mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Where were you when?

As a kid I remember my parents talking about where they were when they heard that Kennedy was shot. It was one of those generational things that people from their generation could relate to.

As a child of the 80’s (1980 specifically) I didn’t have one of those tragedies that sticks in your mind like that until 9/11. I was an infant when Regan was shot, I have vague memories of the Challenger explosion, but I don’t remember grasping the significance. I remember the first twin tower bombing and Oklahoma City, but they just didn’t have the impact that 9/11.

I remember 9/11 clearly, though. I was a senior in college at the time, one week into the new semester. I was sitting on our $15 yard sale corduroy couch in the basement apartment that I rented with 2 other college students in an aging complex in the Mount Washington section of Baltimore. I remember drinking coffee, eating waffles, and getting ready to go to class while watching MTV. I remember thinking that I should probably see what the news is and flipping to CNN, which was broadcasting that a plane had just hit one of the towers.

The first thing in my mind was that someone in a small plane wasn’t paying attention and flew into the tower. As the reporting went on, with the discovery of the planes that had been lost track of, with videos showing that the planes were much larger than Cessna, it became apparent that something far bigger and more tragic had happened.

I dragged myself to class (law and social responsibility). The professor didn’t know what to do and decided that the best thing to do would be to have class. People left the class to make calls on cell phones or to cry. Though in Maryland, the college I attended was heavily attended by New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.

After class, I choked down some Taco Bell (bean burrito - strange the details you remeber) and went to check my email. Class was cancelled. The rest of the day is pretty much a blur of sitting around watching the news.

My day started out as pretty much every day of my college career did, but became something that I will never forget. It seems that it has become a shared experience for everyone who was old enough to grasp what was going on. I’ve discussed it with coworkers, one of whom said “I was running late to work as usual when I heard it on the radio’. It sticks in my memory because it was such a typical day – not just for those of us whose relationship to it is simply remembering where we were, but also for those who were killed, who were just going to work like they had every day for years, and for their families who saw them off as normal. But everything changed on that day for all Americans. An ordinary set of numbers – a month and a day – has become synonymous with tragedy, with loss.


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