The following is my unabridged, uncensored journal entry from September 11, 2001.
Today will always be known as a black day in American history. I know that I will never forget it.
It began ordinarily enough. I had awakened at four thirty to pee, and found that I'd started my period. I went back to bed and woke up around 7. [Tit Elingtin] wanted to go for a walk, but I was feeling too lazy. Then we started fooling around, and he got up to take a shower. While he was in the shower, I was thinking about what I'd read of Susie Bright last night. I was thinking of making a list of some of the sex scenes I've read in books.
I turned on NBC, as usual.
But the news was not usual, not at all.
It started with a picture of a plane crash. They - the Today show anchors, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer - reported that a small private plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. Sad, I thought. Weird. I remarked jokingly, "At least we know it wasn't Aaliyah this time." An accident, it seemed.
That impression was shattered a moment later. I heard terror in the reporter's voice as there was a second impact. A second plane had hit the World Trade Center, striking the other tower. This was a deliberate act, a suicide mission. Later in the morning, both towers of the World Trader Center would collapse onto the streets of New York City, crushing rescue workers who went in after the first victims.
Soon we would learn that both planes were commercial airliners, full of passengers. They had been hijacked. And that was not the end of the terror.
Two more planes had been hijacked. Within the hour, one crashed directly into the south side of the Pentagon, killing perhaps hundreds of office workers as well as the plane's passengers. The fourth place was perhaps headed for the White House, but ended up crashing into a field in Pennsylvania. I heard that perhaps the military was forced to shoot it down. After the second plane hit, all commercial and private planes were grounded. Every airport in the country was closed, and only the military was allowed to be in the air.
No one knows yet how many died today. Many hundreds were wounded; New York's hospitals were so full they were using cafeterias as emergency rooms. Worse, no one has claimed responsibility for the horrible actions. Unlike after Pearl Harbor, we don't have anyone to declare war against.
The chief suspect, though, is Osama bin Laden, a known terrorist who is supported by the government of Afghanistan. He is thought responsible for the horrible bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the destruction of the U.S.S. Cole.
[Tit Elingtin] and I sat, stunned, watching the news coverage. But we also managed to keep our 9:20 appointment to take Kitty to the vet. She had to get a checkup, some blood work to check for diseases, and a round of yearly vaccinations. She also had to have one of her anal glands cleaned out because it was blocked.
On our way home, we listened to the awful news as well as Kitty's meows. We were hungry, so we went to McDonald's. As we left Mickey D's, we saw Mikel [a friend] walking along, so we offered him a ride. He was worried about his uncle, who works in an office building near the now-destroyed World Trade Center.
We went home and ate. I had a fruit and yogurt parfait. I was really hungry, and it was pretty good: vanilla yogurt, crunchy granola with a hint of cinnamon, blueberries and delicious strawberries. I felt guilty to be enjoying it while so much horror was happening on the East Coast.
I went to work at 11:30, but I didn't stay as long as usual. The schools let out a little bit early, and most of our 3-5 and 3-7 kids got bussed home instead of bussed to [the mental health facility where I worked]. A few showed up, either because their parents weren't home or because of a miscommunication between school and bus driver. But we all went home at 5 instead of staying until 7 or 8.
When I got home, [Tit] was home too, watching news coverage. We decided we wanted to tape some of it, so we went to Osco to buy videotape and some mothballs. Our apartment was all infested with moths, and not the pretty moths that look like butterflies, either. We walked home from Osco and spent the rest of the night camped in front of TV, hearing about hijacking, plane crashes and fallen skyscrapers. We heard the agonizing news that New York City believed it lost over 200 firefighters and police officers. It was a truly sad, frightening, horrific day.
Image attribution: World Trade Center in March 2001 photo by Jeffmock, Creative Commons license. I took the other photo, of the actual notebook from which I took this entry.