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Seven Years Later September 11, 2008

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Videos.
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For a brief moment in time – seven years we were one. Long time Lobo readers know that I started writing on that awful Tuesday, September 11, 2001 as a way to keep in touch and as a way to process the nightmare that attacked our fair City. Life went on, of course, but this time of year still breaks my heart. The blue, crisp September sky cannot help but remind us of that morning. Low flying planes, loud noises and the still unfinished mess that is now called Ground Zero continue to irritate and unnerve the soul. The politics of the day enrages me still but I take solace in knowing that in a few months we will not have to see or hear from the thugs living in the White House. l still light two candles each year – one for each tower. I may have to light another candle in remembrance of what we used to stand for and what we have lost in these last seven years. Can you hear my big sigh wherever you are?

For a brief moment in time seven years ago – we were one nation. As I read over my sixth anniversary post I realized that not a lot has changed for the better in one year. We have lost more of our precious few civil rights. We are being spied upon in more places by more people each day. Many more people have lost their homes. The middle class gets starved out more each day. Health care costs have risen dramatically and the price of oil is insane. The dollar is so weak we made up something called ‘staycation’ and believe that is a great way to spend your vacation. The mindless lunacy at airports where we are treated as cattle, with shoes in hand, does not make me feel any safer. How about you?

For a brief moment in time seven years ago – we were one nation. After a criminal lack of leadership we quickly became more polarized than ever before. The litany of lies, abuses of power and illegal acts by this administration makes me both angry and sad at the same time. Their use of 9/11 as noun, verb, bumper sticker, backdrop and an excuse for everything they do (or do not do) is appalling. They drag the culture wars out of the often used bag of dirty tricks when they have no policies or agendas to put forth.

For a brief moment in time we were one.

The photo above is the obvious one that anyone who has ever ridden the Staten Island Ferry or the Circle Line has taken and is now filed somewhere in their photo drawer. Pictured above are my Cousin Judy from CA and me as we dazed out at that magnificent skyline in June 0f 2000 (Cousin Steve gets photo credit).

I asked for some thoughts about this seventh anniversary from you and received back a few to share.

This first one is from my usually silent, favorite NYPD detective, Matt who was a first responder that day seven years ago. My hat is off to Matt and all those who were there, worked so hard the weeks thereafter and carry the difficult memory with them every day. His wife, Carol, managed to get to my place that day and stayed with me overnight.

“I still remember coming home around 2:45 am on the morning of September 12th and writing to you and Carol. My uniforms were being washed and I had to be back in work in less than an hour and a half. I still have a ton of “hatred” feelings and a ton of sad feelings.
I am scheduled to be off today but I’m working overtime in the city.
It’s a very sad day.
I hope everyone out there takes a few minutes to think about what happened that day and think about all who are no longer with us.
We lost a supervisor from my truck that day, Sgt. Rodney Gillis. His mom will be stopping in to our quarters this morning to see us and her son’s memorial plaque, locker and equipment storage bin before she goes to the city for the memorial. I touch his equipment bin every day I work because it’s next to my equipment bin. You never know when those you work with aren’t going to come home”.

This one is from Porter, a friend from Hilton Head.

“My recollection of that day is intense but complicated. I had just brought my wife her breakfast tray in the TV room where she was relaxing in her favorite couch in her rainbow colored bathrobe. Her hair was growing back but short and no longer salt and pepper but blondish. As always she was beguiling. Then the morning show was interrupted with a full screen of the smoking trade center, just minutes before mortally wounded. My beautiful wife was a native New Yorker, and knew the area very well. We listened to the muddled and confusing reports, she remembered when a plane flew into the Empire State building… then we actually saw the second plane go into the second tower. My first reaction was, maybe this was a bit of overkill, probably an updated version of the famous Orson Wells debacle, but it was all too real. Together we experienced a moment of panic, maybe this was going to preclude an invasion of some sort. We watched the whole awful tragedy play out together in that little TV room with toast and coffee and juice and cereal. As we saw the buildings begin to unpeel like overripe bananas I clearly recall looking over at her still lovely face and seeing the tears start to roll down, and they triggered mine. And at that moment I realized I was going to lose her, she too was was dying, her cancer out of control. Too much death all around, losing her wasn’t fair either; nothing was fair at that moment. That was a very terrible dark day for so many. For me on too many levels”.

