Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


  1. sricki

    Great place for people to share their thoughts, memories, and sympathies.

    They say there are certain events in everyone’s life which are of such significance that we all remember where we were when they occurred. This is certainly one of them — perhaps the only one in my short lifetime. I was 16, a junior in high school, and I was home sick. I was in a dozy half-sleep state when I heard my parents’ voices — and now, all these years later, I can’t remember why they were home that morning when they would normally have been at work. Chattering about the news. I sat up and un-muted my bedroom TV — watched in confusion and fear with the rest of the country — watched as the second tower was hit. I remember the sick feeling that came over me when the second plane crashed. That moment of absolute certainty when we knew in a flash: It wasn’t an accident — it wasn’t a mistake.

    I spent that day, and many days following, in and out of tears. I cried watching Bush speak, and in those moments, there was no animosity — there was no room for it. There was no way of knowing he would use that tragedy to start an illegal war. No way of knowing the way he would manipulate Congress and the American people in the way that he ultimately did. For those few minutes, he was, in my mind, just like me — a confused American who was hurting for his country. I had no energy to hate him, despite my lingering resentment over the election. If I had known then what he would do — the way he would use the deaths of all those innocent Americans to con and manipulate and frighten and destroy — I would have cried a hell of a lot harder.

    My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on this day.  

  2. DTOzone

    I sorta feel bad about it, but I feel like I cannot dwell on what happened. Not like my friends and family did in the months after. I remember my mother used to watch every documentary or TV special about 9/11 for years after it. It used to bug me because I just couldn’t sit there and watch it. Life had to go on. She dwelled on it, all the time. I couldn’t even watch the coverage of the memorials when I worked at ABC. I just if everyone else wants it, fine, but for me, I’ll sleep in late or do other work or go shopping. I remember, trust me I was there;

    The strangest memory I have of that week in September was Monday night. I was a senior at NYU and got back to my dorm a little late from one of my last classes. It was September 10th. My dorm had an slightly obstructed view of the World Trade Center towers. As I sat on my bed taking practice LSAT tests, I heard thunder. A thunderstorm came through Manhattan. I looked out of the window just in time to see lightning strike 1 World Trade Center. An ominous sign?

    The next morning I drifted in and out of sleep until I started hearing police sirens and fire sirens. Not normally odd to hear that in New York, but the amount of them had me wondering what was up. Next thing, my cell phone rang. One of those old Nokia phones, you know, the ones with snake on them. I answered it, my mom. She asked me what was going on at the World Trade Center. I asked “What do you mean?” and when I turned around and looked up at the towers, my mouth fell. Tower one, the one struck by lightning only 11 hours earlier, was burning, with a big gaping hole in it. I could barely make out, what appeared to be the tail of an airplane in the hole, so I wasn’t surprised when she told me an airplane had flew into it. I knew immediately this was no accident.

    You see, you couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was 70 degrees, it was perhaps one of the top 10 perfect weather days this decade in the Big Apple. The weather is something I will ALWAYS remember.

    The next few hours were all a blur. My first intention was to, as my mother demanded “Get the hell out of the city.” I packed what I could and tried to head for Penn Station to get a LIRR train to Huntington (My home was in Commack, Long Island at the time.) All trains were stopped however I soon found myself trapped in Lower Manhattan. When the towers collapsed, the ash and smoke didn’t make it as far as Greenwich Village, but it sure came close. I can see people heading uptown covered in dust and crying, some even bleeding. Before long, I gathered with my friends on campus and we all plotted our escape from the city and discussed the events. By nightfall, an eerie calm had covered the city, a silence only broken by the sound of fighter planes.

    I didn’t sleep that night, at all. I kept checking the internet to see if railroad trains were running again. In the morning, 24 hours after the attacks, the trains were running. I caught a cab to Penn Station. I found myself in a situation I thought I’d never find myself in…scared to get into a cab with who I perceived to be a Middle Eastern driver. I was actually frightened he might choose to kill me. Can you imagine that?

