How it Felt on 9/11

September 11th, 2011 at 12:00 am | 37 Comments |

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On the morning of 9/11, I was living in Washington, D.C. with my husband, David Frum, then a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. I was six months pregnant with our third child, Beatrice (now nine), and at home with my son, Nathaniel, then seven, who had feigned a stomach ache.

The blog below was written two days after 9/11 and originally appeared in the National Post. It captures very much the emotion and drama those of us felt “on the ground” during that horrific time. In the weeks and months to follow, Washingtonians would experience being stalked by a random sniper; then the threat of anthrax arriving by mail (my children still remembering me warning them away from inspecting the daily delivery, and watching me don rubber gloves to sort through our letters and parcels — with a husband in the White House, this did not seem like an excessive precaution).

A great pall fell over the otherwise gorgeous fall days. Everything during that season seemed at once excessively beautiful and excessively sad. I remember the incredible, fiery display of leaves in (then) Solicitor General Ted Olson’s Virginia backyard — the view which I had from his kitchen as I helped him to answer the literally hundreds of cards and letters he received offering consolation on the death of his wife, Barbara.

In November, still pregnant, I travelled to New York City with our kids to meet up with my mother to hear Bobby Short play at the Cafe Carlysle. I’d never heard Short live, and both my children loved his songs and with David working around the clock in the White House, we felt we needed some sort of happy escape. But lower Manhattan was still smoking: the air was acrid and stung your eyes. We joined the throngs silently passing by and paying respects to Ground Zero, now blocked off by construction fencing.

You emerged from the subway at Chambers Street and then walked south toward the misty gray spirals. It felt spooky: all the once densely populated office buildings were emptied out; some had smashed-in windows and scorch marks. Scaffolding created impediments on the sidewalks. People wore cheap, pharmacy-purchased medical masks over their mouths, as if those would keep out the carcinogens and taste of death. Meanwhile, uptown, Short played his marvelous tunes, and the nascent life in my stomach began bouncing about to his jazzy rhythms.

Weeks later I gave birth with the hospital room’s TV tuned to the bombings of Afghanistan on CNN; months later still, I would be awakening in the night to feed this little life’s urgent, sucking lips and hungry whimpers. As I rocked her and sung quietly to her, I’d be aware of the afterburn of F-16s still patrolling the skies of the capital city. They were regular: I got to know them. I began to say hi to them in my mind: “There you are, Capt. 4 a.m. I was wondering if you would show up. Little late today aren’t we?” Then it all stopped — or not stopped, but began being smoothed away over time.

I’m republishing this article with the hope that those too young to remember that day — or like my own daughter Beatrice, were not even yet born — have some sense what it was like, so they might better understand why this sad anniversary is so important, and why so many still mourn.


We are all trying to return to normal here in Washington, but it is a state of normality that won’t return. My children are willing it to return, and almost defiantly resuming their games, their playdates, their cartoon-watching. We wish, as my 10-year-old daughter asked Wednesday morning, after waking up in a sleeping bag on the floor of our bedroom, “Today is just going to be like a regular day, right? It’s over, right?”

“Yes,” I said. But it’s not over and it’s not regular.

As I write this Thursday morning, the skies are still quiet except for the occasional roar of a military jet. On Tuesday night we spotted a black stealth bomber overhead; it resembled a hawk protectively circling a kill. The body count rises every hour on the news: the death ticker has replaced the stock ticker. Outside my house there are weird silences punctuated alternately by worrisome sirens and the reassuring noises of a city neighborhood: lawn mowers, jack hammers, garbage trucks. Traffic is tied up on my street because of a reported bomb scare at nearby American University. National guardsmen in combat gear guard the public school two blocks away. Police are stationed at busy intersections. Parents had to show photo ID to enter our Jewish school today, and for the first time the kindly security guard who sits by the door packed a pistol.

Life goes on, and it does not go on.

The heartbreaking stories of those for whom life does not go on are emerging from the rubble. In New York and Washington, we have been exchanging them for the past two days. I suspect there is no one in either of these two cities who has not been personally touched by loss, or is only one removed from such loss. For me the face of that loss is Barbara Olson. Barbara, the vivacious author, television pundit, and beloved wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, was also a dear friend. Even now, more than 48-hours after her death inside the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon, I find it difficult to accept that she is gone. This is not due to some ordinary refusal to accept death. Barbara’s personality was so large, so generous, so far-reaching that, together with her husband, she was to her circle of friends in Washington what the twin towers of the World Trade Center were to the New York skyline. We are left with this smoking, gaping hole that we simply can’t begin to fathom.

