Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11 Memories

I was working 2nd shift at that time, so I was sleeping when the call came on that Tuesday morning. The answering machine picked it up, because I was sleeping and I didn’t hear the phone ring.

Groggily, I slowly came to myself and I became aware of the sound of a juvenile voice issuing from the speaker of the answering machine. Then the voice stopped, followed by the unmistakable sound of the phone line being disconnected.

Although I had barely heard the voice, and was still half asleep to the point that I could make nothing of it, there was something about the tone of that voice that seemed strangely urgent and ominous. Even so, I checked the clock for the time. It was around 10:00. I don’t remember exactly. Then I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, with a mental note to check the messages on the answering machine.

After attending to the obligatory morning ritual, I remember going to the window, and looking out to see what kind of day it was outside. Sunny, with little wind. A seemingly normal late summer day.

I opened the fridge, and grabbed a can of Diet Mountain Dew, and popped the top. I don’t drink coffee, so I get my morning caffeine buzz from Diet Mountain Dew.

So sue me.

As I sipped the drink, I reached over and punched the button on the playback feature of the answering machine.

“You have…one new message.”

The voice that had awakened me was that of the 12 year old boy who lived next door, my son’s best friend. He is black, his voice singularly recognizable by the typical African American accent. My first thought was, “why is he not in school?”

My son, who is the same age, was in school. The kid next door was an honor student but sometimes he just decided he didn’t want to go to school and his father didn’t seem to care if he stayed home.

That day, he was home.

His voice was urging the listener to turn on the television. He sounded somberly excited, if that is possible.

He said a plane had crashed into the World Trade center, in New York City.

I turned on the television. I didn’t have to search for the right channel. The news was on every channel. The images were shocking. I was stunned. A tower was on fire. The news commentator was saying a small plane had crashed into the tower. It was too early to know what exactly had happened, but it looked to me like something bigger than a small plane.

Then, as I watched, another plane struck the other tower.

No doubt now. America was under attack.

Time stood still.

How do I describe the remainder of my day? I cannot. I was in shock. I could not think. The only thing I remember was that I couldn’t cope with the reality of the situation. I merely went through the motions of my everyday life. The world was crumbling yet I still had to eat, conduct daily business, whatever it was, and later, go to work.

After a while, I turned the TV off. There was no further information other than the news that there were 2 more plane crashes, one into the Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania. It was ascertained that the President was safe, but after that, there was little more to be learned as of yet.

This is what I do. I don’t linger too long during breaking news. I prefer to wait until all or most of the details are known and then I have the whole story. I hate being fed tidbits of information a little at a time. It is frustrating.

Outside, in Kansas City, it was a beautiful late summer day. There was a chill in the air, nevertheless, but it wasn’t a meteorological thing.

Later, I went to work, and I got all the gossip that I missed by not watching the news reports through the day. It was a surreal experience.

That is my remembrance of September 11, 2001.

I wrote a poem about it, but I am not a poet, so I will not present it here. It is woefully inadequate and sophomoric. Maybe I’ll start a new blog for bad poetry. I’ll start with some of Kanye West’s lyrics.

Here is what New Yorkers remember:

Click on the red and blue balloons.

Can't Cry Hard Enough

UPDATE: My blog has been featured as the "Blog of the week" over at I will forgive them for getting my first name wrong. Be sure you head on over there after you check out the moving tribute links on this site and give them your support.

Here and here are two more very good memories of 9/11/2001


Mark said...

Ok, here's the poem. Brace yourself:

September Winds

September winds lament the day
Of pain and blood and tears
They carry the sounds of sorrow
Still, after these many years.

How many God’s children were lost that day
When terror from above
Replaced the hopes and dreams of those
Who never knew of love?

The horrid acts of a hate filled few
Have been carried in the sound
And borne away by September winds
And buried in the ground.

The sons of Allah rejoice and cheer
But sons of God will pray
That God with justice, will avenge
The murders on that day

And while we remember the ones we love
The pain produces tears
The tears belong to us today,
The blood is forever theirs.

---Mark Maness

Told you it sucks

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Mark, don't criticize what flows from the heart. That's poetry, good or bad.

I was at a client's house (personal training)that morning. His wife came rushing down in a panic and we turned on the tv, and that ended our workout session right there. The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I recall hearing from an ex.

After that, I turned from apolitical moderate to staunch supporter of conservative ideas and policy. Jean Francois Revel's "Anti-Americanism" really did a lot to shape the direction in which my political thought went, as far as U.S. foreign policy.

Erudite Redneck said...

Ya done good. With you rememberin' AND yer poetin'.


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for updating me on the tribute link you added, Mark. Thanks for your compliments on mine. On your continued presence and support. On your friendship.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Sorry MARK about the goof up on your name. I was thinking ahead of myself and wrote MIKE instead. The change is being made after I type this. Thanks for the plug and a great tribute!


