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War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

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9/11 WEEK

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Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the USA. My thoughts and observations in some particular order. To say the attacks were a big deal at the time would be an understatement, in terms of immediate impact they were easily the biggest events of my life. In living memory they were rivalled by the Kennedy assasination and Pearl Harbor, but those were both before my time. I was living in rural Oregon, watching “The FBI Files” the morning of the attacks. My housemate wandered through the room, noticed some text scrolling at the bottom of the screen, gasped, and flipped to a news channel. By then both towers had collapsed, and it was a shocking sight. Very briefly I thought maybe this was some War of the Worlds thing, a movie trailer that somehow had been mistaken for the real thing; but I quickly realized it was in fact real, and that thousands of people were dead and dying. A freaking nightmare.

I had strange dreams earlier. First I was walking down a long country road, a city skyline in the distance. There was a ragged barbed wire fence with weeds alongside the road. Beyond the fence was an expanse of dust in a pile about six foot high. Tan dust, maybe fine sand. I remember thinking in my dream it might be fun to slide down the side of the pile, and I was looking for a gap in the fence to get to it. Then the dream morphed, and I was huddling in the corner of a basement with some frightened people, we were sheltering from an explosion of some sort. Then I woke up, went in and started my day like any other. Until my friend changed the TV channel. Was there any connection between my dream and the events that were even then unfolding on the other side of the continent?

Beats me. I wasn’t as affected by 9/11 as some people, no one I knew worked in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It was still shocking as hell. So many people dead and dying. And the jumpers, oh my God, I can’t imagine. Turns out a good friend of mine was in Manhattan that day. Hell of a thing. He said after the first plane hit people just thought it was some terrible accident and were trying to get a better view. So he was watching when the second plane hit, and then of course people knew it wasn’t just some terrible accident. He’s upset by it all to this day, and can’t watch any of today’s coverage. I can’t imagine. At some point later I read some transcripts of 9/11 calls made from the towers before they fell. I wish I hadn’t.

So it was awful, and I feel for those who lost friends, family, and loved ones. God rest the souls of those who died that awful September morn, God grant solace to the survivors. In retrospect there was at least one item of good news that day, and I’ll end this post on that note. In the middle of the second tower to be struck was the largest tenant of the towers, they occupied 20 floors. When the first tower was struck the on site manager told everyone to just get out and go home as quickly as they could. Not out of any prescience, he just knew that no work would be done that day, and he wanted his employees to get clear of the towers before throngs of emergency vehicles and rubberneckers jammed all the nearby roads, etc.. Shortly afterward the second plane struck right in the middle of those 20 floors … and they were all empty. Every single employee survived. And I bet that manager hasn’t had to pay for a drink when out with coworkers since.

More posts about 9/11 will follow, they will be (or are) linked below. Hope all are having a good, if somber, weekend.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The first tower just as it started to collapse. Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2021 at 4:28 pm