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GOING THE DISTANCE
"AT HOME ON 9/11"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
Many people have a 9/11 story. Here's mine, short but not sweet.
I was at home working in the photographic darkroom, processing prints (fluorescein angiography of the retina) for work. I first saw something on TV while my prints were washing, about a "small plane" that might've hit one of the towers. I then went into one of the back bedrooms of my apartment, where a window faced downtown and I could see the tower spewing smoke. At this point, I didn't think much of the story. None of the news commentators on TV seemed to think that disastrous damage was done to the building. I thought back to the small plane that crashed into the Empire State Building decades ago, that did minimal damage. I even called Patty at work and said to her...."Hey Hon, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center and it's on fire...," never thinking for a minute that the tower would melt down into oblivion.
As I saw more on TV, I---and the rest of the world---started to realize that there was more involved than just a small plane running into one of the World Trade Center towers.
As the story unfolded, I felt a rage and sadness that I still feel today. I watched the first tower fall on TV, and had a hard time getting my head around the reality of it. After my prints dried, I left for work. On the way to work (a two mile walk) I passed my mechanic's shop (the Ludlow Garage) where Jerome, my mechanic, said...."It's on TV, the second tower's falling..." I could hear from my position on Attorney Street in the Lower East Side (which is perhaps a mile and a half from the towers), the screams of the people at the world trade center site. The amalgamation of all those screams simultaneously, seemed like one big primal scream.
No doubt some of those screams were from people within the tower, in addition to those of the people trying to escape the horror of the sight and sounds of this tower falling toward them on Earth. I also heard the crash of the defragmenting building as it hit the ground. It is a sound I'll never forget.
As I got further toward work, I came across people covered in ashes. People that were at the site, and were walking uptown on Broadway, people who were no doubt trying to mentally digest what they had experienced and witnessed.
All this on a clear, beautiful blue-sky day. It was incongruous, the sight of these ash-covered pedestrians walking through this beautiful and sunny day. It was incongruous, the mass death that I knew occurred, on this beautiful and sunny day.
What makes me angry the most, are people who have forgotten. Worse than those who are merely indifferent about the significance of 9/11 representing a diametrically opposed culture's intent to kill Americans and who loathe our culture and way of life, are those who insist that we "overreacted" to the terror threat spearheaded by 9/11. These people would like to sweep 9/11 and the reality of Islamic jihad under the rug, because they are inconvenient truths, and perhaps politically incorrect in an age of cowardice when some are reluctant to admit to the jihadist tendencies within Islam.
To me these people are weak of resolve and lame of character. They fold like cheap lawn chairs. They are as indecisive and weak as the present administration, and like legions of peas in pods of the irresolute, they wallow in their weakness and cheer on the prevaricating ways of their leaders. They are simply pathetic. Later.