A memorial service for Barbara will be held on Saturday, at which Ken Starr and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will give eulogies. Their voices will join thousands of others who will be memorialized on that day, the next day, the day after that…. Perhaps by then the deaths we experienced on Tuesday will feel more real. There will be more faces, more stories, more holes that can’t be filled.

Right now, Washington feels like it is still emerging from shell-shock. There is no other term for it. We lived, quite literally, through a battle on Tuesday. I imagine what we experienced compares to what other generations who have lived through a siege have experienced. You wake up and it seems like any other day. I remember drinking my first cup of coffee and reading the newspapers. Then word came in that there had been a terrible attack. Like millions, I turned on CNN and, with my seven-year-old son — home sick from school — watched as the two turrets of the World Trade Center went up in flames. For those first few minutes, I managed to persuade myself that this was a horrendous — but isolated — incident. It is on television. It doesn’t affect you. But within a quarter hour, the news had broken that another plane had hit the Pentagon; that there was a fire on the mall; that a suspected truck bomb was poised outside the State Department; that the White House was being evacuated.

I immediately phoned my husband, who works as a speechwriter for the president. His office is in the White House compound, inside the Old Executive Office Building.

“Are you getting out?” I asked him, frantic.

“No,” he replied staunchly. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“You must get out!”

“I’m not leaving.”

Five minutes later he called me back, somewhat sheepish. “Um, I’m leaving now. They’re evacuating us, too.”

The news reported that Palestinians were suspected to be behind the attack. My daughter was at her Jewish school. Many of her classmates are the sons and daughters of Israeli diplomats. I had not yet showered. I had not yet brushed my teeth. I threw on some clothes and called my neighbor, whose children also attend the school, and within 10 minutes we were in his minivan, navigating our way northward to the Washington suburb of Rockville, about 10 miles away. My son asked from the backseat, “Is this a war? Is Daddy safe?” Yes, to both counts. So far as we could tell.

The long drive to and from the school will remain, for me, one of the more vivid scenes of the day. We did not know whether or not there would be further attacks on the city. We did not know whether we would arrive at the school and find it damaged; I half-expected to find it surrounded by paratroopers from the embassy. The minivan took on the feeling of a humvee crawling through streets that, two hours ago were utterly familiar and unremarkable, and now were potentially a war zone.

When we reached the school a calm, but serious, evacuation was taking place. Parents were leading their children out of the building. I ran through the halls clutching the hand of my son, hunting for my daughter. Her classrooms were empty. I returned to the main hall where the grade five children had just been led into a chapel to pray. I anxiously scanned the faces. There she was: She turned and — this ordinarily brave little girl, who cries at nothing! — saw me and instantly burst into tears.

Everyone was collected: We returned to the city, going against the cars that were now fleeing in droves from downtown. I could not reach my husband on the cell phone. I had no idea where he was or whether there had been any further incidents in the capital. The radio news focused on the World Trade center and the Pentagon crash, with pauses only for traffic reports, calls for blood donors and the national guard. The city was declared a state of emergency.

When we got home, I immediately turned around and raced to the nearby supermarket. It was closed. I drove a few blocks more to find one that was open. It was packed with people who, like me, had decided to stock up on jugs of water and milk. Lines to the cashiers went halfway down the aisles.

I realized that, at some point that morning, at some point during that drive, I had passed into a mental state I had never before been in: having panicked at the outset, my nerves were now steeled and my senses numbed to whatever else could happen. Here I am in a Safeway, I thought, shopping for supplies in the event of war, and I am strangely serene. At the meat counter a woman asked the shoppers around her as she scanned the selections, “Do you think people buy more expensive meats when they think it’s Armageddon? You know — what the hell?”

“I just got some ribeyes,” I told her. We smiled. Yes, we’re shopping for Armageddon.

But it was when I got home, and had just finished putting the food away in the freezer, that the personal blow of the battle struck. The telephone rang. The voice of a friend, hysterical and sobbing, was trying to tell me something.

“Speak slowly,” I said.

The words finally pushed their way through. “Barbara Olson was on that plane.”

“Dear God. Which one?”

“The one that crashed into the Pentagon.”

We were both quiet.

