Poll: How did the 9-11 attacks affect you?

main_1200I remember precisely where I was the day those planes hit the World Trade Center. It had been three years since I left active duty Army, and I was part of an Army Reserve unit here in Virginia. I did my reserve duty at the Public Affairs office of the Chief of the Army Reserve once per week for several hours. The office was located in Crystal City, and we did a lot of work at the Pentagon.

It was my son’s fourth birthday, and we were looking forward to a birthday dinner for the munchkin, who demanded we go to a Chinese buffet place in town, because it had pizza. (No one said four year old boys had to make sense, right?) I was at the office, working my civilian job and chatting with a friend via instant messenger.

And then all hell broke loose.

We stopped work. We gathered in our conference room. We turned the TV on and watched in horror as the news replayed the scene over and over again.

I tried my military supervisor at Crystal City, but all cell service was down.

I tried my husband. Nothing.

I couldn’t take it after a while, so I left my office and went to pick up my son, whose kindergarten only lasted half the day.

It was hard to explain to that little boy what happened. He knew bad people had attacked us and flew planes into buildings. He knew a lot of people died. He knew his daddy was a federal police officer and was called away. He knew we would not be having a family birthday dinner at the Chinese buffet place.

For years after that birthday, he became hypervigilant. He would demand I help him “clear” his room of monsters. I’d have my gun, and he’d have his little toy guns, and together we would clear his room before bed.

I started training more, and I think I became hypervigilant myself. I was terrified something would happen to my kids. I started writing more about civil rights and joined several gun rights organizations.

So now, on the 15th anniversary of that horrible day, think back. How were you affected by the attacks? Were you affected at all?

You can choose as many answers as appropriate, or add one of your own.

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5 thoughts on “Poll: How did the 9-11 attacks affect you?”

  1. I was on my way to the house I was building; the building inspector was going to show up to reinspect my wastewater plumbing. I turned on the radio to hear of the first tower being hit by a twin engine plane (which made it sound like a private aircraft). Oddly, I cannot recall if the second hit had already happened or not; I do recall the crash of 93 and the pentagon hit happening on the way; I’ll admit the crash of Flight 93 struck me as unrelated because nothing of value had been hit (and that, of course, was due to some impromptu bravery by perfectly “ordinary” Americans). The towers didn’t collapse until after I was at the site, I had turned the radio off since it was futile to try to hear it while working.

    The inspector finally arrived hours ago; he told me I was lucky they hadn’t simply sent them all home for the day (it occured to someone that the inspectors were dispersed and safe).

    Only three days later did the military base I worked on reopen to civilians, and it was a different world at the gates, with concrete jersey barriers up, the SPs wearing helmets. I had spent the last three days waiting for the December 1941 style declaration of war that never came.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the current political class simply doesn’t want to fight this war.

    Longer term effects on me were that, in hindsight, this was the beginning of the end of my involvement with the Libertarian Party. I had enthusiastically supported Harry Browne in 2000, but within days of 9/11 he blasted out an e-mail titled “When will we learn?” essentially blaming us for the attack. I now wish I had saved that e-mail.

  2. I chose concern for the increasing loss of our civil rights with the passage of The Patriot Act. Promoted in that novelistic forum called SAFETY. Such a overrated and abused term, after all no one can be against such a concept as SAFETY, can they. No, instead of restricting the flow of peoples from the countries these jihadi terrorist come from they corral us like chattel. But protecting us from whom, ourselves or terrorists. To me protection and safety is more a smoke screen for added control of the populous and the deception of doing something noble.

    On the morning of 9-11-2001 I was awakened by a phone call from my parents concerned of my whereabouts. I had been working in northern Alberta and had caught the last flight out of Edmonton the night before and arrived home very late. Watching the television with horror and sadness the attack upon our soil I new we would be at war soon.

    In the weeks that followed I cringed every time I heard some so called conservative commentator express his support for the Patriot Act and had no problems with the creation of Homeland Security or the TSA. But it was ok because it somehow made us safer, huh.

    It still amazes me how instead of restricting the flow of peoples from Muslim countries and keeping a close eye on those already here, we instead repress ourselves and fine that to be OK.

  3. I was on the West Coast on the way to a work out with my trainer, once I got there; there was no workout that day for sure.

    There are moments we remember in life and that morning was one of them.

  4. I remember hearing the news on the radio I have set as an alarm. Alarming it was. Shortly after I got up my best friend that’s like a sister called. We talked about it on the phone, both of us unwilling to hang up. I asked about weather conditions first, she said clear and perfect weather. I told her I thought we had been attacked.

    As soon as I got the pups out and they finished I turned on the TV. We watched in horror together. Separated by miles, connected by the phone and our shock. We watched people leaping to their death as our brains struggled to comprehend. I think what we both knew even in those first few moments was our country would never be the same, or as innocent as it was.

    And it’s not, now it chooses willful blindness.

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