Holy shit has it really been 20 years September 10, 2021 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I don't have anything really insightful to say here, other than I am reeling from the time passed, from the resources wasted, from the lives lost. A New Yorker, who was downtown that day, who says that she wants to send hugs to everybody on this awful anniversary.
posted by computech_apolloniajames to MetaFilter-Related at 8:06 PM (41 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

It's definitely gonna be a weird few days and a likely deep saturation of media coverage. Everybody take care of yourselves.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 PM on September 10, 2021 [4 favorites]

Of course MetaFilter is a part of that history.
posted by chavenet at 1:15 AM on September 11, 2021 [13 favorites]

Just today I received an email from a 9/11 widow whose two boys grew up to be just like their dad. His daughter is quite the accomplished woman. Her husband was a HS friend of mine. 105th floor of Tower 1. Cantor Fitz. One of close to 500 employees that died that day. I worked in Tower 2 for a while. I used to meet him up at Windows on the World for breakfast. We would be going to an analyst meeting or some sponsored event and invite the other to have the free breakfast and hang out. He did get a chance to leave a voice mail for his family. His daughter had written an essay of what it was like to be an 8 yo kid who was forever known in school and around town as the kid whose dad died in the Towers. A lot of pressure that she did not understand until much later but he felt it and felt like it took her until she went away to boarding school for her senior year to be able to be someone other than "that kid".

Like so many NYers and DC/Pentagon people, I have so many memories and stories from that day and the days, weeks, months, and even years that followed. Just two months ago, I presented an affidavit to the victim's compensation fund on behalf of an employee of mine who spent time downtown a mere two blocks from the pile, the rubble, who came down with lung cancer. He was a not ever a smoker.

The courage displayed that day by so many NYers, First Responders, and ordinary citizens still makes me proud. I lost a few friends that day and, well, a certain sort of innocence. Watch a plane fly into Tower 2 and see people jump out of windows on the 100th floor and you will never be the same. One of my children became a volunteer firefighter and joined the Army partially he says because of 9/11.

I could write tons here. I already wrote a notebook full of memories and events that really helped me to understand, to move past and to appreciate the magnitude of events that day. I know I was changed by the events, but I hope it is to have become more compassionate, more understanding, more accepting, and more tolerant. The alternative is to become angry and bitter.

Peace and love to all.
posted by AugustWest at 1:28 AM on September 11, 2021 [39 favorites]

This is pretty much everything I want to say about 9/11, this year and every year.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:08 AM on September 11, 2021 [24 favorites]

I wasn't a member here yet, but I was lurking in those days. I had taken most of the morning off from work to be home for the Comcast tech who was coming to hook up my TV and internet. The first tower was already on fire when he showed up, and we watched the second plane hit the second tower, on the Today Show or CBS This Morning (I was flipping around by that point.)

Everyone was huddled around a TV when I walked into work later that morning. I went to the gumdrop iMac on my desk and opened Metafilter in an Internet Explorer tab as per usual.
posted by emelenjr at 7:21 AM on September 11, 2021 [6 favorites]

The Library of Congress link...it's amazing MeFi is in there...but I can't seem to actually see the actual 9/11 day within it...am I missing something about how their archive works? It seems to skip over 9/11 specifically. Thanks...
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:42 AM on September 11, 2021

I was in high school. Mr. Nawrotzky's calculus class. (Twenty years later, and I still can't spell his name, but I remember which desk I was sitting at: second row from the board, two over from the door.) Class had just started when the principal came on the PA system and told us. And then we had to sort of go through the day? Except no one could do any work, teachers nor students. My chemistry teacher still had us do whatever experiment was planned for the day, but with the radio on; most teachers just scrapped their lesson plans.

It was just the weirdest, blurriest, disorienting day. We were in a suburb of DC; many of my classmates had parents who worked downtown. My history teacher's husband worked at the Pentagon, so of course she left right away. (He survived.) I remember getting to history class, and of course there was no sub, so our English teacher -- it was a co-taught history/English group -- was just like "Um, read chapter 3? Or not." I remember just kind of wandering around the halls, like we were all in a weird trance.