This photo was taken early afternoon in front of the Flatiron building on September 11, 2001. The view is looking south down Broadway and Fifth Avenue. You can see the cloud of smoke and dust on the left of the Flatiron building and you people walking north towards their homes. That blue sky is embedded into my brain.

This one is from Robert in NYC: “Seven years is a long time to stay as committed as you have been. Congratulations. I can only say that I get up each morning looking forward to your daily “rant” and am disappointed if I get on the computer before the Lobo News has been sent. I don’t always agree with you but unlike the Repugnants (what a great moniker for them) I value your right to your opinion, and my right to not always agree with that opinion. As our people are so used to saying ” a hundred and tvartzik more years of blogging for Lobo.”

This is a photo of the outfit I wore while running the 2001 NYC Marathon. It was the hardest race to finish.

From Bumper Sticker Ruth: Well, seven years later, the “hole in the sky” seems to be gone. “The hole in the sky” was my reaction whenever I looked downtown at where the World Trade towers used to be. They had dominated the skyline from where I live, and whenever I looked downtown — there they were. For quite a while after the Towers were gone, I would glance downtown and have this split-second reaction that something was wrong, and then I would remember. It was the “hole in the sky”. Something that we never would have dreamed could happen, did happen. Now, I look downtown, and don’t see the “hole in the sky” anymore — the view now looks normal and doesn’t shock me anymore.
What does continue to shock me, though, is how the events of that day have been used to manipulate this country and create a “hole in the Constitution”. I never would have imagined that seven years later, our rights could be so trampled on, our standing in the world so diminshed, and the people who masterminded the attack could still be walking around free. That continues to shock me. I will never get used to it. It’s time to take back the White House, and repair that hole in the Constitution. Then, maybe, things can really start to become normal again.

From Jim in Florida: Since I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years now, I don’t have the luxury of getting “used to” not seeing the Towers– I make an objective reference, of course, since I doubt that anyone really gets “used to” the new skyline. For me, however, it’s still a shock because I get to New York only once or twice a year; the last time I was near the site was driving south down the west side, and passing the eerily-lit space and seeing sky where I was so used to seeing sheer vertical walls. I did get to the observation deck with Carol and Matt on November 27, 1999, and we took innocent pictures of one another that made it appear as the radio tower on the other building was coming out of the top of our heads. And in July 2001 I was in NY visiting family and, after lunch with Carol one day on the World Trade Center outdoor plaza, took the ferry over to New Jersey so I could surprise my friend Eugene at work. I remember looking at the receding skyline and thinking how beautiful the City was, and how fabulous the human race must be to be able to engineer such beautiful buildings and parks… I always have thought globally; I have a hard time remembering that the Earth is divided into countries defined by peaceful borders or barbed wire fences or mine fields, and I always wonder why mankind has to be shut out from enjoying the planet in its entirety– all because of the whims of very few madmen. I was thinking all that on the ferry to New Jersey, in my usual optimistic / utopian way, and then a couple of months later it had changed forever. People I know were on the ground and at the site and stuck in the subways, and it was like the ground underneath my feet had started moving– even 1500 miles away in Florida, I couldn’t stay away from the television set. More than anything , that day convinced me that there really is never going to be a utopia, at least not while a few madmen still control things… and it’s become even more unsettling that so many of them now seem to in charge of the United States.

Lingering thoughts.

– There is still an ache that I revisit. If you live within walking distance of the site as I do, or if you work downtown, it is impossible not to think about that day. Does it get better? Time is a good healer and other crap makes me angry.

– I still check to see that the Empire State Building is standing many times a day.

– I often look up in the sky when I think an airplane is flying too low.

– I am suspicious when I hear sirens that go on too long.

