down a few months ago.
Okay, I’ve finished. Feel free to post your own stories.