Sometime around lunch, I heard a rumor that there was another plane which was headed for the White House but had crashed. We now know, of course, this was Flight 93, but it's hard to convey to kids today how we simultaneously knew so much and so little: this was pre social media, pre Twitter, pre texting. Hardly anyone even had a cellphone. My parents worked about a block from the White House, so I started really freaking out. I went back to Mr. Nawrotzky's room and he let me use his room phone to call my mom's office. It took a while to connect because all circuits were busy, and then it ended up going to her voicemail. Same with my dad's line. And our home phone.

I was so terrified that I had been orphaned. I'm shaking now, just thinking about it. And I think what scared me almost as much is that when I hung up, obviously not having reached anyone, is when I looked at Mr. N for guidance, and all he could do was just look back at me, scared himself, and I realized in that moment that grownups didn't have all the answers. Sixteen is probably a little late to be learning that lesson, but I was a sheltered kid.

Of course I knew there was evil in the world, and I reject the cliche about losing one's innocence in a moment of national tragedy, but that fear and uncertainty was qualitatively different than anything I've experienced before or since. I went through the rest of the afternoon in a complete haze; the next thing I remember solidly is getting home at the end of the day and seeing my parents' car on our driveway and just sinking to the ground with relief. They'd left DC shortly after the first plane hit, gave rides to work friends who usually take Metro. They must have gotten home just a little while after I called.

I was living in NYC in 2011, and now I'm in a place which, like most of the country, was not directly affected by the events. Of course everyone "remembers where they were," but it was so bizarre on Friday afternoon when a colleague asked if I had any fun plans for the weekend and I was just like "??????" Unintentional, of course, but it was a reminder for me that, for the vast majority of people, Sept 11 is just a day.
posted by basalganglia at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2021 [15 favorites]

Metafilter was a haven of news, links, support. I joined just after, because it showed me that I needed this community. The aftermath of the event is very strong, still, draconian laws and wars that killed so many, compounding the tragedy. My nerves are raw with all of the remembrances. Peace to all of us.
posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

If you were in New York that day you know what the sky looked like, and where I live, it looks like that today.
posted by vrakatar at 9:05 AM on September 11, 2021 [18 favorites]

My wife and I were on our honeymoon in Nova Scotia (coming from Seattle). We were in Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, and that morning we were on a sailboat in Bras d'Or Lake. I looked up at saw a number of jet contrails showing the planes making U-turns, and told my wife that looked odd. Right after that, the captain of the boat got a phone call and told us, "Something bad went down in New York City." The boat headed back to the dock, and still not sure quite sure was going on, someone who knew we were Americans directed us to the nearby Royal Canadian Legion hall where we numbly watched the news on a large screen TV while sitting at the bar. They wouldn't let us pay for our beer.

We were scheduled to end our honeymoon in NYC, flying there on 9/13. Of course, that wasn't going to happen. We had two more days in Nova Scotia, with reservations at a B&B in Peggy's Cove. Everyone was very subdued and kind to us. We knew we couldn't get back to Seattle until the the air space reopened to flights. The B&B originally didn't have any rooms available beyond on reservations, but there were plenty of cancellations for us to stay as long as we needed. The proprietors of the B&B knew people at Canada Rail and Air Canada (Canadian air space opened up before American air space) and tried to find out about getting us a way to get to Vancouver to enable to get back to Seattle more easily. However, the fares were exorbitant and we decided to stay put until we could fly back to Seattle directly with our original tickets. That took a week, with many hours on hold with Continental Airlines ensuring that we had a flight out of Halifax with a connecting flight in Newark. More than once we had reservations, only to find they were cancelled when I called again to confirm. We did our best to enjoy our extra week despite all the trauma.