“Are–are you sure?”

“She spoke to Ted [her husband] from the plane. She called him on her cell phone.”

The numbing that had been seeping through my body, like a slow drip of anaesthesia, overtook me entirely. There was nothing to say, only the ghastly feeling of a pit opening beneath my feet. “Where is Ted?” Not, “How is Ted?” My friend murmured that arrangements were being made to gather at Ted’s house that evening. We hung up. I wondered how many more friends I would lose this day.

The phone rang again — it was ringing every few minutes with everyone checking in with everyone else. This time it was my husband calling to tell me he was with the other speechwriters in a secure building downtown. The White House had set up temporary email and phone lines. He was not sure when he would see me again that night. The news of Barbara left him gasping — and silent.

The children and I said a prayer together. Then we made cookies — I bought the mix on a whim, and it turned out to be a comforting and occupying activity. My son and daughter decided that the cookies would accompany me to Mr. Olson’s house that night. My daughter wrote a note expressing her grief. We listened to the fighter jets passing overhead — “good planes,” I said to them, “planes that are protecting us” — and when my son said he wished he was in Canada with his grandparents “where it is safe,” I told them both gently that they must never be anything but proud to be Americans, and Americans don’t run away.

Later that evening, with the children tucked in safely at a neighbor’s house, I drove to the Olsons’. The 20 or so friends who gathered there were in similar states of denial and numbness. Her death, like all the events of the day, had almost a cinematic quality to it. Who could believe it? It was as if she hadn’t died but an actress playing Barbara Olson had; we half-expected her to come bursting through her front door at any moment, exclaiming, in her wonderful, excited, Texan twang, “My gawd, you should have seen it!”

And, oh, what would Barbara have told us if she could? She would have regaled us with every detail, not sparing sharp observations of those whom she felt “wimped out” when confronted with box-cutter-wielding terrorists, nor failing to praise generously those who acted with courage. She would then have proceeded to give us her assessment of what the president should do and say (and this assessment would be bang-on: morally robust, but also politically shrewd). Most of this she would repeat the next night when she appeared on Larry King.

But of course, Barbara didn’t come bursting through the door. Instead a frozen photograph of her face flashed periodically on CNN with the dates of her life below it. We mingled and wept and prayed for her, surrounded by the collected artifacts of a life that was not just in progress but going full-steam: photographs of her and Ted in silver frames strewn on sidetables and haphazardly pinned to the kitchen bulletin board; beautiful objects — hand-painted plates, Californian pottery — that had caught her eye on some journey and now mutely expressed her lost personality; her two funny, sheep-like dogs foraging amongst the guests, unaware that their mistress would not be coming back. And this, we realized (belatedly, dreadfully), was all we were to be left of Barbara. This, our memories, and the horrific yet noble image of her that we will keep with us always, of Barbara pacing the aisle of the doomed plane, frantically punching Ted’s number on her cell phone, trying, desperately, to do something when others had apparently given up.

Here is what we know, from what Barbara told Ted: The passengers and crew were herded to the back of the plane. Two of the (female) flight attendants had been stabbed. Her haunting, desperate words to her husband were: “Ted, I have the pilot here. Tell him what to do.” Tell him what to do! The line conveys Barbara’s enormous faith in her husband — a faith shared by the president, who chose Ted Olson to argue his case to the Supreme Court last January. And it conveys, too, Barbara’s faith that something, always, can be done — should be done. She was as fearless and determined in the face of death as she was in life; that is not a trait many of us can claim to possess, nor is it one that we are often called upon, if ever, to test. For this reason I couldn’t, can’t, think of Barbara as a “victim”: the very term was something she rejected emphatically in her political beliefs, and I’m certain she would reject it as a description of her death. No, she was a casualty. A casualty of war. And one who died with honour.

We streamed back into the night, aware of how close death had fallen to every one of us. Had one of those planes hit the White House, as the terrorists intended, it might have been my husband I would be mourning that evening. For others, it is their husbands — or their wives, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and on and on. In the meantime, we console our children and ourselves the best we can. We look to the skies, watch the sun set on a city struggling to be normal again, and know it can’t be so.

Originally published on Huffington Post Canada.

