September 08, 2002

Can't Hide From Remembering I've

Can't Hide From Remembering

I've been mentally preparing myself for this week, this week destined to be clogged with Sept. 11 anniversary documentaries, survivor interviews, commentary and everything else that comes with observing the tragedy. I had resolved to stay away from the television, shielding myself from what I believed to mostly be a ratings grab by the major networks determined to outdo one another with their "exclusive" interviews and insights. But, my resolve faltered.

I blame the lazy Sunday, the first Sunday of the professional football season. It's so hard to stay away from TV when you know somewhere the Vikings are ochestrating yet another heartbreaking loss to a bad team. Of course, they lost to Chicago with seconds left, and I eventually found myself channel surfing to CNN, where I started watching a 9/11 documentary that totally absorbed me.

I remembered. I remembered the disbelief as I drove to work that morning, hearing the impossible news that an unknown number of airplanes had been hijacked and were being flown into buildings. "That can't be right," I thought. "No one is sick enough to conjure up something that horrible."

I remembered. I remembered feeling sick, walking numbly to my office, with work being the last thing on my mind. I simply wanted to separate fact and fiction, to find out what was truly, factually unfolding in New York. The Internet was snail slow, with everyone with a modem intent on learning just what I wanted to know. Web pages appeared at a painfully slow rate, but the images they displayed couldn't have been imagined by even they most psychotic mind. Builidings ablaze. People hanging from windows. People plummeting to their deaths rather than face the inferno certain to sear the flesh from their bodies. People guilty of no crime save trying to live their lives, destined to never again see their loved ones, and experience horrors no one should ever have to endure, all because some meglomaniacal zealot believed it was within his own warped Islamic belief structure to plan and order the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

I remembered. I remembered a solitary tear, the only tear I recall shedding that entire week, dropping from my cheek and landing on the "Home" key of my keyboard, and that was, quite frankly, the only place I wanted to be at that moment: home. I wanted to be home with my family, but that was simply not possible. With my parents in Tokyo and my brother and his wife in Colorado, all I could do was sit. And worry. And keep watching the horror flashing on my computer screen.

I remembered. I remembered a voice squawking over the IBM public address system, telling IBM employees to continue their workday as usual, and to limit Internet usage to work-related projects only. I heard a a spattering of "fuck yous" and "go fuck yourselves" emanating from offices down the hall. It was like asking Anne Frank to ignore the bootsteps coming up the stairs. Finally, IBM clued into the fact that productivity for that day was pretty much nil, and they started broadcasting news reports on the monitors in the halls.

I remembered. I remembered the bubbling cauldron of mixed emotions running through my mind, emotions so strong they at times felt as though they could actually seep, thick and black, from the pores in my skin. Hate. Anger. Sadness. Despair. Rage. Emotions I rarely feel, and I hope I never feel them all at the same time ever again. They left me exhausted, yet unable to sleep. And I'm in Minnesota, forever away from where the real drama was unfolding. I could only imagine what New Yorkers were going through. They were so distant, yet they were all right there, flickering human drama broadcast right there in my bedroom.

I remembered. And I will never forget.

Posted by Ryan at September 8, 2002 10:45 PM
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