16 Years On, Never Forget

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Fugue - Certified Professional
Rank: Senior Neanderthal | banana points 5,203

It is always this time every year that I find my mind wandering inexorably back to that place I was the morning of September 11, 2001, and how lower manhattan felt in the weeks and months that followed.

Unable to sleep last night, I stayed up late and wrote out something much, much longer than what I am posting now. Yet no matter how I look at it, I have always hated discussing the events of that day. Every year on 9/11 people talk about where they were on that day, which TV they watched the news on, whose 3rd grade class was interrupted by the events. I always sit and nod politely and leave the conversation. Talking about it in that context seems so gratuitous, and so self-indulgent. So self-aggrandizing and disrespectful to everyone who lost their life or that of a loved one that day. I don't know how to tell my story without feeing like the recipient of undeserved sympathy and attention, so I have decided I won't bother with any of that. That said, if people want to talk about their experiences, I welcome them in this forum - I'm sure many of you had friends at Cantor or EuroBrokers or Aon.

I just want to share two recollections - firstly, that of the
countless heartbreaking missing posters
https://www.google.com/search?q=9/11+missing+poste... . Taped to the chainlink fence, and the facades of buildings, and bus stops, and lampposts by the bereaved, hoping beyond a hope to find their loved ones unharmed. I remember these posters adorned with flowers and tearful handwritten goodbyes, left behind for weeks if not months, each face an uncomfortable, poignant window into a shattered life, strewn among so much human detritus.

I didn't understand just how sad all those posters were at the time. Looking at them now as an adult, I see the goofy 80's-style glasses and facial hair, the chubby faces of people who could easily be my colleagues. A bunch of bankers and lawyers, traders and brokers who went to work that morning to prep some materials for a 9AM call and never got home. On this day of remembrance, they remind me to always cherish the time you have and those you share it with, because it goes away in the blink of an eye.

Secondly, I want to remember New Yorkers and Americans pulling together in the weeks and months that followed in a stunning effort of charity and communal goodwill. For many, especially those that are younger on this board, it is hard to conceptualize the tide of righteousness that our nation rode on the crest of after 9/11. But for those who are older, they will remember every American and free person worldwide sharing a sense of goodwill and solidarity with NYC and the other victims of the attack. We returned to our roots as the guarantor of global freedom, and though we erred (as we frequently have in our history), I want to underscore that when disaster strikes and the good must act, this nation rose to the challenge like a phoenix from ash. It was a testament to the greatness of the American spirit, the strongest force on earth to be reckoned with.

So on this day, I renew my resolve to never forget that while it may not always be close to mind, I am so proud to count myself among the representatives of this great nation.

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Comments (19)

Sep 11, 2017

I have always hated discussing the events of that day. Every year on 9/11 people talk about where they were on that day, which TV they watched the news on, whose 3rd grade class was interrupted by the events. I always sit and nod politely and leave the conversation. Talking about it in that context seems so gratuitous, and so self-indulgent.

You nailed it right there. This is exactly how I feel. I have nothing to say on this subject.

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Sep 11, 2017

This date gives me an eerie feeling of something bad about to happen. And I barely even remember the day, as I was still in grade school at the time.

Who is John Galt?

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Sep 11, 2017

We should have rebuilt the Twin Towers rather than letting bureaucracy pussyfoot around building the Freedom Tower and dragging the whole 9/11 memorial project into an embarrassing and disrespectful mess.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Sep 11, 2017

While I agree that the construction process was prolonged and difficult to wait for, I'm actually very pleased with what they've done. I'm proud to have a new WTC complex that is finally starting to fill up with brand-name tenants. I think that the memorial garden itself is a very tasteful monument. I'm also very pleased with the creation of a dedicated museum at the site - the old one was much smaller, and crammed into some tiny building down near the wharfs in FiDi. This new space will give the artifacts the room they need to be properly curated and observed by generations to come.

Sep 11, 2017

As somebody in HS during 9/11, I wholeheartedly echo the second point. People from every background were ready to enlist in the military and fight for their country. We all were in 100% solidarity with George W. Bush and it was a spirit of unity that I have not seen since.

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Sep 11, 2017

Bush used that unity to march us into Iraq, sanction unconstitutional torture, and pass the patriot act, which is also unconstitutional. I'm all for unity but I definitely regret some of the shit we as a nation let fly by in the name of "security".

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Sep 11, 2017

+the shit we continue to let fly in the name of "security" all in the name of increasing size and scope of govt

Sep 11, 2017

Agree, I just wanted to point out for the young'ins that in those days/weeks/months following 9/11 pretty much everyone was on the same page - though it did lead us down some dark paths.

