Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mom Remembers 9/11

The local newspaper, the Journal Times, asked readers to send in their memories of 9/11/01. Apparently, they liked my mom's submission enough that she was one of a half dozen people they asked to come in and tell it to the camera. This is her story about learning about it at her cabin out in the southwestern part of Wisconsin:

She gets the day wrong -- I can't forget that it was a Tuesday, because I had a cartoon to send to the Business Journal that morning.

I got off on a rather late start to my day and skipped the usual routine of eating breakfast while watching the Today show. I ate at the computer, scanning and e-mailing the cartoon I'd drawn Monday night. Getting in my car to go to my day job, I heard NPR's reporting on the story and thought that they were interviewing someone with a book about the February, 1993 World Trade Center attack. But the details seemed all wrong, and then they went to their Pentagon reporter as alarms started to sound around him, and it was clearly live reporting.

Tuesday was the day the senior citizens center met at work, and we had no cable television in the building -- just a TV used for watching VHS tapes and DVDs. The seniors spent the morning watching TV news coverage with extremely poor reception while I (along with hundreds of thousands of others) discovered that and the other news sites were essentially overloaded for the morning. had live video feed of the Pentagon from a traffic cam or some other fixed camera, so that and the radio were my source of news.

As in New York, the weather here that day was absolutely beautiful -- in total contradiction to the events of the day. And that weather continued as all air traffic over the country was grounded over the next several days; cloudless skies absolutely free of jet contrails for the first time in my life.

As for my Mom's recollection, I have to believe that she saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center on her TV, not the first one, unless she's talking about several hours later when the footage of the first crash made its way onto TV. But 9/11 became for all of us who lived through it one of those days about which we will always remember where we were -- no matter how far removed from the actual events that happened to be.

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