I will never forget September 11 but on the tenth anniversary I could not re-watch those scenes.
I did not know anyone who lost their life in the attacks, but like so many others I knew someone who knew someone. 9/11 was the saddest exercise of Six Degrees of Separation ever.
My mother woke me up around 6:00 a.m. Pacific time that day, telling me that people were flying planes into buildings in New York. I didn't believe it could be true: Who would fly a plane into a building? I turned on the news in time to see the endless replays of the second plane hitting the tower. Not long after, the third plane hit the Pentagon. By 7:00 a.m. my time, the first tower fell.
I watched the coverage until I had to go into work. I was one of the first people in. The crazy asswipes I worked for had laid off four people for financial reasons just the day before and told them to take September 11 off. Shortly thereafter, my bosses all bought new cars but that's a different story. People slowly started to trickle in to work and we were glued to the TV news coverage. Until one of the crazy asswipes showed up. We turned off the coverage then. Not because we couldn't watch any longer. Because our boss threatened to fire anyone who was watching the news.
Good to know some people have their priorities.
I made my first trip to the east coast in September 2004 and my first (and only so far) visit to New York City on the third anniversary of September 11.
Our timing was such that the family ceremonies were still in process. On the whole, the site at that time was in reality just a big pit. Seeing the families there brought it all home.
For me, on this coast during the attacks, it was harder to relate. We saw it all on television but we've all seen a lot on television. To a large extent, we've become inured. Even with pictures of horrific events -- the naked child screaming down the road in Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped, the Viet Cong executing a man with the picture snapped as the bullet is passing through the man's head -- most of still never really seems real.
But still, we never forget.