    I got on a 9:55 train to Huntington. As the train left Manhattan, I breathed a sigh of relief. I looked out the window once we got into Queens and noticed the smoke still billowing from the World Trade Center site. The smoke got further and further away, but was still noticeable from as far away as Garden City.

    My mother picked me up from the station. I was ecstatic to see her. I commented that I was surprised to see so many people had gone to work that day because I noticed how packed the parking lot was. I felt sick later when I found out many of those cars had been there since Tuesday morning and belonged to people who never made it back from Manhattan to reclaim them. They had been lost in the attacks. Such as a scene all over Long Island at railroad stations.

    Once I got back to my house in Commack, I collapsed on my bed. I didn’t go back to school for over a week…school had been closed anyway, but even had it been open, I probably would’ve have gone back. I needed to be with my family, safe in the far eastern suburbs.

    We lost a dozen or so community members in the towers. The most poignant memory for me was at the end of that week, that Friday night. Somewhere I had heard that we were asked to put candles on our front stoop that night. So I did. I put tea lights in two candle holders my mother had on the mantle over the fireplace and went out to the front stoop. I put the candles down at the top of the step and stood up. I stood there, the only person outside on the block, in the quiet night and looked up and down the street. Like stars in the sky, candles flickered on the front stoops of every house on the block, in both directions, as far as I could see.

    I almost transfered schools because I felt I couldn’t go back to NYU, so close to the World Trade Center. I didn’t because it would have been stupid to drop out or transfer in my Senior year, especially while trying to get into law school. I felt bitter for a long time, that college for me had been ruined because it would forever be overshadowed by 9/11. Eventually the bitterness and fear turned into strength and over time, I adjusted to post 9/11 life.

    I graduated cum laude in 2002, went to law school, got a JD, worked as a news producer, covered two Presidential elections, got to go to Italy for the 2006 Winter Olympics, travelled, had a couple of relationships, lost friends and family, gained new friends…and family. Grew older and wiser. Boy, what a ride the last eight years have been.  

  3. I traveled all the time in those days, and having bought the lodge in Ontario at the beginning of the year would bend trips to stop in Toronto for a few days or a week whenever I could and we had begun to trend towards living there.  I had popped back for the labor day weekend and extended it for a few days longer.  The night before I had driven into the city to save the 150-mile drive in the morning and was catching up on some keyboard work at some friends’ house and as the morning wore on I started missing calls from my friend and Donna while I tried to plow through the backlog.  It was almost 10:30 when Donna finally got me and said: “They did it.  They knocked down the towers.”

    As I attempted to absorb what she meant I switched channels on the TV looking for CNN.  Just as I found it the top of the second tower tipped and the dust plumed out.

    I started trying to get hold of colleagues and family in New York.  Two of my cousins flew for American, both survived but lost many friends.  My colleague who worked in the towers every day was eventually located safe.  It wasn’t until later in the day that I learned that Suzanne Calley had been on the plane that hit the Pentagon, and that another friend had breakfast with her at Logan that morning and was now in Tennessee, beginning a trip back to California with four others in a van.

    I watched Mullah Omar claim innocence and knew he was lying.  As the rest of the world offered condolences (Even Libya?!?  The PLO?!?) I watched Saddam stand on his balcony and fire his rifle in victory in front of a cheering throng – and I wanted him dead.

    There was, of course, no 1:30 flight home that day.  Fortunately I still had a rental car and that evening made the drive back through the woods to the lodge in the middle of nowhere.  I listened to AM skip radio all the way up, 880 CBS out of NYC was clear as a bell and the announcer had been on the air since dawn watching the whole thing unfold out his window.  

    It was a week before the planes started again.  During that time I spent too much time alone in front of the TV, but local friends came by and kept me company (there was no being distracted).  The distance made it harder – the sympathy of my friends was great but their country and identity had not been attacked (though it was the second greatest loss of Canadian life to terrorism).  I explained it as best seemed appropriate to my six year old son over the telephone.