Francis Lynn said...

It's a fine poem. Don't dis it. I had unobstructed view of towers from 9 miles away. Saw 'em every day for 30 yrs. Still not used to them not being there.

Mike's America said...

Hey Mark: Quite a nice honor over at Liberal Lies. Welcome to that exclusive club!

I have another great link for the September 11th story in words, music and pictures. See my post here for more:

I remember that day well. I was starting my morning routine by firing up the computer. Saw the Drudge Report with the news, thought, that must be a mistake and went about my business until I turned on the TV. I still had appointments that I had to keep that day, but it soon sunk in that work was not so important.

Everytime I watch the flash presentation in the link I sent you it all comes back. Not a pleasant reminder, but with all the Orwellian revisionism going on trying to confuse people, it's an important reality check.

I haven't posted on this, but if you or your readers want a few examples of the offensive revisionism that the left is undertaking in New York, see this:

It's the mantra we've heard in howls in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: BLAME BUSH!!!

rich bachelor said...

Nah. An example of bad poetry is as follows, by my acquaintance, Tony:
You are IN-SANE!
What give you the right
to make people fight?", etc.
Nobody ever accused Tony of being a brain surgeon.
I meant it when I said that the one good thing that came out of that day was that I noticed people around me going out of their way to be nicer to each other, and take care of each other. I meant all the rest of it, too, but that's the point I want to reiterate.

tugboatcapn said...

Great post as usual, Mark.
The first that I heard of the 9/11 attack was from the CB radio.
I was asleep in the truck on an overpass near Vail, Colorado, with a load that I had picked up on Long Island, New York, three days before, when the CB blurted out:

"They wuz ah sayin' it wuz sum kinduvver Commie-Kozzie attack er sumptin'..."

What? Huh? What attack??

I got up and turned on the FM to see what exactly was going on.
There was no possible way that I could have imagined it was as bad as it was.

The first thing I did was call Mom, and tell her where I was. (The last time I had talked to her, I was in New York.)

My dispatcher sent me a Qual-com message telling me to find a truck stop, fill up with fuel as soon as possible, and shut down and sit tight until further notice.
I was in COLORADO. Headed to California. The last thing that I wanted was to shut down.
I sat there for three days before they told me to proceed with the load. (It was three more weeks before I made it home.)
During that time I was bombarded with images and accounts of the horror that had occured in NY, and how Americans and the World came together in the aftermath.
I will never forget it.

tugboatcapn said...

And big props on being the Blog of the Week over at Liberals lies.
That's one of my favorite blogs, and I am very jealous.
You da man!!

Mary said...

Congratulations on being blog of the week, Mark! You deserve it.

And don't say that your poem sucks. It doesn't. Sincere expressions from the heart can't suck.

I will never forget that day. My husband had just dropped the kids off at school, like normal. I was still home and I saw that there was a fire at the WTC. No one knew what had really happened at that point.

My husband called from the car on his way to work. He would do that sometimes to catch up on things that weren't said because of all of the usual morning chaos.

After asking him it the kids were OK, I told him about the fire. I was still talking to him and watching TV when the second plane hit.

My heart started to race. I described what I saw happen live. I was so frightened. With the time difference, I was thinking the towers had to be packed with people already.

There was so much confusion. Then, when the report of the crash at the Pentagon came, I called him up at work. He hadn't heard yet.

I didn't want to panic, but I wanted my kids to be with me. The school office called to notify me that a meeting I was to attend that night had been cancelled. I asked if parents were getting their kids. Some did, but the school would remain open.

I picked them up at the end of the day as always. When I caught my first glance of them approaching as I sat waiting in the car, listening to the news on the radio, I started to cry. I wanted to run out and scoop them up and never let them go.

When they got in the car, I hugged them and reassured them that everything was OK and they were safe.

I was numb and definitely not OK.

Mark said...

Mary, the only thing that disappoints me about that comment is that you have revealed you are married. (sigh)

Marie's Two Cents said...

That was a beautiful poem!
Congrats also!
I am with one of your other readers, I should just put up my pathetic little blog also. These days I am so filled with rage for the left, half the time I cant think what to write when I do have the time.
As for 9-11-01 I am with you on this, I was getting ready for work watching the morning news, same thing for me when I saw the plane hit the second tower, I knew we were under attack, instantly thought of Bin "Hidin", and thought my God my son had just joined the Army 2 months to the day before. I went straight into shock also. I think I still am. Having gone through the Oklahoma City bombing already, it was overwhelming to me. The rest of the day is also a blurr for me. It seemed like everything broke loose all over again. I still look out the window and out the door to see what is flying overhead when I hear something. Which at the moment has become a nightmare since I am so close to Tinker Air Force Base and there has been alot of activity going on here lately. Maybe someday I will get over all this, but I dont see it happening anytime soon.
Again Congrats you truly deserve it!