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there will always be more

I thought I knew everything. I understood how it happened, the sequence of events, the aftermath, the death and destruction. I thought I knew every detail, every story, every rumor, implication and theory. Of course, I was wrong. Could it be that it took me over two years to realize that I - we - will never know everything about September 11, 2001? I don't mean the mechanations of the plan, or the years leading up to the actions of al Qeada; I don't expect to know that. Perhaps what I thought happened is what I wanted to believe; that the people on the planes that hit the buildings never knew what was happening. I wanted to believe that one minute they were reading or sleeping or watching a movie and then, they were dead. There was no fear, no panic. Just sudden, painless death. Listening to this tape today, I can see how wrong and naive I have been. Can you imagine being in that situation? You are on a plane, crew members have been stabbed. You can't breathe because of chemicals sprayed in the air. You know without being told that your life is over. You're with your spouse, your child, your best friend. What do you say? Do you tell your small child that she's about to die and mommy loves her very much? Do you kiss your husband good-bye or do you just sit and stare out the window, frozen by fear? For two years I thought only of the people in the buildings that were hit and the rescuers who ran into those buildings as they were crumbling down. I imagined their horror, felt their pain, lived their nightmares. I cried for them and was angry for them and vowed to never forget them. Oh, I cried for the victims on the planes as well, but I never gave as much thought to their last moments as I did to the WTC victims' last breaths. I'm reading yet another book about 9/11. It's a book of personal stories, much like the Voices project. There are passages about the victims I never thought about; the people who were sitting in nearby stores or just walking past the building as the planes crashed and pieces of steel and concrete fell to the ground. People just sitting in a cafe, eating breakfast and then a crash and sudden death. I listened to the tape against my better judgment. I knew what I would start feeling. I knew all the old familiar anger and sadness would surface all over again. But I am also aware that there are still so many stories I don't know and may never hear. Now I am thinking of Betty Ong's family - would you want to hear the last words of your loved one? Would you want to know what her last minutes were like? Would you want the whole world to listen to them? Is it weird for me to worry about people I don't know? I wonder how the families are getting along. I wonder if they relive the whole thing every time another article is written, another memorial is erected, another story is told. I worry about people I know - Jeff and Faith and people who were there, who lived through it and probably relive it all the time. I do think I'm getting better.. All those emotions are still there and there is new sadness today to add to the buildup that already festers deep inside. But I am no longer consumed by it. I can react with passion and not let that passion give way to irrational tirades. I can write about it without launching into an attack on conspiracy theorists and certain people who practice a certain extremist version of a certian religion. See? I'm calm. I'm upset, but calm. I think being angered by hearing the voices of 9/11 has been replaced by being haunted by those voices. And those voices are the reason I want to elect a leader who will make sure that a day like 9/11 never happens again. It's taken me over two years to even begin to let some of it go. I can't imagine how long it will take for Betty Ong's family, or people like Rod Boyd or Dan. Point to this post? None. Just another written-on-the-fly thought process made public.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference there will always be more:

» 9/11 and voting from Beth's Contradictory Brain
Michele has another great post 9/11 entry today, about the victims she hasn't really thought about as much as the [Read More]

» Voices from the Dead from Arguing with signposts...
I heard part of this tape last night on Fox News, and heard the whole thing again this morning on Glenn Beck. Michele notes that the tape gave her a new appreciation for the victims who were on the planes... [Read More]

» Lest We Forget from Babalu Blog
We as Americans are so busy and involved that we tend to have short memories. I just saw this article on a call from a flight attendant on Yahoo News and realize that it was barely over 2 years ago... [Read More]

Comments

I wish you could talk to my friend, she's in the anyone but W mode.

No, she's in the 9/10 mode.

