Another Day, Another Blog

September 11, 2007

9/11

Filed under: the joy of life — iamza @ 1:43 pm

Round about this time six years ago, I was preparing for my thesis defence. I’d just handed in the monster thesis, having spent night after night slaving to get the words strung together in the right order, and fixing headers and spelling, checking page numbers and figure formats, and occasionally making desperate ice-cream runs to the A&P across the way from my apartment in a vain effort to stop my brain from melting.

So the thesis was in, and had been handed to various examiners. I was in that nerve-wracking three week interval where you’re supposed to be getting your final presentation sorted, and reading every folder of notes you ever took on anything to do with your thesis work, and making sure you understood everything you’d written — including the stuff scrawled at three in the morning when you were operating on half a brain cell and a sugar high.

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning when I woke and stumbled out of bed to the couch, and I was happy and relaxed, and looking forward to taking a walk that day along the river. For just a few hours, I planned to forget all about books and papers and slides and everything to do with geophysics.

As soon as I turned on the TV, I forgot about the thesis all right. That morning was September 11, 2001.

I can remember watching with disbelief as the towers fell — it was like watching a disaster movie, and I kept waiting for the end credits to roll. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the people aboard the planes, sitting and listening to the hijackers, and knowing, long before the rest of the world, that something awful was about to happen. The passengers couldn’t have known the towers would come down, but, at the end, they knew the planes were flying into the towers, and that they were about to die. That thought haunted me for months. 

In the years since 2001, I’ve felt anger and impatience, and an utter bone-weariness with the whole thing. I think I burned out on the wall-to-wall coverage back in 2001, and it seemed like the media, having scented a good story, were not at all keen to let anyone forget that 9/11 was to be ‘the day that changed the world’.

But this year, what I felt most on the anniversary of 9/11 was sadness. Because, at the end of the day, there are 2800+ people aren’t here who should’ve been.

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