    I hadn’t liked Bush when he was elected (Jr.??) but short of a flinch or two at some incredibly stupid words (that would come back to haunt us all) I stood shoulder to shoulder with him.  As the months unfolded and some of my foreign friends started predicting that America would screw up the response I became more and more defensive and determined to argue my country’s case.  As the years went by (Iraq?!?!  Well OK, damnit, as long as we don’t do it stupidly…d’oh!) and the actions of the administration got harder to defend (stop calling America a Christian country!) the very nature of America became the target of debate.  I wasn’t having any of that (and never will).  An election happened in the middle of things and while I really wanted to vote for an insertion of intelligence the alternative presented came off looking lame, so I voted to give this fraying path one more chance to work out.

    In the end I stood looking back at a terrible loss that offered a realm of opportunity along with the cost already spent – and the opportunities were largely wasted.  We never finished dealing with the source of the attack, instead of re-establishing global leadership we alienated ourselves, instead of increasing our cohesion we increased our devisions.  We did not demonstrate the value of the fundamentals of American culture, we demonstrated that you cannot bully others into submission.

    I still believe that this country is an incredible place, and that the fine bits of tuning that have led to our position of leadership are intrinsically positive and essential to human progress.  I still believe that this can be clearly demonstrated to ourselves and to the rest of the world.  

    Most of all, I still believe that the nihilistic fools who beckon us all back to theocratic superstition or dictatorial submission are wrong on every level, and I’m appalled to see them rising in our midst.  

  4. btchakir

    9/11 – Eight years later, approximately 4,400 more dead Americans, and an unsure future.

    President Obama has declared today as a day of Public Service and Remembrance. That is an interesting concept. I serve by writing this blog and supporting candidates who make a positive change and, hopefully, will get us out of the wars we have entered. In terms of remembrance, I remember how the tragedy of 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration to go after Iraq… something we never had to do.

    I read in Mother Jones this morning an article on how 9/11 should be remembered and I give you this extract:

    After 9/11, it could all have been different, profoundly different. And if it had, there would have been no children imprisoned without charges or release dates in our gulag in Cuba; there would have been no unmanned drones slaughtering wedding parties in the rural backlands of Afghanistan or the Iraqi desert; there would have been no soldiers returning to the U.S. with two or three limbs missing or their heads and minds grievously damaged (there were already 320,000 traumatic brain injuries to soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan by early 2008, according to the RAND Corporation); there would not have been a next round of American deaths – 4,334 in Iraq, 786 in Afghanistan to date; there would have been no trillion dollars taken from constructive projects to fatten the corporations of war; no extreme corrosion of the Bill of Rights, no usurpation of powers by the executive branch. Perhaps.

    It COULD have been different… but it wasn’t.

    To really remember 9/11 now, and to provide the greatest of services, we could move as strongly as possible toward getting out of the military commitment to the civil wars of the Middle East and toward reestablishing the Rights and Freedoms for all classes that made America great.

    We could.

    We could.

    Oh, how we could.

    Under The LobsterScope

  5. …especially since I’ve really been impressed by the recollections of DT’OZone, Chris Blask, and others…

    But when will there come a day when 9/11 ceases to define the American political landscape?

    I remember that day all too vividly too, especially as my partner at the time was a White House Fellow, and was supposed to be visiting the Pentagon. I remember the turbulence of the days and weeks that followed as I tried to get across the Atlantic to meet her. Of course, that tragedy should never be forgotten. But it should not define the US in the way I fear it has done.

    I remember writing this at the time, to the various American friends and list servs I belonged to. Though on nothing of this scale, I had been brought up in London throughout ten years of IRA bombs, two of which had exploded in 1999 with a mile of where my kids lived, and outside the place their mother worked.

    Don’t give into terrorism by being terrorised. That’s what they want. They want you to change your actions, to change your world. And the best way to defeat them is to go about your business as before: defy them by not changing your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Or as so many foreigners said in sympathy with Londoners after the 7/7 tube blasts: we are not afraid.

