Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

There is so much, and also not enough yet, to say about 9/11. Here's what I remember.

I was up early that morning. Couldn't sleep, so I turned on CNN. It was around 5:30 AM. At that point, the first tower was already burning, and I went into immediate shock. What the hell had happened?

I was still groggy. It was like a bizarre dream. Surreal. But then the second tower was hit, and I remember just shaking my head. Were we under attack? From who? Why? Actually, the third question was, to me, the easiest to answer. Who hadn't we bullied and bent to our will at some point in our short 200+ years of existence? Whose country hadn't we tampered with, fixed elections in, supported a dictator in? Who DIDN'T have a motive to attack us?

But the third strike was truly the most bizarre. I flipped through the channels, stopped, watched, flipped some more. At one of the pauses, on CNN, a man was talking by phone, from the Pentagon. There was no picture.

"I think a bomb went off" is what I remember hearing. A bomb? In the Pentagon? That really did sound like war. I mean, now it wasn't JUST New York, as if that wasn't bad enough. That had the makings of a military attack, right? So I started flipping again, through the channels. But no other channel was covering anything about the Pentagon. How can that be, I thought? If a bomb went off, surely this guy on the phone talking to the CNN reporter wasn't the only witness? Where were the pictures?

The caller had not seen anything. He had only heard something, and was definitely guessing, by his own admission. But what got me was the fear in his voice. Somehow, I didn't expect that. It was many minutes before other stations starting reporting that the Pentagon had been hit. By another plane.

And then back to New York. Bodies falling. People leaping in a last ditch attempt to save their lives. What a horrible choice. Leap out of a tall building or burn to death. I was horrified. Still am horrified.

And yet, as I watched, I had this weird thought. Whoever did this is really smart. They know exactly where the power lies in this country. And it isn't in DC. It's on Wall Street. They're hitting us in our pocketbook, in the financial center of America. Whoever is doing this is speaking out about our economic imperialism.

I knew some people in New York, but no one who lived that far downtown. But I couldn't fail to be moved by the images of people in fear, the looks of horror as they gazed up at the towers.

And then it went from surreal to unreal, as the first tower came down. It was just unbelievable. It made no sense. It still makes no sense to me how one plane could do that, and that's not to say I subscribe to the explosives theory because I don't. I truly don't have any belief. I haven't seen enough science I can understand enough to believe, or enough experts credible enough to believe in, on any side of that debate. It was just - bizarre.

And the billowing cloud of dust, which I was only later to find out contained lead, mercury, radioactive materials from the fire alarms, PCBs and other horrific compounds. All I knew then was that people couldn't breathe. Homes and businesses were going to be ruined for months, if not years, to come. All those people. All that dust.

Then the second tower came down. The helicopter shots of the plume - a dark, ugly plume of smoke rising up and floating out over the Hudson.

People. People crying. People staring. People walking, thousands of them, walking home, having abandoned cars, buses, subways. Walking across the Brooklyn bridge. Defeated. Scared. Sad. Shaken. And mostly, shocked. It was like watching refugees in another country. It was so bizarre.

Up in Pennsylvania, a black hole in a ground. Not a crash site - not anything even resembling a crash site. A black pit. It was impossible to process the images, and the text that was being read to me, through the TV screen. How could a plane have crashed there? Where did the plane go? Even if it was pulverized I would have expected to have seen silver dust. But I accepted it all, lacking any capacity to evaluate what I was seeing in my stunned stupor.

And then there was no more time. I had to leave my sofa and head to work. It was the one of the quietest workdays of my life. Conversations were kept to a bare minimum. Everyone wandered around like the raised dead, lost in private thoughts, not ready yet to share them with others. Maybe saying prayers for loved ones. All of us, moving like living ghosts through the workday. Working until the clock said we could go home, and regluing myself to the TV for the next several nights.

More strangeness. EVERY FLIGHT IN AMERICA grounded. No planes. Anywhere. My God. Our government didn't know what was going on.

One of the most unsettling images, in a day of deeply unsettling images, was seeing our President, our leader, sitting in a chair after being notified of the attack. Just sitting, his face revealing the depths of his mind - a complete blank.

And all day - where was the President? In the air - out of DC, not speaking to us, not assuring the grounded nation that all would be well. Just...absent. At the most important moment in our collective lives.

Early on, people were pushing me and others in the JFK research community to "go after 9/11." I didn't want to. I have enough conspiracies to fight. If there's something there, let others find it. As I learned in the Kennedy case, it can take many years for solid evidence to surface. I am in no rush. The truth, the Haitians say, is like water in a clay pot. It always seeps out. I was, and still am, content to wait until the simple "my expert" vs. "your expert" phase passes. People can be wrong, and people can lie. So how can we know what it true? Whom to believe?

The only way I found that in the Kennedy case was by doing my own investigation. Only when I saw the files for myself, read original testimony for myself, did I form an opinion. That's what makes an informed opinion. An uninformed opinion as is worthless as it is, unfortunately, common. Finding the truth takes hard work and diligent research. And drawing conclusions about a 3D world from 2D pictures and videos seems to me a perilous exercise, at best.

So I'll read. And watch. And wait. Everything in my body screams there's something wrong with the official story. But I don't think the answer is to be found in the rubble of the World Trade Center, or the facade of the Pentagon. I think the answers are to be found in the laying in of a false history that paved a road to Iraq. That is where the story took a bizarre turn, a turn that I don't think would have been possible before 9/11. I think if there's something to find, that's where it will be. I hope there are people with the curiosity and fortitude to find out who planned and executed the mass mind control operation that caused good people to support a war that now, in hindsight, they wish they had not supported. That story will necessarily include the bizarre Anthrax scare coupled with Cipro profiteering. And it will include the further terrorization of the officials who had to vote on the war while the "DC Sniper" was killing randomly in their midst.

The full story will also include how a President who so completely abandoned us not just on 9/11, but again during Katrina, was able to get re-elected. Impossible. People are not THAT stupid.

I want to end by thanking Kahli, over at Booman Tribune, for a lovely essay reminding us that 9/11 is not just a day of sadness and horror. It is also the anniversary of one of the most hopeful movements of all time - Mahatma Gandhi began his non-violent resistance campaign on this day.

I think honoring Gandhi and what he stood for is the best way to honor the victims of 9/11. Because they would not have wanted their deaths to precipitate more deaths. They would have wanted us to find another way, to spare others their own fate. Protest when necessary. Do it without resorting to violence, and the moral authority will always be yours. Take no lives, but be willing to put yours on the line to help others. Therein lies the path to true greatness, and a most deserved immortality.


Post a Comment

<< Home