Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Those "Where Were You" Moments

10 Years Gone And The Pain Is Still Strong


I was browsing on Facebook this morning, and noticed that Nancy France had a quiz up asking if you remembered where you were 10 years ago today.

About 99.9% replied that they knew where they were, and knew exactly what they were doing at the time.

This isn't too surprising. Events like that just sear into your memory. You're stunned into inactivity. It's just too big to process.

For my grandparents, I'm sure the Pearl Harbor bombing announcement was a big one. My parents have a photographic image of November 22, 1963 when shots rang out in Dealey Plaza.

The first "Where Were You" moment I can recall with that sort of clarity was when Ronald Reagan was shot. I was walking down the back hallway on the 2nd floor at Spring Forest Junior High towards the main office. It was mid-period, and I was running an errand for the teacher. This kid comes bursting out of one of the classrooms, and with tears streaming down his face, screamed "The President got shot! The President got shot!" as he hightailed it towards the office. I guess they had a TV on in the classroom.

I was a senior in high school when the Challenger shuttle exploded. I remember sitting in the school library watching the news on the TV mounted over the checkout desk.

I remember talking on the phone with a friend of mine from Scout Camp named Thomas when the TV flashed to images of hordes of Germans tearing down the Berlin Wall.

I was sitting with my Dad in the den when the Columbia burned up over the skies of Texas.

As for 9/11, I recall that with great clarity as well. It was my habit to turn on the TV in the morning to CNN as I puttered around my apartment before going to work.
I came out of my bedroom to see on the TV images of smoke rising from the 1st tower. They were talking about a small plane impacting minutes earlier.

I can remember thinking about the WWII bomber that ran into the Empire State Building in thick fog in 1945, and wondering what kind of crappy pilot hits a building on a clear day?

Next thing I know, the 2nd hijacked plane streaked into the picture and impacted the South WTC tower, and for me, the world stood still for a few moments.

There's that old saw about "once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action". In this case, Twice is all it took. No effin' way that two planes just happen to hit that close together within minutes. Something was seriously messed up.

I tore myself away from the TV and drove into work. Most of the 7th floor folks were in the training room, watching the TV we used for training videos. There was really crappy reception since we were in the middle of the building and didn't have cable.

There was a hushed mood, at least until the towers collapsed. At that point people started getting squirrelly. Some of the managers pushed for shutting down and sending everyone home. After all, we were in a tall building in Dallas, a major US telecom hub.

We didn't go home, but the rest of the day passed in a daze. All my training classes were cancelled, so I mostly sat there and soaked in the images on the TV. Seared into memory. Too big to process...