Recent Posts by Danielle Crittenden

37 Comments so far ↓

  • dittbub

    I was in highschool, located in eastern ontario, at the time. And the “feeling” I remember is one of great confusion. Some teachers stopped everything to go to the teachers-only lounge to listen to the radio. Other teachers tried their hardest to keep the day normal, keep the kids away from the radio and keep them on their learning. “Nothing going on here – move along”. My highschool must have been unique as it had no cable TV access, and no one seemed to be able to get the old bunny ears working to get a signal on the old fake wood panel 13 channel dial television located in the back study room of the library. The school day finished as normal, with no deviation in class-time. However, during recess, the rumours flew. I really had no idea what was going on – there was alot of misinformation. I knew planes went down somewhere. One kid had told me that it was the Empire State building that had come down – others said it was an accident. It wasn’t until i got home that i had any understanding of what was going on. It was surreal. So many questions. It would change my life, too. Before that day I had no interest in news, politics, war, the mid-east, religion. That would change forever. Like many people, i was glued to watching news for MONTHS. It seemed, for a whole year, a day didn’t go by that 9/11 wasn’t mentioned at least once in the news. It turned me into a news junkie.

  • Russnet

    I was on the west coast. Had always complained about the elevator music as I rode down to get my newspaper early in the morning, some 70s rock station blaring Pat Benatar or Styx way too early. This morning was different. Peter Jennings was speaking in a stern, anxious voice. He said that the FAA had just ordered all planes in the United States to land. I couldn’t grab my paper fast enough, then jumped back in the elevator. When I reached my bedroom again and turned on the TV, it was about 6:50 am. I called my parents immediately.

    “Dad, do you have the TV on?”

    “No, why?”

    “Airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The FAA has just ordered all planes in the country to land.”

    Click. No response.

    About five minutes later, the south tower collapsed. My jaw dropped. Picked up the phone again. My Mom didn’t even say hello.

    “THOSE SONS OF BITCHES!!!!. . . “

  • Balsack

    I was in China.

    And I heard my brother almost cry for the very first time. Even today, just thinking about it, then tears do flow.

    But. Still. This is also just finally a worthless lesson if we do not realize that without an equitable world for all, then no one can ever feel truly secure. Truly it is up to us. Do we wish to live in an equitable world? A much more secure world?

    I still must think that we have not changed our tune. But, IF, we were to achieve an equatable society around the world, then it would be highly unlikely for anyone to push back without grave consequences from their fellows. Right?

    Or. Can we just assume that no matter what we do there will still be a minute fraction of people who will overdose on JinLan SoySauce? Which might not be a pretty picture. Ones skin begins to be pickled from inside, due to the salt. And the corpse sometimes wakes up and asks, “Am I being prepared for a Chinese Stir Fry Dish?”

    But. Actually, Danielle. Probably the one who has done most to keep this issue alive is AMY GOODMAN from her great blogsite,

    I am sure you know her, Amy Goodman.
    Amy Goodman is a very serious person who cares about these issues.
    Deeply in her heart.

    I suggest you get in touch with Amy Goodman.

    Just because. All you girls need to stick together. And so do we guys need to stick together with you girls!

    You sweet ladies do not know the difference between a Weatherby 460 and a 22 pop gun. And, for certain, no lady knows how to fly a plane. Just kidding.

    This is why, I hope, some day soon, Women Will Run Our World. Instead of fckd up Rummy Men.

    Also, ladies. When you finally do take over. Might I be your beast of burden?

    Because, Ten Years After, I am just hoping I can be a beast of burden to you.

    I will gladly be your beast of burden. And, please, fck that ass Keith Richards. No one ever liked him anyway. Not unless he was falling out of a tree.

    Manhattan is pretty fucking fine. With 75 thousand people per square kilometer. And not one of them, NOT, a god damned New Yorker.

    But I am from Philly.

    • Primrose

      Balsack, the next time you feel compelled to go on one of your long rambles about women, please don’t. It is getting hard to take a charitable view of your attitude.

      I know you thought you were being funny and backhandedly complimentary about women not being able to fly, but considering the contributions of women pilots in WWII (and other times) it is just plain offensive.

      And all the else, really, not as funny or charming as you think it is. It reminds me of the long speeches given by men in bars who had been there too long—one of the reasons most bars have to bribe women to come into them.

      • NRA Liberal

        Hands down most annoying new FF poster. This dude needs some meds or something.

      • Balsack

        Oh, C’mon, Baby! Have a sense of humor!

        Sometimes, the great old bands are the very things which keep us going during extremely hard times. Now, pls just enjoy a great tune. And I never meant any harm to anyone by posting one here.