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Sep 11, 2017

Without getting into my position on specific policies of the Bush era and beyond, I too feel that we regrettably made many mistakes as a nation in our efforts to exact retribution for the events of 9/11.

That said, so too did we accomplish some victories we should be proud of.

Best Response
Sep 11, 2017

I was right there when it happened. It was an experience that is hard to describe to people who weren't there. There was no 'war on Islam' or whatever at the time. When you were there, you couldn't tell that it was commercial airline planes hitting the buildings as they were too fast for the naked eye from my angle. It seemed/sounded like missiles. In effect, they were, I suppose.

For those of us that grew up with the Soviet Union, that was seemingly the most likely source of the weapons. We didn't know though at the time.

If you were outside when the second plane hit, it is difficult to believe how many people just stood there unsure of what to do. It was clear we were under attack and we certainly did not know the second plane was the last one at the time.

I'm still not sure why more people weren't running away after the moment of the second impact. I assume that it was an unfamiliarity of the situation and what to do. I was running like crazy, but most people just stood there. Very odd.

I still remember the day as being as crystal clear and crisp/perfect September weather, which strikes me as a strange thing to remember given what happened that day.

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Sep 11, 2017

It was such a beautiful day. I remember the blue sky, and the crisp breeze, fragrant in the way that the breeze can only be as summer turns to fall.

I know you were actually there though, based on your recollection of peoples' reactions. The whole world was caught in the thrall of the moment.

I was close enough to know beyond a doubt that they were planes. However I knew they were planes before I saw them - I remember looking up because of the roar of jet turbines that sounded far too low.

Sep 11, 2017
Fugue:

It was such a beautiful day. I remember the blue sky, and the crisp breeze, fragrant in the way that the breeze can only be as summer turns to fall.

I know you were actually there though, based on your recollection of peoples' reactions. The whole world was caught in the thrall of the moment.

I was close enough to know beyond a doubt that they were planes. However I knew they were planes before I saw them - I remember looking up because of the roar of jet turbines that sounded far too low.

I was in 3 World Financial when the first one hit and then outside on the north side of Vesey street when the second one hit. Never saw anything flying into the buildings, just the sounds and the aftermath. It sounded like what I think of missiles sounding like. Of course, I've never been in the military, so I've never heard an actual missile.

My first cell phone call got through out of state to family around 40th street. I spoke to my Dad first and then got through to my brother in law. That's how I found out my wife was safe. We didn't get a chance to speak to each other until much later.

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Sep 11, 2017

Every American's life was impacted by what took place. It is unfortunate to think of the many families who lost a loved one and how a seemingly normal day was turned upside down instantly. Remember those who lost their lives by simply going about their business in your thoughts and prayers. Remember the many first responders who charged into the towers to do whatever they could for their neighbors.

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Sep 11, 2017

Thank you for sharing. You compiled a beautifully written piece here, and helped encapsulate what so many cannot

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Sep 12, 2017

This day is still filled with pain and anguish for so many of us. Despite time passing, there is still something shocking and unsettling on each anniversary. Beyond the physical damage this attack inflicted, it also shook our nation to the core with the realization that we are not indestructible and beyond that, we are vulnerable even on our own soil. Looking back at how much the world has changed since then is sobering as the aftershocks of 9/11 are still felt and seen in many of our everyday lives (via airport security etc.)

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Sep 12, 2017

I will also never forget, that Building 7 collapsed in free fall without being hit by a plane. And that the government never released footage of a plane hitting the Pentagon...you know for nationals security reasons.

Sep 12, 2017

Always the ops guy..

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Sep 11, 2017

You do realize that building 7 had the south tower fall on top of it, right? And that this caused the damage that resulted in structural failure?

And that the video you claim doesn't exist can in fact be found right
here

? And that there are eyewitness reports?

It pains me to flat out call people like you morons because it stokes your sense of faux intellectualism, but buddy, give me a break. You realize the implication of your thesis is that despite being the most powerful actor in the world, and being capable of the arguably the largest cover up in history, the U.S. Government couldn't get its hands on a couple more 747s? And chose to crash one in Shanksville for the fuck of it, despite supposedly needing it for the Pentagon? And committed errors so obvious that amateurs could identify them by watching Loose Change?

I don't know why you tin foil hatters are so hell bent on ignoring the mountains of analysis and evidence compiled by experts, and criticized by credible 3rd parties with huge incentives to expose any chicanery by the government, in favor of pseudo science that you found in the weird part of YouTube.

As an eyewitness to the NYC attacks with nothing to gain, I can assure you beyond any doubt that this was real. No plane-decoy, no explosions that people heard before the collapse, just plain old fashioned violence.

Sep 13, 2017

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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