When we flew out of Halifax, we saw all the airplanes that had been forced to land after the airspace was shutdown. Although we were stranded in Nova Scotia for an extra week, we were lucky to already have place to stay and a rental car, as opposed as all the people whose flights ended unexpectedly in Canada. As for a place to be stranded after 9/11, we couldn't ask for a much better place than Nova Scotia. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, and everyone was kind and concerned for our well being.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:28 AM on September 11, 2021 [16 favorites]

. x 2,966 killed in the towers

. x 46,319 civilians killed in Afghanistan

. x 183,535 civilians killed in Iraq
posted by lalochezia at 12:01 PM on September 11, 2021 [25 favorites]

The Library of Congress link...it's amazing MeFi is in there...but I can't seem to actually see the actual 9/11 day within it...am I missing something about how their archive works? It seems to skip over 9/11 specifically. Thanks...

The Library of Congress September 11, 2001 Web Archive contains snapshots of MetaFilter captured multiple times between September 20, 2001 and September 16, 2002. With regards to MetaFilter's 9/11 thread, the earliest capture of it was the 9/11 thread as it stood on September 20th.
posted by RichardP at 12:12 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Human Cost of Post 9/11 Wars
posted by y2karl at 12:28 PM on September 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

I had just moved to TriBeCa a week earlier and ended up taking some of my last film photos that day. (cw: photos of that and a few things from the days following.) I tend to forget most things, but I still have some vivid memories from this time.
posted by snofoam at 12:35 PM on September 11, 2021 [10 favorites]

I didn’t become a member here until almost a year after 9/11, but even then spent a lot of time here and found it a great source of news and opinions. I just went back and flagged the original post as fantastic; it really captures how the events of the day unfolded as well as having some remarkably prescient comments. And at 491 comments it was considered a megathread by the standards of the day. I wonder what became of some of the members in that thread, especially Karen who made the original post and had a lot of friends working in the WTC. (Her profile still links to her blog and it looks like she is doing fine even if she hasn’t been involved with MeFi since 2006). That thread really does seem like the sort of thing future historians can look at to get a feel for what happened that day.
posted by TedW at 1:05 PM on September 11, 2021 [12 favorites]

I remember walking into work that morning and hearing someone say a plane had flown into a skyscraper in NYC. I assumed some idiot had screwed up and smacked their Cessna into it - as basalganglia mentioned, news (especially of unfolding events) was slower to spread back then, and at the time I wasn't aware of the existence of Metafilter. But then as I read more news online and realized what had actually happened I was deeply shocked and - well, "desolated" doesn't seem like a strong enough word to describe my state of mind. I didn't know anyone or have any family in New York or DC but that didn't diminish how terrible the events were - though I can't imagine how much worse I would have felt if I had.

Back then I largely ignored news and politics, and while I was already pretty cynical regarding humanity I had no idea that anyone would hate the US enough to do something like that (nor was I aware of what the US had done to generate such hate). Over the next few weeks my brain whirled around and around how could it possibly be that despite all the amazing things humans had accomplished - beautiful works of art and music, astounding medical, scientific, and technological advances (we had gone to space for christ's sake!) - underneath we were still essentially apes sitting in the mud and hitting each other with sticks. Occasionally I'd get so caught up in those thoughts that I'd end up alternately shaking with fury and weeping with grief for minutes at a time. All the while I was trying to continue leading a "normal" life, whatever that meant; and I've no doubt many others were doing the same.

The sharp pain of that day's events have dulled to a barely-discernable ache by now. But in the meantime I've become more well-informed - and cynical, which I once wouldn't have believed possible; and I continue to have an ever-dimmer opinion of religion, fanaticism, and our government.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:28 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Prince, of course, was the prophet:

(I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray)

But when I woke up this morning
I could have sworn it was judgment day

(The sky was all purple
There were people runnin' everywhere)

Tryin' to run from the destruction
And you know I didn't even care

'Cuz they say...