        Please just consider yourself to be UNDER MY THUMB from now until whenever you cannot stand it any longer.

        Pls just consider yourself to be under my thumb.
        Just joking here!
        No “Bars”. Please!
        Not unless you are speaking of Goldfinger.
        Have you been buying gold bars, Primrose?
        After 9/11?
        Hope that you had.

  • NRA Liberal

    I was erecting steel on the roof of a building on the corner of 16th and 6th ave. My view of the towers was blocked by the hospital on the south side of 16th street.

    SUddenly I heard a strange, faraway noise which seemed to come from all over–a sound like a hundred thousand souls all gasping in horror at the same time. A huge intake of breath. I thought there must have been a terrible traffic accident down on 6th ave, so I went to the edge of the roof and looked down, but I couldn’t see anything. There wasn’t much traffic and everything was quiet again.

    About ten minutes later, the foreman came running up to the roof and breathlessly told me that a plane had hit the WTC. I ran down to the street with a camera which I had in my bag and photographed the burning tower. I had no thought for the human suffering at that point. All I could think was “this is a terrorist attack and I’m present at another Pearl Harbor”.

  • Smargalicious

    I was at class, having arrived early, getting my laptop up. Other students were there as well, and the TV was on. There was the first tower, smoking, and I was told that a plane had crashed into it. “Dumbass pilot!” I thought to myself. “But it’s a clear day! How could he be so stupid!” I focused on my studies, and then shortly, the second plane hit the other tower.

    I knew we were at war. This was the fifth attack: there were the African embassy bombings, Khobar Towers, the earlier truck bombs at the towers, the USS Cole…my God I thought, we’ve got to go kill the human garbage Muslims on their own turf. No more mamby-pamby bull$hit weak-ass responses.

    Thank God for GWB for being the war president at the time. In a few months, Taliban-held Kabul would fall, the place that allowed Al Qaida to plan the attack. Then, months later, Baghdad, the stronghold of the worst Muslim tyrant in the Middle East, fell.

    Since then, tens of thousands of rotten Muslim pieces of human garbage were killed, many in the most vicious way. Many were captured, tortured, and forced to confess their hideous deeds, and to spill their guts to where Osama Bin Laden was eventually found and summarily executed. Thank you, GWB, for rising to the moment in history where we needed a strong militarist President.

    God Bless America.

    • ottovbvs

      “I knew we were at war.”

      Actually we weren’t. You can’t wage war against a tactic. This misconception was at the heart of most of our subsequent misteps.

      • Smargalicious

        I was on a roll… :D

      • sinz54

        We weren’t waging war against a tactic.

        We were waging war against the terrorists.

        In the Barbary Wars early in the 19th century, the U.S. and Britain waged wars against the pirates. Not against piracy.

        Bush was desperately trying to go out of his way to claim that this was not a war against the Islamic peoples. He shouldn’t have bothered. They’ve always regarded the establishment of the state of Israel as a first strike against Islam.

        • Primrose

          Otto is right. It was a war against terrorism, that’s a tactic. And it will never go away because for those who must wage asymmetric warfare, it is the only useful method.

          You also are wrong about Israel as their chief motivation. Bin Laden was more concerned about our troops being in Saudi Arabia, particularly since the King did not use his troops.

          And it is beyond ignorant to say we were at war with Islam. There are a great number of Muslims in the world, including our own country, and they have a vast amount of different cultural and philosophical practices. We are not at war with them.

          We aren’t even really at war with fundamentalists. Even the Taliban didn’t give a rat’s ass about us until we tried to take power from them.

          Trying to turn this into a religious war is stupid and misguided, and I’m glad Mr. Bush had enough intelligence to see that. Too bad you can’t rise to that level.

        • Smargalicious

          Sinz is another one of those that hates America. Probably wants to kill all the White folks and give their assets away.

        • Watusie

          sinz “We weren’t waging war against a tactic. We were waging war against the terrorists.”

          Wrong. We waged war against Iraq. We let the terrorists go. Quoting GWB, “”I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

        • Banty

          In the Barbary wars we knew we were fighting the Barbary pirates. Not piracy, not Islam (as we made clear in the Treaty of Tripoli) – - them. That’s an enemy, not a tactic.

          In the war that legitimately started on September 11, we would be fighting Al Qaeda. Not terrorism, not Islam – - Al Qaeda.

