Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you?

The silent witness watches it all.
I couldn’t let today’s dark anniversary pass without mention. If for some reason you are unaware of what the date September 11 means then I highly recommend you leave now and remain blissfully ignorant of the harsh nature of our world. In fact I can suggest that you go here or here for some entertainment. If you’re still here then let’s go shall we.

First off I want to throw you a link that I prefer to think of as antidote to the media coverage you will be besieged with for the next day or so. While the television and newspapers will clamor over one another to present you all the imagery and conjecture you can stomach you will be left reeling. Yet with all the “information” we will have thrown at us we will still remain ignorant of those that lost their lives. Sure some of us will know the hijackers and the key players, but what of the rest? The mothers, fathers and children who’s only mistake that day was to go to work. This is where I applaud the efforts of the 2996 project and sites like this one for bringing us the stories of the people who make up the statistics. Too often we are presented with tragedy through the media and the coverage focuses on the bad guys. The purveyors of hate and violence are celebrated while their victims go unmentioned. Who were they? Why do they deserve less attention than the villains? The world is fascinated by tragedy and violence and the media is doing what they can to make a buck. The circle completes itself as they present what people want to see so that they can continue to make money and present the news, which eventually degrades into a steady stream of images and tragedy.

Enough of that rant! The concept of the whole day is too much for my little mind to comprehend. Despite knowing absolutely nobody in the attacks I am forever changed by the event. My children hadn’t been born yet and won’t know a world before all of this took place. I remember a past where you could travel without worry. Security wasn’t so blatantly obvious and hate was a little less widespread. A coworker and I were stopping for breakfast as it all began and we wandered into the diner where we stopped a million times before. We knew something huge was taking place when we walked in the door and the usually noisy diner was silent. Twenty or so bodies were all string at the little grease covered television screen in the corner of the room with an attentiveness I wasn’t sure some of them could have mustered. We asked a friend by the door what had happened and he simply said “It’s world war three man! Somebody’s attacking the States!” Just as we were joining the vacant mob and staring at the television in disbelief, the second plane slammed in and broke the spell. The diner exploded in conversation and theories and I’m not entirely sure they’ve stopped to this day. We shot over to the coworker’s house and began soaking up all the coverage that the rest of the world was seeing. We watched the entire thing unfold in front of our eyes. The Pentagon hit, the reports of additional planes in the air, the theories and the politicians and experts and all. Aside from all the imagery that will stick with us all in the falling buildings, the falling people, the crashing planes and so on, I have another thing that will stick with me over all my years. As we were watching it all unfold I remember telling someone that the whole thing seemed too real to be real. It was like I had stepped into a Tom Clancy book, so when they were interviewing him on the television a little later in the afternoon I got a bit of a chuckle at that.

The world has been forever changed and while people look further into things and muddy up the whole thing is search of a truth that will never actually be known, we can remember what it did for us. I get a laugh at the governments urging their people to remain vigilant to not to allow the terrorists to win. Personally I think in the fact that air travel will always be on edge and flights get canceled due to the latest threat to safety that they have won. They have forever changed our world and our lives. The effects will last for lifetimes and unless we get really lucky the wars will likely last as long too. I will choose to remember the dark events of that day and will forever be grateful for what it gave to me. That day began a new day in my mind and my life. Having seen how easy it is to be erased from this planet by the actions of anyone at all, I chose to enjoy my life and those around me to the fullest. Try not to get mired down in the petty day to day stuff that interferes with happiness. Life is short and more valuable than anything else on this planet so value it. Enjoy it. Hug it and squeeze it and love it and call it George. To ignore that after seeing so much heartache would be the greatest tragedy of all I think.

Today I throw you two questions then.
Where were you when you found out what was happening?
How has it changed you?


And to put it all in perspective, here you go

Think about the following:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for
Best Actor and Actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series Winners (by year).


How did you do?


The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers.
They're the best in their fields.
But the applause dies.
Awards tarnish.
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.


Now here's another quiz.
See how you do on this one:


1. List a few teachers who aided your
journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you
through a difficult time in your life.

3. Name five people who have taught you
some worthwhile lesson.

4. Think of a few people who have made you
feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending
time with.

6. Name a half dozen heroes whose stories
have inspired you.

Easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your
life aren't the ones with the most
credentials, the most money, or the most
awards. They're the ones who care.

17 Comments:

Blogger Oh great One said...

I was at home getting ready for work. I stood dumbstruck in front of my t.v. crying. It left a mark on me forever.

