5 Years On…
September 11, 2006
Can you believe it has already been five years!
Five years ago today – on Septemeber 11th, 2001 – the world in which we live in took a horrific turn. The way we lived was questioned and questioned with such vile violence that it’s ramifications are still being heard today … and will be long after we all move on.
Quite simply, the foundations about everything we believe in was rocked to the core. This was not happening. But it was happening!
On a purely personal level, I should have no connection with this: No one I knew died and I have never visited New York. I was living in my nice quiet area of Melbourne, Australia 7,800 miles away from the scene of the crime.
And it was a crime!
But Australians have a natural affinity with Americans. We have been raised on American culture – 90% good; 10% bad. And I’m not complaining. For a young Aussie, America, and especially New York, was a lifetime away. It was the place where eveybody wanted to visit one day. One day …
9/11 affected me in more ways than one can imagine. It changed my perspective on life, on people, on family, on how one must live for today, take the initiative and so on.
One thing resonates strongly in my mind from those uncertain days. When President George W. Bush said that there were two wars that were going to be waged: one that you’ll see on your nightly news and the one that you won’t see. That said a lot of things to me. That said to me we’re in for a long and nasty ride.
One ugly side-effect that these murderous scum brought to us was the near total split in people’s political ideals – and that ugly side-effect is still with us today.
I recall when I first heard about. It was Tuesday night just after 10 o’clock at night. I was watching a silly chat program on Chanel 10 – The Panel, I think, when the story first broke in Australia: A plane had crashed into one of the twin towers.
Now being the news junkie that I am I went straight away to all the news channels: Fox News, CNN, SkyNews, BBC and watched it all unfold. When the second plane hit it dawned on you in that instant – that instant of sudden recognition of what was happening.
I woke up my wife (we had a four-month old at that time) and we both watched for hour upon hour as it all unfolded right in front of our screens – the Pentagon, The fourth plane that went to ground, the fear that more was coming. Shit, if the most powerful nation in the world seemed so powerless what hope is there, we thought.
And then the buildings collapsed and it all went to another level. This is not a movie. This is not a movie. Holy fucking shit, the streets of New York are being enveloped by the thick clouds of death and concrete. People running for their lives.
People have jumped to their deaths. Firemen are racing up the towers not aware of their fate. A chaplain helping those near the scene is killed. The President looks shaken and ghostly in his hurried press conference. The President is scrambled throughout the day in the skies. No planes are in the skies. Orders to shoot down are given. No one really knows what is happening or what will happen next. This is pure terror.
The sheer scale of events on that day quite simply changed the world. It changed my world.
I know from my persepctive it grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against the wall and said to me: Wake up, boy, life is so unpredictable, so fucked up at times, that you’ve got to live today.
Because of that day, I’ve been to many places on a personal level since. I’ve been on a so-called journey of discovering myself and the world around me. I’ve formed opinions. I’m still on that journey.
I remember the day after the events I headed off to work but half way there decided “Fuck it”. I then drove to the beach, brought all the papers and listened all day to the radio in my car.
Sometimes when the emotions of an event are so far out of the realms of acceptance you turn to music to help soothe your soul.
Two pieces of music from that period will stick with me forever. Until the day I die, these two songs bring up that day for me in the most personal of ways – eeiry, melancholy, depressing, just sad. They are “Sing” by Travis and “Overcome” by Live – both clips are placed at the end of this post from YouTube.
One thing people should do is not forget what happened on that day. All of a sudden nothing mattered anymore. Remember the nearly 3000 who died. Remember the utter destruction. Remember the helplessness we all felt. I fear way too many people have buried all of this in the back of their mind as they go about their different agendas. Just remember what brought you all here.
One day shortly, I plan to visit New York. I don’t know how I will react. Right now I have tears in my eyes – so I’ve said all I wanted to say.
God Bless America – God Bless Humanity – and just … enjoy life!
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“Sing” by Travis …
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“Overcome” by Live …
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At the World Trade Center, faced with a desperate situation of smoke and burning heat from the jet fuel and ignited building contents, an estimated 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers, landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. In addition, some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue. No rescue plan existed for such an eventuality. Fleeing occupants instead encountered locked access doors upon reaching the roof. In any case, thick smoke and intense heat prevented rescue helicopters from landing.
1366 people were at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower (1 WTC): according to the Commission Report hundreds were killed instantly by the impact the rest were trapped and died later.
As many as 600 people were killed instantly or trapped at and above the floors of impact in the South Tower (2 WTC). Only about 18 managed to escape in time from above the impact zone and out of the South Tower before it collapsed.
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Those who died came from 87 countries.
These are some figures … they’re just horrendous:
Total number who died: 2,819
Firefighters and Paramedics who died: 343
NYPD Officers who died: 23
Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
Number of body parts found: 19,858
Number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
God Bless America – God Bless Humanity