          We got confused and distracted, for our tragic error in clearly identifying our enemy.

        • ottovbvs

          Sinz: Do brush up on your history. Barbary piracy was state organised and run. Small states sure but nevertheless states.

    • Oldskool

      Has it ever occurred to you that your rants remind us of the guys who do it on tape from inside a cave, wagging their self-righteous fingers at the camera.

  • DifferentFrumer

    Thank you, Danielle. I love Ted Olsen and my heart is shattered anew when I think of the unbearable hurt he must carry.

  • Banty

    I was at work in upstate New York, on the phone with a colleague in Burlington, Vermont. I noticed some excitement outside the window of my office; he remarked that there was loud talk and someone was knocking on the door of his office. We both decided we should hang up and see what’s going on. When I walked out of my office, one of the people in my group shouted “they’ve hit the Pentagon!”

  • sinz54

    At the time of 9-11, I was working for a large military contractor. Given the magnitude of what was happening, they allowed us to go home, and I was leaving my office to go home.

    On the way out, I passed by some dioramas and displays showing proudly how our work on early-warning radars was making the U.S. invulnerable to surprise attack–or so we thought. Not unlike this one:

    The message was: “Thanks to all this investment in early-warning radars, no enemy can find a way to take us by surprise again.”

    I stood there staring at it, thinking “Well, it looks like somebody just found a way.”

  • Primrose

    I too was pregnant, five months and with my first,living in Jersey. My husband was supposed to fly out that day, just a little later in the morning. My parents were flying out to Africa that evening/morning. Since NPR had gone off the air, we had slept through the alarm, because NPR was off. My mother-in-law called to tell us there’d been a plane crash. I ran downstairs in a panic worried it might be my parent’s plane. They’d flown just behind Lockerbie coming back from India, were supposed to be that plane actually, so I felt a little superstitious.

    And obviously, while it was better for me, it was a worse story for the country. I remember thinking wow, it’s amazing the towers haven’t fallen, and then of course they did. Like so many we went to give blood, and could see the black smoke, since it was a clear day.

    And of course, we spent much of the day calling our families and friends in the city and D.C. (where we used to live). By the next day, we thought we’d heard from everybody. Then a friend in D.C. returned our call. They were fine, but the man who was to be her father-in-law in just two weeks had died in the Pentagon.

  • nwahs

    I remember still thinking it was an accident even after the second plane hit.

    When I was a young kid there was a fire in a high-rise office building here in New Orleans called the Rault Center. I remember watching the news and seeing people leap to their death rather than be burned alive. It was always in the back of my mind because my mother worked in a high-rise. I remember all the second guessing after the Rault Center tragedy.

    When I first saw the coverage on 9-11-01, that memory of the Rault Center came flooding back. People had already started leaping to their deaths and the news commentators we speculating whether or not helicopters could rescue people from the roof.

    When the second plane hit, I thought it was another horrible accident. I thought it was type of military plane trying to do some type of water or chemical drop. My mind was still in the rescue what ifs – suppress the flames, use helicopters to evacuate people from the roof. It took a few minutes for it to sink in that the horror unfolding was planned. Then all I felt was anger.

    The Rault Center was an horrific tragedy, but it was an accident. With this, you had to wonder what type of sadistic mind would willfully put people through such a horrific death.

    I’m glad they blew his brains out, and I hope they kill every member of Al-Qeda.

  • laingirl

    I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing – sitting at my dresser, combing my hair before going out to run errands, which I never did that day. The TV was on and they said it was a small airplane at first, but then it got worse and I was glued, crying while watching TV for the rest of the day. I called one son and the other called me, as did several friends and family members.

    I knew the architect of the World Trade Center, Minoru Yamasaki. When I lived in California, the company I worked for had him design several buildings and he was in our offices frequently. He gave me his book, which had a picture of WTC on the cover, as well as other pictures and information on it. Later I had the opportunity to go to New York and visited the WTC with someone who gave me a tour of the buildings. I loved New York and New Yorkers. A couple of years later 9-11 occurred.

    To this day, I get upset when I see the pictures of the WTC, both before, during and after 9-11. I didn’t know anyone who lost his/her life during 9-11, but I feel as if I had lost many friends and family then.

  • rockstar

    Your answers are all correct and A-quality work, because they’re yours and YOU ARE SPECIAL. THE MAN can’t tell you what to think. Let’s all look at our navels some more and reflect on just how especially special WE are and how this affects US. Pacifiers anyone?