Michele,

I listened to that last night and it was quite disturbing. I was in the building when the first plane hit, down in the mall where the PATH was... I have a similar recollection to Jeff where we came up the escalator to be greeted by cops literally yelling at us to "run!"... After seeing the second plane's impact and being hit with debris over a block away, and escaping downtown that day, I thought I had a bad time. But being on that plane and literally seeing your impending doom, without having the ability to run, jump, or just generally escape is just crazy and almost unfathomable...

The daughter a woman I know was on her way to work at the WTC after her alarm clock didn't go off and she had overslept, on 9/11/01. She saw the first plane hit the building she worked in. Her guardian angel must have been looking out for her that day I tell ya.

Reading that I'm much more angry than I was before, and I didn't think that was possible...

Trying the audio blew up Mozilla. That's probably a good thing - I'm going with Mozilla's better judgement here.

Has anyone else found that they generally worry more since 9/11? I have become ridiculous and worry about my kids and unexpected accidents all the time. I cant even watch medical shows anymore.

I was safely distant on that day, and knew only one person who was killed, the priest who baptised my children was on the first plane. Damn I am still angry! and I still feel like crying.

Check out the link at rantburg under Short Attenion Span entitled, "Have you forgotten?"

... I want to elect a leader who will make sure that a day like 9/11 never happens again.

So you'll be voting Democratic, then.

I heard part of the tape last night on Fox, remember Michele? And heard the rest of it this morning on Glenn Beck. She was very calm considering the amount of runaround she was getting by the folks on the other end of the phone. But then I thought, what could the people on the ground have done? Those people in that plane were going to die one way or another. I can't imagine what that would feel like. I pray I never have to.

Thlayli, that's just plain stupid. Both parties share blame for the intelligence failures that led up to that day.

That being said, here's what I see. Under Bush and Co., we haven't been attacked on U.S. soil since that day (anthrax fallout notwithstanding), and with al Queda apparently now fixated on going after U.S. forces in Iraq, fighting our actual military personnel far, far away from here, I tend to rest a little easier. The War on Terror goes well from where I stand.

"I wish you could talk to my friend, she's in the anyone but W mode.

No, she's in the 9/10 mode."

You're friend is smart. 9/11 was the best thing to happen to Bush. He should be thanking OBL.

Actually, he is thanking OBL. He invaded a country with nothing to do with 9/11, diverting soldiers who could be looking for OBL but aren't.

Read Thaylil's link. Why is Bush stalling?

And the Lefties accuse Bush of politicizing 9/11.

Mysterious unsourced quote: ... I want to elect a leader who will make sure that a day like 9/11 never happens again.

Thlayli: So you'll be voting Democratic, then.

Yes, because after the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993, Democrat Bill Clinton did such a wonderful job making sure that the WTC was never attacked by terrorists again!

/*sarcasm mode off

Ryan, we failed to, what? Arrest every foriegner who bought box cutters? Stop the entire country because we had a vague warning that something was up? We should have changed our policy of cooperating with highjackers as a way of saving the lives of passengers and put armed marshals on planes because of what experience to the contrary?

I have news for you bucko, "Minority Report" is fiction.

Vince: obviously he's stalling because there were no plane crashes on 9/11 it was all special effects, and the world trade center was demolished by the Bush administration and Joooooooos...

Oh God.

Josh, I humbly ask that you stop being stupid. For starters, I haven't even seen Minority Report. For nexters, I'm not sure where it was I said anything about box cutters or stopping the country. What I did say was "both parties share blame for the intelligence failures that led up to that day." As ScottC pointed out, the 1993 bombing of the WTC should have had the Democrats antennae twitching, and it's pretty well known that the Bush administration knew of al Queda cells in the U.S. and also knew, at least nominally, of the possibility that terrorists might fly planes into buildings. At no point did I say that the attacks themselves were preventable, but I did say that intelligence failures ON BOTH SIDES contributed to the events that unfolded that day, primarily to refute Thlayli's claim that somehow the Democrats are somehow better suited to the task of preventing future attaks. Of course, if you want to continue jumping to conclusions, feel free, but don't break your neck.