2000 zero zero party over oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999

posted by chavenet at 1:47 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

20 years ago I was also a high school student in a DC suburb, I suspect not very far away from basalganglia. As a technology nerd I'd saved money and purchased a Palm Pilot and a foldable keyboard for it over the summer, and happened to have them with me on that day. I had almost completely forgotten about it, but a few months ago I was going through some old files on my hard drive that have been copied over across numerous computer upgrades, and found a text document titled "Tuesday, September 11, 2001." I'll share the contents here.
I'm writing this at about 1:00 PM, on Tuesday, the 11th of September, 2001. The day started pretty normally, with me getting out of bed reluctantly and heading to school. My French class passed normally, and everyone in the class was ready to move to the next period. Then our principal came on over the PA system to announce that there had been two major acts of terrorism within the previous hour.

The World Trade Center in New York was demolished by two airplanes, hijacked and used as missiles. The Pentagon, much closer to home, was also hit by a hijacked plane, though with less severe damage. We didn't learn all this immediately, though. All we were told was that two planes had been deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers, and there had been an explosion of some sort at the Pentagon. Then we went to the next class.

I was kind of dazed, moving through the hallways. Most of the other people seemed to want to ignore it. Others seemed just as shocked as I was.

I arrived in Physics, and started worrying more. My mother works for the Library of Congress. Hardly a major terrorist target, but close enough to the Capitol to be hit if there was another plane. I also worried for my friends. Many Alexandrians commute to work in DC every day, and I was afraid that my friends' parents could have been hurt or killed in the Pentagon attack.

My physics teacher is one of those who believes we should continue work even under such circumstances. I don't really disagree with him, either. Hard work takes the mind off troubles. But I wanted more details. Another teacher came in and convinced him to let us check the news in the next room, fortunately, so we did. I gathered more details, my horror only rising the more that I heard. Then we were brought back to Physics.

One of my closest friends was not in class. I was a bit worried about him, but I assumed it was just a minor illness. So far as I knew, he didn't have any relatives working in the Pentagon or in New York. Our teacher gave his lecture on vectors, and we took notes, and it even helped take my mind off things.

It didn't work perfectly, though. We heard a huge explosion in the distance, and the sound of airplanes overhead. I started worrying all over again. The news had said all commercial planes were supposed to be grounded. Had another target been hit? Then someone walking by outside informed us that it had been an exploding gas station. [ed.: It was not.] That seemed absurd, but the morning had been too frightening for that to seem unlikely. I later heard that it was either a car bomb outside the State Department building [ed.: It was not.] or a sonic boom from the military jets patrolling above (which explained the sound of jet engines). But nothing collapsed on our heads, and so we continued doing physics.

Then my friend arrived. His eyes were a little bit red; I started worrying immediately. His mother had been interviewing for a new job at the Pentagon that day, and he had no news. I did what I could to console him.  Minutes later, an administrator stopped by our door to tell him that his mom was okay, and that she was volunteering her services as a driver to help relieve the disaster. A small happiness in the fear.

Eventually our physics teacher stopped trying to lecture. It had been two hours, and we were all tired and worried.  I have been in my physics class since. The school administration decided to lock down all the schools during the morning, when it was feared there may be another hijacked plane heading to Washington, so I will probably be here for the rest of the day.

It is now 1:50 PM. I still haven't heard anything from my mother, but I assume she's fine. [ed.: She was.] More of my friends have reported that their family members working near the Pentagon are okay.

We learned that Palestine is claiming responsibility for the terrorist attacks. [ed.: This of course was not true.] Speculation is running wild: perhaps they're angry because the US pulled out of the recent UN South African conference on racism that denounced Israel as a racist state. I don't know what our own government will do in response. I hope nothing rash. There has been too much death already; I don't want to see any more.
I don't recall exactly what I was thinking as I wrote this, but it seems like I was trying to write to the future, perhaps to future historians who would not know me. I do remember the incredible, overwhelming sense of dread that I felt at that time and over the coming days that those closing sentences barely brush upon. We knew what type of administration was in charge of our government, and the drumbeat of war began almost instantly. At some level, I knew war was coming, and it was going to be a disaster.
posted by biogeo at 2:07 PM on September 11, 2021 [23 favorites]

Just in case - I'm going to assume that the "x number of people in the Towers, Y number of people in the wars...." is a "yes, and" kind of comment reminding everyone of the grand total of casualties instead of a "okay, but" kind of comment where the message is "we wring our hands over this but that was worse".