– I still have all of the stuff (magazines, newspapers and brochures) that I accumulated over that first year. The newspapers are yellowing. Perhaps there is no rush to do anything with them. They are all tucked away in a drawer. Maybe this is the year I will get rid of them.

– Carol is doing fine. She still works within spitting distance of the ‘pit’ and my hat goes off to her and her coworkers who go there every day. She and I still chat almost everyday and find many things to laugh about.

– Police Officer Matt is also doing just fine. He is now a member of the Emergency Services Unit and is a detective. He leaps tall buildings, climbs bridges and works that wacky jaws of life machine to save people.

– That 3 pound kitten that walked into the lobby (and into my life) of my East 22nd Street building on October 25, 2001 is still here and now weighs in at 17 pounds. I also adopted a quirky dog named Benny three years ago

– Rudy Giuliani is still profiting from that horrific day and manages to make my blood pressure go up whenever I see his face or hear his voice.

– The Democrats took the House and Senate two years and are still impotent and make me crazy.

The balance of this year is huge. We have picked our Presidential candidates and are already crazy from the onslaught of negative ads, lies and bullshit. I will work hard for the election of Obama/Biden.

Wouldn’t it also be nice if this next year we could actually catch Osama Bin Laden?

I leave you with Keith Olbermann’s special commentary delivered last night, September 10, 2008.

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Comments»

1. bonnieluria - September 11, 2008

I’m choosing to read only this blog entry for the entire day and nothing else.
You’ve condensed the essence of what the past 7 years have been, and to be sure, what they’ve now created in our country.

It’s a sad and terribly low day today, not just because of the memories, but for the hijacking of our own liberties and beliefs by the very people who should have been the protectors of them.

Thank you Judy for putting your smart heart and guts into this, so regularly and fearlessly for the past 7 years.

Your quoted submissions were very moving indeed.

2. September 11, 2008 - 7 years later « Carolking’s Weblog - September 11, 2008
3. Gloria - September 11, 2008

At some point in mid-Septebmber 2001 I created a Sept. 11 folder in my in-box when I realized your e-mails and a few others were too important to delete. Every once in a while I open the folder and just look at the long list of messages, the dates and subject line. I haven’t re-read them in a long time. Looking at the list is like looking at a wound that is healing. I’m afraid that opening those messages might be like picking open a scab and re-experiencing the grief and anger.

This morning I wasn’t feeling too much of anything. The anniversary seems less traumatic with each passing year. Then I got to work (I work at NYC’s local PBS station) and passed the memorial plaque dedicated to Rod Coppolo, our long-time broadcast enginner who died manning our new digital antenna that day. Someone had tucked a single red rose in the corner of hte plaque. That did it. A sob caught in my throat and had to duck into the nearest conference room to compose myself. Where the heck did that come from? Obviously the feelings are still closer to the surface than I let myself realize.
Thanks, Judy, for everything. I’m still saving those messages from East 22 St. I do plan to re-read them someday.

4. Carmen - September 11, 2008

Great stuff, all of it. Thanks to everyone and to Judy especially. I believe today is a day to remember and honor the victims of 9/11. I cried again thinking of the dead, their families and friends, and the rescue workers. I was overcome by rage and despair, all fresh, thinking of the terrorists. I go to sleep knowing that tomorrow I will wake up and agonize over another burning question: have we made progress towards understanding why this happened; have we done enough introspection; have our more enlightened thinkers conducted an appropriate historical analysis? I think we owe this to the people who died, as well as to ourselves. The attacks were inexcusable and the work of crazed criminal minds. How did we end up on their receiving end? And I mean this in the best possible way, is there anything we can learn? Are we soul-searching? Amid the agony and pain, are we honestly looking at our foreign policy, our trade policy, the power of corporations? Clearly not the Bush administration, whose actions have increased the chances of such a tragedy happening again. Thanks for listening, Go Obama, and Keep the Faith.

5. Eight Years Later « Lobo’s Rants - September 11, 2009

[…] For some more photos and last years post on this day go to this link. […]

6. Nine Years Later « Lobo's Rants - September 11, 2010

[…] Here is what I wrote about this day last year and the year before that. […]


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