9:31:00 AM  
Blogger Lolly said...

Thanks, I liked the questions illustrating what we remember. I'll quite thinking so much about winning that Nobel prize.

10:16:00 AM  
Blogger cathouse teri said...

Very well presented perspective. Thanks for that. As for where I was... you can read about it at my current blog post. :)

11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Celti said...

Nice post, Pete. As usual, we are on the same page.

I was in my car, having just dropped off my son, and was on the way to work. I was listening to a morning talk show where all the "crew" on the show were watching the coverage live and freaking out.

Unfortunately, it has made me a more suspicious and fearful person. Until that day, I had never worried all that much about our country and it's future, and that my loved ones could be in mortal peril. Now, I do far too often.

12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

I appreciate your perspective. I'm actively avoiding the media coverage today. I just can't take it. I saw it as it happened on TV. They were showing the first tower burning and then the second plane hit on live TV. I've done an angry post about it that isn't for the faint of heart or easily offended. My anger is usually buried but today I've let it out a little. That's what anniversaries are for, to release or share things that you normally don't focus on. You're so right about the 'stars' being so forgettable but the real heroes making a true, lasting impression on us.

Probably the biggest way that 9-11 changed me is that I no longer assume that because I'm nice and treat people the way I'd like to be treated that they will return the favor.

1:00:00 PM  
Blogger wondy woman said...

This post is extremely inspiring, Pete - I was kicking my feet for something to say about today - and you've said everything that needs to be said.

I salute you.

Wondy x

3:21:00 PM  
Blogger wondy woman said...

This post is extremely inspiring, Pete - I was kicking my feet for something to say about today - and you've said everything that needs to be said.

I salute you.

Wondy x

3:21:00 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

I was still at temp at my present job, but had a job interview that day. The first time I saw the images of the towers going down was right before I stepped into the interview room! It really threw me, but I still got the job. I was planning to blog about it tomorrow!

3:48:00 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

You wrote a wonderful post, BTW!

3:48:00 PM  
Blogger ramblin' girl said...

very, very well said!

6:05:00 PM  
Blogger gawilli said...

Bravo! Very well said. It is most definitely the things that we can do to help each other along the way that count. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

8:23:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's always been my feeling too -- that the desert rat won. Sadly.

Just a few moments ago I was thinking how good life is right now, and I think that I'll take your advice and continue to look at it that way.

8:31:00 PM  
Blogger redheaded said...

i am going to steal this idea and discuss it with my class tomorrow....ty pete.

12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

oh my goodness what a post! it touches to the deepest parts of the heart.

i was getting my kids ready for school. being 2 hrs behind NY time i hadn't woken up the littlest 2 yet and i choose not to for i was scared out of my mind watching what was unfolding in front of my eyes.

when i was small i lived through a war in Nicaragua. it was horrible. it was evil. there was no reason really..in coming to the US, we found the peace of knowing we were safe there..and in 9/11 i was felt like that little girl again...with something totally out of my hands that changed my world..

i don't understand hatred. i am too dumb i guess. i dont' understand evil and how we can use God to kill in His name..i dont' ever want to understand...

i thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such a good comment. it was very much appreciated.

God bless your Home, your Family and your Faith.

1:28:00 AM  
Blogger Minerva said...

Bravo RainyPete, there are lessons for all of us here...

Grab life with both hands and don't let it go...- Amen...

Minerva

3:22:00 AM  
Anonymous John Piercy said...

great perspective on the world around us Pete
as far as Sept 11 2001

That day I was over at my Mechanics on Upper Ottawa and StoneChurch , getting a major brake job close to my fire training center .

I was at the coffee shop up the street ,when I overheard some guys mentioning that a Cessna had crashed into thr World Trade center. Not having a car , I called my dad and he put CNN on the TV and I could hear his voice drop .
It was a sad day for Dad and for all the fireman that I worked with . I started dayshift the next day and the firehall was a very sombre place .

Congrats on your lifestyle changes

All the best

JP

9:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ham said...

Hi Rainypete! (I would liek to call you Tiger, since it is your zodiac year).

I was in my second year of university, sleeping, when the first plane hit. A friend of mine waking up to morning TV knocked profusely on my door and dragged me to the livingroom whereby we proceeded to stare in awe (occasionally paired with "This is F*ed.") at the screen.

My boyfriend was in school. He walked into his classroom and written on the board was "Go home now, World War III has begun."

1:01:00 PM  

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