Since there isn’t anything better I can write about what September 11th means to me than what I wrote in 2007, here it is again.
This is the third fourth year that I’ve been blogging during the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Each time I’ve tried, in one way or another, to articulate how that day made me feel.
Back in 2005, I was unable to come up with the right words to express what I was thinking and used pictures instead, then, I quoted the memories of a Pearl Harbor survivor who wondered if 9/11 would fade into history the way 12/7 did, and then I quoted a letter from a friend who was just angry about what happened just like we all were that day.
Last year, I participated in the 2996 project, and noted the passing of Erica Van Acker, who died in the World Trade Center.
This year, quite honestly, I don’t know what to do except remember what the world was like before everything changed, and after.
It probably isn’t that much different from what everyone else experienced.
I got up early that morning because I had to stop at the Fairfax County Courthouse to file some papers and review a few other things. Quite honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember what I was there for.
I drove back to the office, which at the time was about 15 minutes away, listening to a CD instead of talk radio. And then I walked into the office and one of the secretaries told me about a report on the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, it was just a little bit after 9:00 in the morning.
I went into my office, fired up the computer, and tried to access CNN……nothing…..Fox News….nothing…MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times. By 9:15 every news website I could find was inaccessible. Then the phone started ringing. Not one, but two, planes had hit the Towers. By now, everyone was in the office, and the television was on.
For the next two hours I watched transfixed as an icon I had grown up with billowed with smoke and then collapsed to the ground. In the meantime, news came of the plane hitting the Pentagon. There were rumors of car bombs at the State Department. And rogue planes headed for the Sears Tower in Chicago.
In the end, those rumors proved to be thankfully false, but the day itself still was a mind-numbing experience. I remember at one point in the midst of all this talking with opposing counsel in a case about a discovery dispute; he told me he was late by about two or three days on responses and asked for a couple more days. Not something that I could’ve made a big deal in Court over anyway. I just remember telling him that on a day like today, I wasn’t going to be jerk about stuff like that.
Then the day ended, and the eeriest part of it began. Driving home at about 5pm on streets that were, for the most part, entirely empty. It felt lonely, and it felt sad. And, when I went outside late that night to take out the trash, the one thing that I didn’t hear that really threw me off was the sound of airplanes in the sky.
That’s what I will always remember about September 11th.