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."

 Cat: "Watching the news with my mom when it occurred then the rest of day was chaos. School had a meeting for all the military brats to let us know that Victoria was a possible target, That our parents were on two hour standby and that if they call came in any student with a military parent would be excused to see them off. First time I ever freaked out on someone was that night at our tenant who was hogging the phone. Told him if my dad went off and I didn't get to say bye I would kill him."

Mondo: "I was art-directing a photo shoot in Calgary. Flew in the night of September 10, was stuck at the airport Hilton until flights started again on friday. Had a interesting night on the 11th at the hotel bar, which was packed by flight crews from everywhere. It started out as a party, but the revelry turned into a big cry once the first flight attendant lost it."

Richard: "I was driving a rented panel van, full of horse-riding safety vests, over the bridge to Niagara Falls, NY."

Gillian: "I was alone in Vancouver BC on a business trip. Was supposed to be flying home that day but ended up in my hotel room just watching it all unfold. As all the flights were cancelled for a few days I couldn't come back but ended up on one of the first flights back in the air, felt a bit unnerving. It still hurts and saddens me when I see pictures of the World Trade Center."
Richard: "lol, i went through he whole morning and part of the afternoon not knowing. it was my neighbor that told me."

John: "Flew in to Montreal on the 10th. Sitting at a client's on the Tuesday watching this all go down, wondering "how the hell am I getting home?". answer: train"

Pamela: "I missed my flight to NY the day before and decided to just go to the cottage instead of trying to hop the next flight. we were sitting there listening to the sounds of the cottage when we decided to turn on the radio, just to hear the FAA had shut down the airways. My friend worked at YYZ and called in to find out what was going on while i flicked on the TV to see such a horible tragity. If we hadn't missed that flight we would have been on an elevator up to the observatory deck as we had prepaid time for the elevator. God definitly was watching over us."

Nick: "Working on a piece of a equipment in a women's only fitness facility... The chatter got louder than usual and kept getting louder until someone started crying... I looked up just as the second plane flew into the tower... took a few minutes to realise the scope of what I was looking at... spent the rest of the day wondering how far into the shit the world was gonna go before the dust settled...
11 years later and i still don't have my answer....
Requiescat In Pace... gone but never forgotten..".

Karen: "Teaching. And they sent us an emergency message telling us not to tell the kids, because we didn't want to scare them. Seems a bit counterintuitive in retrospect..."

Gil: "I was late for work and when i got there i found my co-workers gatherd around a TV....then i saw the first tower collapse..."

Franz: "I was at Sturgess Cycle in Hamilton and heard it on the radio first, went straight home to watch it on TV."

Eric: "I was working ad a sales rep in the motorcycle industry and had just walked into Scona Cycle Honda and they had it on the TV monitor instead of the usual Speedvison that plays."

Suzanne: "I was walking into an office. first day, new job. thought they were watching a movie..."

Karen: "I was in Canmore, Alberta with my girlfriend Claire. We had been in Alberta for my friend Patrick and Janice's wedding a few days earlier. Claire rented a cottage like lodge in Canmore where we planned on doing some touristy attractions. On this particular day we were to embark on a glacier tour. I has just woken up and put on the tv in the family room. All sleepy and blurry eyes I read "tourist attack". Was it a bear attack in Banff? I was beginning to think that maybe we shouldn't go on our tour when my eyes started to adjust and I made out "terrorist attack" just in time to witness the second plane crash into Tower 2."

Maureen: "At work and watching it on a patient's TV.Couldn't believe what we were seeing" 

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