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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Monday, September 11, 2006


On past anniversaries, I've written long essays about how much of 9/11/01 has stayed with me (2002, 2003, 2005). Today, at year five, I'm struck by how much has left me, notable only by how quickly it comes gushing back on a day like today.

At two or three years out, I could honestly say I hadn't gone a day without thinking about the attacks at least once, whether it be the various memorial sites I pass each day on my daily commute, or just the sight of the New York skyline, which I can see out the train window even as I write this (the same train window through which I noticed that "odd, low hanging cloud" hovering near the north tower five years ago). The sight of a plane in the air used to make me sick to my stomach, especially when it was obscured from my view by a tall building. My brain understood the concept of perspective, but the ease with which I could visualize the plane slamming into the building, rather than passing harmlessly behind it, was gut wrenching.

A few years later, I am no longer tormented by these demons. The skyline is once again a thing of beauty that I regularly pass right by without even noticing, and planes in the sky are as much a normal part of the skyscape as the birds and the clouds.

Except today.

Over the weekend, I watched a couple of the obligatory retrospectives - Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS. I saw all the videotape again - the planes hitting the buildings, the towers falling, the firemen running through the lobby I knew so well and up and down those awesomely large escalators I rode every day for years. After a while, I could smell the acrid smoke again. I could taste it on my tongue so strongly that I actually looked in the mirror to make sure it wasn't there, and then drank some water to get rid of the taste. I sat awake until 4AM, unable to sleep as I did in the weeks following the attacks themselves. This morning, I saw a plane taking off from Newark Airport disappear from view as it flew in front of the sun and it made me catch my breath. As I type this, they just announced that the 7th Avenue exit to New York Penn Station is temporarily closed. Cops and National Guard troops are putting up yellow caution tape, and I need to walk around the 8th Avenue side to get to my normal subway. I'm sure it's nothing, and yet my hands are shaking as I type. What does today's date mean to some lunatic with a cherry bomb?

And yet, like the thousands of people around me, I continue on to my office for a relatively normal day at work. That's the difference. These feelings come once a year now, not every day. Five years from now will be even better. Five years from then, better still. The healing process I secretly worried wouldn't come is happening, and we're far enough along that I can see it now. We're all going to be OK.

God Bless America.

posted by Brian at 8:37 AM


  • I understand you on the whole!!! This terrible fear doesn't leave me too! It’s awful!!! Every time I fly somewhere, I tremble with fear, because I don’t know what it’s happening next minute!!! Especially this summer I’ve suffered a great deal, flying to Cyprus!!! Something happened with the plane and a crazy man cried out that it’s a bomb!!! I even couldn’t come to myself even in Cyprus hotel!!!!! Thus, I advice everybody to be very careful with the most precious - your lives!!!

    By Blogger Jess, at 5:44 AM, September 15, 2006  

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