Because I realized on the evening of 9/11/01 that there is a non-zero chance I might have been one of those people, and so that particular figure weights especially heavy on me and I'm not going to apologize for that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:47 PM on September 11, 2021 [10 favorites]

All those people who sat and feared being bombed in Iraq and Afghanistan, all who were sitting in towns and cities where the bombs were landing, they all felt like it could happen to them too. That gravity was brought to all of them. But there were 50 times more of them. That's why the numbers are important.
posted by biffa at 4:05 PM on September 11, 2021 [12 favorites]

I was on the West Coast, in high school. It had all happened before school. I remember school was delayed hat day. I remember being proud of the engineering that the building's stayed up with the initial hit. Shock and sadness when I had found they had fallen down.

Even at that age I knew I was living in an age of unequaled peace and prosperity, at least at home, and that it wouldn't last. I knew that some day all the military adventurism, throwing bombs and cruise missiles around the world, sooner or later that would come back to our shores. I just wished it wasn't so soon.

Still even so, i remember being angry, vengeful. It was an act of war. Hotheaded, dumb teenage me wanted a fight. And... it was not clear who. Still, I bet if I'd been 2 years older I would have ended up in the military as another one of those poor bastards that had to server in Afghanistan, in Iraq, with no clear mission and constant danger.

I'm still conflicted about originally going into Afghanistan. I've heard people criticize the conduct of the war, that we should have just gone in with as few people as possible and try to catch bin Laden. But that's what we did, as far as I can tell. But we failed. Bin Laden got away. But Bush had to pretend a win, fly in with his mission accomplished banner and pretend nation building was what we were there for all along.

I remember hearing of laws being act, the Patriot Act. I remember seeing the dire threat that fear posed. Thinking politicians, especially conservatives, were complete fucking cowards. For all the people that have lost their lives in heinous acts, terrorists' main weapon is fear. It's in the name And I've seen nothing but surrender after surrender the entirety of my adult life, surrendering freedom for fear. Surrendering privacy for surveillance, freedom of religion for xenophobia, freedom to protest for, heck, I don't even know.

I remember a couple years later, at the end of high school now, the lead up to the Iraq war. I remember there being projections that the whole thing would cost 3-4 trillion dollars. I'm sure the pro war people would have dismissed that. I remember doing some napkin math, figuring how much it would take to just build enough solar plants to run the country that we didn't have to care about oil-money funded terrorism again. I came up with something on the order of 4 trillion dollars. Some business capitalists we were. We went to war.

I remember watching Colin Powell address the UN on TV. I'm guessing I was one of the few nerdy enough to bother. I remember being rightly impressed - he managed to make hours of presentation out of a couple suspicious looking trailers that might have been used for something WMD related. Maybe. If I'd had those skills, bullshitting 15 minute presentations for school after having done no research until the night before would have been easy.

I remember the news reports change their tune from "Finding WMDs" to "Liberating Iraqis" over the course of 3 days give or take. It hadn't been that long since I'd had to read 1984 for English class. We'd always been at war with East Asia.

And I know this is the wrong crowd, a bunch of jaded leftists who have known all along that American exceptionalism was just a hollow imperialist lie. Good you're very smart. But America did stand for something once, at least in the eyes of her people. People who might have had a favorite party, but didn't know much about history, about politics, they didn't just believe America was the good guys because patriotism, they wanted America to be the good guys and do the right thing. Save people from oppression, help the world. None of that edgelord antihero "oh we had to torture people" crap. Saying "America first" would at least get you some pushback from people who thought you unpatriotic, that American ideals should be higher than that.