    It’s hard for me, as a non-American, to get that correct balance between a moving recognition and silence for the loss of innocent life, and a refusal to let that tragedy define you. But an American posted the following comment on MYDD during the primaries, and I’ll let the anonymous poster say it for me:

    I want a president who can one day restore Sept. 11th to its rightful place on the calendar: as the day after Sept. 10th and before Sept. 12th. I do not want it to become a day that defines us. Because ultimately Sept. 11th is about them – the bad guys – not about us. We’re about the Fourth of July.

  6. fogiv

    …who was killed in the first tower.  Didn’t know her well at all; I had only met her a few times, through a close mutual friend in 2000.  The clear memory of her face  is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of 9/11.  

    Another of my friends worked for months upon months after the attacks, as part of the cadre of forensic anthropologists, sorting and trying to identify fragments of people as the clean-up wore on and on.  Some days, they’d spend hours on their feet before a conveyor belt, plucking out things like charred teeth and partially melted wedding rings from the never ending river of rubble.  He’s a very different man now.

  7. It’s not only the memory of the tragedy that took nearly 3,000 lives and plunged our nation into fear of more attacks. That was bad enough and it will take many years for the wounds to heal. What bothers me most about 9/11 is that we let the terrorists win. We gave them the victory. The whole goal of terrorism is self-evident in its name. They terrorized us and we let them do it. We are still letting them do it.

    That’s it. I can’t go on. Not now. It makes me sick to think of the difference between what might have been and the reality of what is.

  8. Reaper0bot0

    Too many others had to join them in the hereafter because we simply don’t know how to take a hit.  Payback is fine, payback is just.  That covered Afghanistan.  

    It didn’t cover Iraq.  What have we done?

  9. dtox

    I was still at university in Pakistan. I was living in halls at the time (dorms to you Americans). As we all looked at the TV in the common room in disbelief, our own little “Us vs. Them” dynamic formed. A few people in the room were laughing and celebrating – some I used to call friends but didn’t after that day. Some friends and I exchanged looks of shock, but didn’t say anything at the time. I felt disgust such as I never had before or have since. I guess I lost a certain sort of innocence in that moment.

    It struck me then how many of us enable acts of inhumanity even if we don’t take part in them ourselves. And I’m not just talking about 9/11, of course.  

  10. alyssa chaos

    As a teenager from the middle of nowhere, I might have heard about the twin towers and the WTC once or twice and I sure didn’t know much of anything about them before that day, I wasn’t expected to.

    The thing that strikes me most is that there are people like me that didn’t know anything about the people who died that day or what the WTC was and others who might not even remember the attacks -fighting wars because of what happened that day.

    Now every one is expected to know about the twin towers and what happened.

    2001. it seems like such a very long time ago.  

  11. and i remember this day vividly.

    … ill never forget hearing years later from a new yorker how his IT colleagues in the trade center were told to return to the buildings to back up the servers and were killed.

    much as we don’t want this day to be defined for us – it was. it changed everything… for me personally, i still to this day cannot look into the sky and not view airplanes in the same way.

  12. I gave endless executive briefings in the years leading up to that day.  Cantor Fitzgerald was a big customer of our and had come in for a briefing that I gave.  On 9/11 Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 people – 2/3 of the workforce and everyone in the offices at that time, including everyone involved with my products.

    I remember talking to them.  I remember a room full of energetic, young people.

    I can’t remember any of their faces.  

  13. dtox

    I guess this can’t really be OT.

    I hadn’t seen any of the papers this morning. When I went to shop for food in the afternoon, the front page of The Guardian stopped me dead in my tracks.

    He dropped his head on his palm that was resting on the table, and started banging his head against his white mottled hand. When he raised his head his eyes were red and tears were rolling down his cheek: “I couldn’t find my son, so I took a piece of flesh with me home and I called it my son. I told my wife we had him, but I didn’t let his children or anyone see. We buried the flesh as it if was my son.”

    How can this be an acceptable price to pay for… for anything.

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