Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Memories from September 11, 2001

The memory is an interesting thing. When significant events happen, your memory takes a snapshot of the things that were happening at that time. When September 11, 2012 rolled around I posted a status update on my Facebook wall:

"I bet you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing 11 years ago today."

Ground Zero of the World Trade Center Towers. Taken from the
Millenium Hilton in 2005 with my old trusty Fuji F601.

I received a number of responses. Here is a look into 23 different lives on September 11, 2001:
Paul : "I was teaching an AIX sysadmin class at IBM 3600; I had just completed the first lecture of the day and the class started to do labs. I logged onto Sametime and a friend pinged me saying 'Do you know what's going on? Planes have flown into the WTC!'"
Scott Forgie For our parents it was " where werr you when JFK was shot?"...but for our generation it was 9/11. I will never forget.

Me: "I was on the bus (TTC #53 Steeles East) listening to the radio on my earphones when I heard the news."

Matt: "Getting ready for school. Had a first period spare. It was picture day."

Kathy: "I was at work, listening to the news on the radio."

Marta: "Sure do"

Morrie: "It's funny, 11 years later and I remember it so clearly.

I took time off work to attend the Toronto Film Festival. The night before, I watched the movie "Heist" (at the Uptown Theatre) with the full cast. They all wanted to catch the red-eye back to New York, so they held a highly-unusual Q&A BEFORE the film. It was a great film. When the lights came up around 11pm, the cast of probably 50-100 people were gone - on their way back to NYC.

Around 8:45am on the 11th, I crawled out of bed, with literally one eye open. I turned on the TV to check on the weather - to see how I should dress for the Film Festival that day.
l'm standing there, in a sleepy daze seconds after the first tower was hit. The damage looked pretty minimal. I remember thinking "weird, I guess a Cessna crashed into the tower". I'm standing there listening to them trying to figure out what just happened. No-one seemed to know exactly what hit the tower. Minutes later, I'm still watching, transfixed, as the second plane (this one clearly a large jet) slams into the second tower. Then it hits me, this wasn't an accident, we were under attack. Minutes later, the other planes hit the Pentagon and the ground in PA. Not long after that the towers come down.

During the coming days, reports of casualties and missing people are everywhere. Closer to home, TIFF resumes, but bomb threats are being called in all over the city. Many screenings are cancelled and many stores are closed. Now I never grew up in a developing country or communist regime. This was the first time I got a glimpse of living in the fear of uncertainty. My freedom felt as if it was being taken away.

That day and every September 11th since, my heart goes out to the innocent people that lost their lives and the heroes that gave their lives saving others. You will never be forgotten."

Goran: "I just started second year at Western... Turned on cp24, checked the weather, saw something about a plain crash... But i was running late so turned the tv off and left completely clueless what that plane crash actually meant"

Ray: "I was in bed recovering from a m/c accident watching the morning news. Just one of those events that you will never forget where you were when it happened. RIP to all those who perished that day and since combating the threat of future terrorist attacks."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend to End Women's Cancers

(Scroll to the bottom of this post to donate now)

This is my 3rd year volunteering in the Moto-Safety crew for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers. My role is to ensure the safety of the 100's of walkers at intersections across Toronto as they march 60 km's over September 8, 9. I also ride along the route to report any safety or medical issues. 

Margot and I in action! I traded in my traditional green mohawk
for a pink one. About the ears -- part of our job is to cheer and motivate
the participants (apparently kitschy is motivational)


Participants walk in memory of loved ones lost, for someone who is battling this disease, or are survivors themselves. They range in age from little wee ones to 100 years old! I have utmost respect for them all.

Every walker has their own story for why they're participating.
Norma carried these photos in her hand all day of her friend Karen
who is losing her battle with cancer. Handwritten on the
outside is "Walk For Karen. Best Friend. Love you
Forever!!!". It was very touching. The Motosafety
team does their job so people like this can walk safely.

These folks were walking for a family member, Sandra,
who lost her battle with cancer.

Sadly, everybody is touched by cancer. I'm sure you know someone in your family or group of friends that has been diagnosed with cancer. And no one is out of reach of cancer's grasp. Read this heart-rending story of Canada's youngest breast cancer survivor, Aleisha Hunter, at 4 years of age in 2010.

Please consider joining me to help cancer research in Canada by following this link and clicking the "Donate online now" button. You will also receive a tax receipt.

Money raised will go towards the Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute at The Princess Margaret Hospital.