The cold war had ended and all the messy, evil things we did in that imperial game could be swept under the rug as part of the past. There was hope that somehow America could forget all that, that without great threats, moral compromise wouldn't be necessary. It was a naive hope. But belief is worth something.

I wish all those younger than me growing up in conservative background who style themselves as patriots could understand what was taken from them, no what was stolen from them, not by terrorists, but by their elders and leaders they trust. Leaders who at every turn have surrendered every last higher ideal American patriotism used to even pretend to stand for. Out of fear. Fear that all those open and free ideals might give some terrorist some chance to strike and sink their reelection chances.

I would have wished that those styling themselves patriots would have been made of sterner stuff. That they would have held their politicians to account rather than acted like a frightened herd. That those who decry a nanny state would not wish to be coddled. Where was all this all this "I'll risk my life for freedoms" when it would have bought the soul of America rather than just more deaths from a mindless disease?


I feel old. I'm not even middle aged.
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:51 PM on September 11, 2021 [11 favorites]

Prince, of course, was the prophet

grey skies

posted by clavdivs at 5:07 PM on September 11, 2021

Very complex feelings today. I hope all of you found at least a few moments of kindness or peace or positivity today. Or failing that, that you were able to gift some of that to people around you.
posted by glaucon at 5:11 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was hospitalized in the state hospital in Kansas. I came back from music therapy to the pictures on TV. I just stood there. I was 25 and suddenly I felt 125. The day before I was with my treatment team planning my discharge back home to Ohio. I don't remember much of that day except all the psychologists and social workers and psych nurses being available to talk to. I don't remember what went on in group, if we even had group.

I flew home the day the airplanes started flying again. It was surreal going into the airport. It was nothing like it was the last time I flew back to grad school in Texas. I remember begging the travel people at the hospital to put me on a bus. I never had a fear of flying until that day. I think they had given me some Ativan or Xanax to help me though the trip home.
posted by kathrynm at 6:08 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't have anything insightful to say only that the comment I just discovered I made on 9/10/01 about Bin Laden was a bit creepy,
posted by geoff. at 6:48 PM on September 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

(And I strongly encourage anyone who is tired of the general same 9/11 commentary to read the other threads on 9/11. Nostradamus posts, threads without links, from absolute vitriol to blaming America, it was as much a microcosm of our feelings that day as it was a reflection of how the Internet and Metafilter process news)
posted by geoff. at 6:58 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I looked up at saw a number of jet contrails showing the planes making U-turns, and told my wife that looked odd.

That's a vivid and striking image that I have never encountered before.

I was off work that day. I got up at maybe 8:45, had a shower, and got out of the shower to hear both the land line and my cell phone ringing, as well as the downstairs neighbour pounding on the door. Like a lot of us, I spent the day glued to the teevee. And as with many of us far removed from the horrors unfolding, it all seemed entirely unreal.

I have visited New York many times from my home in Canada; six months later I was there for the first time Since, and even seeing the empty sky and the excavation site, it never seemed quite believable. Then a friend of mine from Brooklyn who was with me stood by a marble planter in lower Manhattan, reached under the plant, ran his finger along the top of the planter. Even after half a year of cleanup and an entire winter of rains and snows, he still held up a fingertip coated in thick grey concrete dust.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2021 [11 favorites]

I have a story about today today with a mostly happy ending if anyone's in the mood...

In 1993 I was very sad to have to stiff Alison Bechdel $25.

She was nice about it in a resigned way; she didn't seem surprised but she wasn't happy about it either.
I was part of a local college feminist newspaper that bought a "Dykes to Watch Out For" strip every month. We were quickly going broker and flakier and I like to think she understood our perspective.

But even now, thinking about my awkward email conversation with her and how badly I wanted to pay her and how I would have gladly given her the money from my pocket if I'd had it, I still cringe.

And that summer we killed that feminist newspaper that had been a community resource for fifteen years. 🙁
I wrote that story on Facebook back in April 2019 and a couple people commented that I should mail the $25 to Alison Bechdel and a few weeks ago I did.

