Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11/01: Diary Entry

Music ties closely with events for me. I remember on the morning of September 11, 2001 hearing U2's "Beautiful Day" on the radio and thinking how true it felt. The sun shined and the air felt lightly cool on the way to my temp job where I answered phones.

What's great about keeping a journal is the ability to reflect on exactly what was written at that time. This is my entry a few days after the attacks:

So, I didn't write about it, but last week the World Trade Center was blown up. Destroyed. Planes crashed and the whole tower fell and the 2nd one fell. I was at work at my temp job. All I did was answer phones. I was online on [an online message forum I belonged to] and I heard about it in the office as it happened. I wrote online & so did Healther, we wrote back and forth as we found out what happened, and on

It was a horrible day. All we did at home was watch the towers burn and people run in the streets screaming.

I went to Chicago that next Saturday anyway (for a Jimmy Eat World concert -their new album  Bleed American released that month as an unfortunate coincidence) but it was scary to travel to a big city and not know what's going to happen.
I rarely ever see clips of the towers burning and the people in the streets anymore. It's amazing what was shown on TV as it was happening, but I feel like we've almost been sheltered from those images since then. I'm not sure I want to revisit any of it for the anniversary. Once is really enough to see a person jump from a burning building.

I wish I had written it in the journal, but at one point mid-day, one of the news channels showed a scrolling message across the screen that 50,000 were suspected dead. That figure is ridiculously high to the actual casualties, which was around 2,900. It's still too many, but I always thought it could have been worse if not for the first responders who saved so many lives. I never saw the estimation again but I remember feeling terrified to think that many people had died.

Rolling Stone Magazine October 2001
Alicia Keys is another musician I associate with the aftermath of the attacks. She performed in the celebrity telethon that aired on all the major networks a few days after to raise money for the victims. I loved her image on the cover of the following month's Rolling Stone. I kept the issue for a long time, as a reminder of sorts that everyone had to adjust to the idea of large scale terrorism in our own country. Even artists, celebrities, our whole culture.

I visited NYC for the first time the following year with my best friend Katie who had moved to Connecticut after college. Even a year later there were memorial photos and artwork hung up on the fence surrounding the gaping hole that was the towers. As busy and loud as the city can get, anywhere along the fence felt somber, like a memorial. I suppose it was.

Will you watch any of the coverage commemorating the victims? Are there any blogs or articles reflecting on the attacks that particularly moved you?

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