September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:My husband and I had the alarm clock set for 7:00 am (Arizona Standard time) and were awakened by a somber voice on NPR announcing some sort of terrorist attacks. Confused, but roused immediately, we bolted out of bed and turned on the television to find the horror that the rest of the country had been witnessing. There was much confusion about what had happened and the news channels weren't reporting very clearly. When the second tower fell I thought it was a replay of the falling of the first tower.
Terrified and upset, we called our neighbors and friends downstairs to wake them up (they didn't have television)as well as our families and friends. As the day progressed more of our friends and family came to be with us and stare helplessly at the television. I think I sat in front of the TV the whole day with tears in my eyes and my hand in front of my mouth.
Although not materially affected by the September 11 attacks, I do have friends in New York and family and friends in Washington D.C., all of whom were close to the attacks. We spent part of the day trying to contact them and were graced with relief when everyone was accounted for and safe.
We were all waiting for the other shoe to drop. A plane into the Sears Tower in Chicago (my hometown) or another explosion somewhere else. Even from afar, the attacks left all of us feeling terrified and violated. You can't take that away.
Life Changed:Honestly, I am less patriotic because of these attacks. I can't subscribe to the cult of heroism that has been aroused by this national tragedy. Although I would never commend anyone for terrorist actions like that, I can certainly understand why other cultures not only hate the United States, but the economic and social culture that it perpetuates.
It has certainly placed me as more of a political outsider since I don't subscribe to the new nationalist structure of feeling.
It has also reinforced my beliefs in a state without religion and not buttressed by military intrusion, both of which have escalated in the wake of the attacks. September 11th, 2001, tragic, horrible, and inexcusable, has only strengthened my political beliefs in the kind of country I support. Unfortunately, we are not living up to that standard so far.
Should be remembered:September 11th, like Pearl Harbor, is as much about the mundane as it is about glaring realities of the famed tragedies. Projects like this are important to understand how people reacted to the events and how it changed or reinforced their views about their country, their government, their religion, and themselves.
Although I am certain there is a grand consumer market for 9/11 memorabilia in books, t-shirts, TV shows, and the like, it is less about the images of the twin towers standing, burning, collapsing, or collapsed, what will dictate our diplomatic reactions, personal and national, are the collective musings of the individuals. Popular support guides foreign policy as much as the will of powerful men.
Flag:I thought about it immediately after the attacks, but for whatever reason I did not. Now I wouldn't dream of flying an American flag in front of my house or plastering its image all over my car. It doesn't mean that I am against my country. However, I think that people wave the flag like a banner of righteousness when we are no more exceptional than anyone else.
I've also been affronted by the blanket of Christianity draped over the recent surge in patriotism.