Today I got a package in the mail from her that I'm almost positive is a book - I'm letting the anticipation build for awhile before I open it.
posted by bendy at 8:07 PM on September 11, 2021 [29 favorites]

All those people who sat and feared being bombed in Iraq and Afghanistan, all who were sitting in towns and cities where the bombs were landing, they all felt like it could happen to them too. That gravity was brought to all of them. But there were 50 times more of them. That's why the numbers are important.

No one has said they're UNimportant, but for today could we perhaps allow people with direct memories of 9/11 feel like they are allowed to HAVE those memories, please?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2021 [16 favorites]

Snofoam, my local library screened this film tonight. It has footage from the same corner - that Stomp ad - where you took your shots. If you are inclined to look, you might find your younger self here.
posted by minervous at 8:16 PM on September 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

My 9/11 story embarrases me. For various reasons I didn't grasp the weight of the news I'd seen at 10 AM until 8 or 9 PM EST.

The book from Alison Bechdel is The Secret to Superhuman Strength and she included a kind note.
posted by bendy at 12:20 AM on September 12, 2021 [14 favorites]

Here's what I wrote about 9/11 in 2013. I still stand by what I said.
posted by gudrun at 10:20 AM on September 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't remember much from that day. I think we were sent home early from work after it was confirmed that Flight 93 had crashed a hour or so away from where I worked.
What I do recall later that year was our company was slated to have a Reduction in Force of 20% right around that date but the CEO thought it'd look bad, so they deferred it for another month.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 10:25 AM on September 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't have anything insightful to say only that the comment I just discovered I made on 9/10/01 about Bin Laden

I linked to that thread
It is odd but I found this thread.
There were a few bin laden posts pre 9/11 as Atomeyes used your comment in 2019 as an early mention of bin laden.
I personally became suspicious during the G-8 scare about attack.

then I went batshitinsane. It's the lie you tell yourself, the justification, the higher purpose and I lied to myself for years.
There was fear also, to a larger attack those first 48 hrs. Also the knowledge of what this country would do.by March 2003, the day of the invasion I remember saying on IRC. This won't end well.It does not take courage to admit wrong, only the willingness.
My favorite mefi told me years ago. be the change you want to be.
posted by clavdivs at 1:37 PM on September 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Hunter S. Thompson, writing for ESPN, one week after 9/11:
We are At War now, according to President Bush, and I take him at his word. He also says this War might last for "a very long time."

Generals and military scholars will tell you that eight or 10 years is actually not such a long time in the span of human history -- which is no doubt true -- but history also tells us that 10 years of martial law and a war-time economy are going to feel like a Lifetime to people who are in their twenties today. The poor bastards of what will forever be known as Generation Z are doomed to be the first generation of Americans who will grow up with a lower standard of living than their parents enjoyed.

That is extremely heavy news, and it will take a while for it to sink in. The 22 babies born in New York City while the World Trade Center burned will never know what they missed. The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what's coming now. The party's over, folks.
posted by automatronic at 4:19 PM on September 12, 2021 [9 favorites]

20 years ago I had moved to the US recently, was working in northern California. My boss was a nice guy, but also a member of the Republican party. After 9/11, he started talking about bombing Afghanistan. He was also of the 'they hate our freedom' people who honestly couldn't think of any reason why anybody would dislike the US, at all. I couldn't really argue with him what with him being the boss and me a lefty foreigner fresh off the plane, so I mostly just kept my head down and did my work.
Online was mostly just as bad or worse.
I stumbled upon MeFi on September 19, 2001, and was amazed to find level-headed, rational discussion and a sense of community.
Can't believe it's been 20 years.
posted by signal at 4:28 PM on September 12, 2021 [9 favorites]

Just in case - I'm going to assume that the "x number of people in the Towers, Y number of people in the wars...." is a "yes, and" kind of comment reminding everyone of the grand total of casualties instead of a "okay, but" kind of comment where the message is "we wring our hands over this but that was worse".