  • Alivegarden

    Normally I ignore Smarg’s nuttiness, but today he’s completely out-cartooned himself. People need to stop acknowledging this clown, maybe then he’ll go back to burning crosses somewhere and leave FF to those with something worth saying.

  • Oldskool

    I saw it unfold on the Today show while laying in bed. It was similar to watching the Davidian compound in Waco the day all that went down. Utter disbelief. In addition to the lives lost, the other tragedy was when it was used to divide the country instead of unite it.

  • anniemargret

    I was working the evening shift at the library, so didn’t have to get to work till noon that day. It was late morning and for some ungodly reason I hadn’t put on TV to the news as I usually do in the mornings.

    I was trying to get into my email (AOL at that time) and finally frustrated called in. The young guy on the phone said all the circuits were ‘busy but then again it is not surprising given what had happened.”

    So I said, ‘what do you mean? what happened?” To which he said, “good God, didn’t you see the Twin Towers being attacked? When I expressed horror, I quickly went and put on the TV. While he and I kept talking throughout, he said,

    “This is just the beginning. We will be attacked by terrorists from this time on.”

    Chilling conversation while I was horrified by the sight. Called my parents in FL because they both grew up in Manhattan and they were already crying.

    Afterward, I couldn’t sleep for many, many days afterward, with the sights in my mind going to those poor pathetic people jumping out of the skyscrapers in desperation and the others caught in a burning tower, dying…

    • nwahs

      “Afterward, I couldn’t sleep for many, many days afterward, with the sights in my mind going to those poor pathetic people jumping out of the skyscrapers in desperation and the others caught in a burning tower, dying…”

      And after turning off the CBS documentary tonight, it still sticks with me. I’ve seen such a surreal sight twice in my life and it does me no good to relive it.

      • anniemargret

        I agree. Once is enough. It is a horrible imprint on the mind. The only thing it left with me is that there are some really evil people in this world. And when people say there isn’t, all a person has to do is….look. It’s all around us, and some more intense than others.

        The only thing I hope for is that those pathetic souls dropping from 80 floors up became unconscious in the fall… if that’s a hope. But the families having to watch that, or know that, must be terrible.

        And oddly enough, why I still believe in God. It’s easy to not believe when you see such evil and ask ‘where is God in all that?” But to deny there is good vs evil, is then giving it no meaning at all…nihilism which doesn’t soothe the heart. I have to believe there is justice for those who do evil on this earth.

        • rockstar

          ” I have to believe there is justice for those who do evil on this earth. ”

          Personally, I hope that sentiment includes lesbian feminazis. And everyone else involved in planning 9-11.

        • ottovbvs

          “includes lesbian feminazis. And everyone else involved in planning 9-11.”

          I never knew lesbian feminazis were involved in planning 9/11. Odd that, given muslim fundamentalist attitudes to women. Perhaps the Koran gives lesbian feminazis a mulligan.

  • Balsack

    And now. Just to put the final icing on the cake. Then I must suggest you spend a few moments to watch Chomsky on

    I KNOW that I will get killed for even mentioning Chomsky on this great FrumForum blog. But, since I truly respect all you guys/gals so very much, then I think we should all pay a bit of attention to Chomsky from MIT, regarding this subject, as others do around the world.

    Noam Chomsky on the 9/11 Decade and the Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Was There an Alternative?

    NOW, YOU WONDERFUL GUYS/GALS on FrumForum. It is time to take your medicine. I am speaking about your MIT medicine.

    Because. As some of you might just possibly know. Not everyone is a Flag Waving Fcking American, all around our fcking world. Or even inside the United States. There are some who can see our world in terms which are NOT black and white.

    Come on. Primrose. Make love to me with your wonderful words. “Pretty, pretty, pretty girl”, Rolling Stones!

    • Balsack

      C’mon, Primrose.

      Have me banned from this beautiful blog with its beautiful Lab.

      I love Labs. I love, pretty, pretty, pretty girls. But I do not like bars. Even gold bars.

      I will never be your beast of burden.

      Can we not just all agree to enjoy Keith Richards falling out of trees?

      BETTE MIDLER, Beast of Burden!
      PRIMROSE, pls take a listen.
      Don’t get so bent out of shape!
      Although, most guys like gals bent in just the right places.