Friday, June 08, 2007 (the date I originally wrote this blog - re-posted today)
Sidenote: This blog is not written to defend right or wrong, what is happening in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan and not to talk about political parties or anything else of that nature.
Do you remember where you were when you heard/saw? That's always the question asked, isn't it? Scotty's Brewhouse had been open for 5 years in Muncie. We had been open in Bloomington for 2 years. Tuesdays were the day I held a management meeting. Every Tuesday, 8 am.
I'm the kind of person that needs background noise to keep me sane. I don't watch the tv or listen to the radio; but, I need it on just as a distraction.
This being said, my desk and I faced the managers. Their backs were to the tv across the room in my office. I don't remember what I was probably "yelling" at them about; but, 10 minutes later, it really didn't matter that our servers were not cleaning their tables fast enough… thousands of people had just died.
You know how you think back to "flashbacks" in your life and you remember little snippets, like a little piece of a movie? That's how I remembered that day, I can remember peering over one of my managers heads, seeing the tv screen and wondering, "what the hell did that plane just crash into a building for?" I remember the rest of the day was so "dreary and foggy."
It felt like the feeling you had as a kid when you couldn't find your mom or dad in the grocery store or mall. You felt lost, with no hope. The person or thing that is supposed to protect you and hold you when you are scared, was gone. That's how I felt that day. I felt like Mom/Dad United States couldn't protect us, we didn't know what was happening, where it was happening next or why. That feeling of desperation and fright will stick with me forever.
There's another reason why I will never forget 9/11.
It's my birthday.
I've never been sad to share this day with those that lost their lives. For God's sake, I'm still alive and celebrating life, how could I be upset about that. At first, I hated giving my birth date to people on the phone, or in the airport, for credit card authorizations or the like. People always said, "I'm sorry."
Sorry for what? I'm not sorry. I'm proud. I'm proud to remember those people every year. It is not my day, it is theirs. Hell, birthdays lose their panache after the age of 21 anyway. And, very few of my friends forget my birthday now. The fact that it is tied to one of, if not the, worst tragedies in American history… more than 3000 people will never celebrate a birthday again.
I love to shop. I know, weird being a heterosexual male and all. Might have been the 2 sisters and no brothers that did that to me. So, I'm "metro." And, I love New York. My mom, dad, wife and I would take a trip to New York every Fall to shop and see a Broadway show.
We had our annual trip planned for late September that year of the tragedy. We all talked and decided, if they are letting planes fly into NYC, we will still go. New York needed the support of tourists at that time more than ever.
I will tell you what, I will never, ever forget that trip. From the armed guards and dogs at the airport, to talking to people in the stores. I would ask the clerk if they felt comfortable talking about it, to tell me where they were. I heard stories of some of them waking up and seeing it all happen out there window, to one person that just started running across the bridges covered in soot, dust and crying…
We decided to go visit one of the fire stations that lost many men and women in the tragedy. In front of the fire station were banquet tables set out covered with pictures of the fallen, candles burning, flowers, cards… There were cards from school children from all over the United States.
As I was looking and watching, I didn't notice but one of the firemen was behind me watching us. He was tall, burly and looked tired. I turned around and walked up to him, stuck my hand out and pulled him into me with a warm hug/embrace. I just told him, "we are here for you." As I pulled away and wiped my tears, I watched him cry and walk away.
September 11 will never be forgotten.