that's not the comparison that came to my mind when i was watching the 9/11 memorial at work and they were reading off the names of the victims

i was thinking about how many days it is taking right now for covid-19 to kill 3000 americans and if there would ever be a memorial show for them

i take no pleasure in saying that we are living a worse nightmare as a nation RIGHT NOW and it seems as much of the response is to pretend it didn't happen, pretend that many of us aren't culpable, and above all pretending that this couldn't possibly be something that could ever happen to "me" - a national tragedy is being used for political gain while the deaths increase and yet we make a national show of mourning over the dead of 20 years ago

i am very sorry to have said this - i do not mean to take away anything from those who need to commemorate what happened 20 years ago

i just have this awful feeling that the world in which 9/11 was a history changing moment died last year and now we have an even worse world to live in - and watching that memorial service alone in the break room was too surreal and bitter an experience to have

i changed the channel to a sports show and went back to reading my book
posted by pyramid termite at 4:36 PM on September 12, 2021 [7 favorites]

Only 20 years? 20 whole years? That fall and then Winter and Spring (when we turned on our window mounted ac and it coughed out the smell … that smell) are places in my memory - are not just memories of some thing they are an almost physical block. A chunk that sits not far from the center.
My partner’s b’day is the day after and I remember we got together with a patch of friends for an impromptu meal and consolation. It helped but it was the beginning of the end, too - whether or not we all understood rationally we all knew.
It made a hell of a sound. None of us could tell how it’s reverberations would change peter-out attenuate and in some instances rise to a siren - or how long it would last. I don’t think it’s begun to die down.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:17 AM on September 13, 2021 [6 favorites]

vrakatar: “If you were in New York that day you know what the sky looked like, and where I live, it looks like that today.”
I was in Washington, but it was the same.

Where I live now it was like that on the 9th after a front pushed through. Even here 20 years in the future, a clear fall day makes me suspicious.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2021 [4 favorites]

“If you were in New York that day you know what the sky looked like, and where I live, it looks like that today.”

A few years back I found myself in NYC on the 11th. By chance, I was even in the same neighborhood, staying on the same street, where I had been on the actual day. But I had no idea what day it was, because I just don't pay much attention to dates when I'm on vacation and I'd already been there for like a week. Just hadn't crossed my mind at all, and because I was on vacation, again--not really watching or reading news. And it wasn't a big anniversary, so I don't think there was much buzz. All this to say, I left my hotel unawares.

But the weather was so mild and the sky was so blue and clear and perfect that when the bells started tolling in the mid morning I knew. The years just collapsed on themselves, and it was as though I could smell it, all over again.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:24 AM on September 13, 2021 [10 favorites]

I put on "102 Minutes That Changed America", a History Channel doc that cuts together a lot of previously unseen footage in essentially real time. All from New York, no narration except the uncomprehension and terror in the voices of New Yorkers. Pure unity of space and time. My spouse started to freak out and we stopped after about 20 minutes. My teen wasn't as shaken but didn't want to watch any more, either. My goal was to remind myself of how emotionally intense the events and subsequent response were. I was a staunch supporter of the invasion of Afghanistan, and also in favor (though less so) of the invasion of Iraq. Today I don't recognize the person who made those decisions. What did we think was going to happen in Afghanistan? How could we invade Iraq on the thinnest of intelligence? Why are we sending weapons to Saudi Arabia, who supplied almost all the hijackers? So many questions that don't have answers. I wish I could ask my old self.

Of course, I did not retaliate against my Muslim neighbors. That was one thing George W. Bush got right the first time around. He didn't have much empathy in general, but he understood that anyone who even sort of looked like one of the hijackers was going to to be falsely blamed. I remember some macabre joking that you could tell which cars were being driven by people of Arab descent because they all had at least three American flags on them. It's downright ghoulish to think of that today.

In retrospect I should have reacted less strongly. The instinct to do something is powerful, and doesn't much care if "something" will actually help the situation. I hope time has given all those who were affected some peace.
posted by wnissen at 1:56 PM on September 13, 2021 [8 favorites]

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