Is there a transcript of this tape anywhere? I don't want to click it at work.

"I humbly ask that you stop being stupid."

That's a self demolishing phrase if I ever read one. If it was a word you'd call it an oxymoron.

This sentnce contains two errors.

You're right. My apologies.

For that matter, I suppose "Arrest every foriegner who bought box cutters?" is probably a sentence fragment with a misspelling.

Now, would you care to comment on the rest of what I explained, or would you rather continue with grammatical games?

I'm not interested in Iraq's 9/11 connections, I'm interesting in Iraq's WTC #1 connections.

Interested Interested - not ing.

Now, would you care to comment on the rest of what I explained, or would you rather continue with grammatical games?

Neither. Go play.

K. I have shiny new red ball, and I can't wait to bounce it.

"The daughter a woman I know was on her way to work at the WTC after her alarm clock didn't go off and she had overslept, on 9/11/01. She saw the first plane hit the building she worked in. Her guardian angel must have been looking out for her that day I tell ya."

Many that day were lucky.

A cousin in local 3 was working at his boss's house instead of underneath the Towers in his usual subway duty.

An Aunt broke her ankle and was not at her job with the Port Authority that day, good thing since she was in a wheelchair.

An Uncle took the Amtrak instead of the PATH that day.

And my cousin was able to escape with coworkers from the second tower hit from the 34th floor.

But unfortunately far too many were not as fortunate. Too many from my town, too many...

Damn, just damn....I thought I could handle this stuff at this point.

Some interesting points here. We DID take the war overseas, our troops are magnets for every nutjob terrorist in the middle east, and it's keeping them away from the states. 9/11 was an act of war against the U.S., the moonbats ought to wake up and realize they are targets of terrorism along with everyone else. And on 9/11, I DID realize what the folks on those planes were probably going through, how horrible it was, because out of everyone that died that day, they KNEW what was happening to them, at least in the last few moments, anyway. A heinous suprise attack and declaration of war against the U.S. that made me angry, and I will remain angry until we win this war against terror.

The "mysterious unsourced quote" is from the original post, third paragraph up from the bottom. The source is Michele. She is the one who "politicized" this round, not me.

I wasn't saying anything about "intelligence failures". All I'm saying is an administration that was truly serious about preventing another 9/11 would be trying just a little bit harder to work with the Kean Commission.

Thlayli:
Michele has a (quite rational opinion) that the Bush administration is doing a much better job than his opponents would. I who voted for Nader in the last two elections and have never voted for a Republican agree so heartily that I'll probably vote for Bush next election.

Having an opinion about nation security is not the offensive act you take it to be.

What I was saying is that there's no reason to believe that there was an intelligence failure. Intelligence is not magic.

As for not cooperating - a public investigation into intelligence is a very bad idea during a war, it exposes your network to the enemy. That's dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. I'm glad they aren't cooperating.

I can't believe you people can listen to that tape and make it into a political argument. I am ashamed of ALL of you, right and left, for making this into a pissing match.

I sat here at my computer and cried watching Betty Ong's mother and father listen to their daughter's last known words. The people who heard your first words should never have to hear your last.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm scared of flying anyway or the fact that I don't live anywhere near NYC or Washington, but I have thought a LOT about the people on those planes and what they went through. Way too much. I've had recurring nightmares about being on Flight 11 or Flight 93. Someone is waving a knife at me and everyone around me is going to pieces and I know that we are probably all about to die.

These human truths transcend party bitching. Betty "Bee" Ong was a brave woman who kept her cool in an unthinkable situation. It is too much to ask that we please respect her memory and save your partisan competitiveness for November, when it might actually change something?

D

I didn't mean you, Michele. Just these folks swapping jibes at each other in the comments. I understand and share your desire to see a president in office who truly aspires to serve and protect the American people.

D

"Is it weird for me to worry about people I don't know"?

No. It's very human. It's a hidden kindness of the heart. And it represents the better part of who we are. I believe it's noble.