It's kind of late in the day for a remembrance of 9/11, but I just sat down to think about what I was doing that day, as is inevitable on a day of shared sorrow.
I was in a training class in Rhode Island. My friend and co-worker Lorraine and I were in a darkened room, watching the trainer walk through the very basics of Oracle DB when another trainer interrupted to tell us that planes had flown into the WTC. Needless to say, I know shit about Oracle DB.
At the time, I worked for a cable company, so the rooms were all wired for cable. We turned on the TV and watched the footage on a 6 foot projection screen. I'm sure I can't remember what I thought at first, but I called my mother, who used to work on Wall Street and has 3 siblings who live and/or work in Manhattan, to see if everyone was okay. She said it was impossible to get through, but she felt in her heart that they were all okay (and her heart was right, everyone was far removed from downtown Manhattan at the time.)
I remember hearing that the planes came out of Boston, and that police were after some people in Providence. There was a lot of confusion, and I think people were worried that the WTC and the Pentagon were just the first of many attacks.
Lorraine and I went outside. It was surreal, to look up into that sky and to try to fathom what was happening in New York.
On the way home, Lorraine and I listened to the radio, and we heard the names of people who had died on the flights. And we both cried.
And then I cried some more, because if ever a president was not up to the challenge, it was George W. Bush. I felt sick inside about the deaths of that day, and I felt a creeping nausea about what was going to happen next.
And I remembered hearing that James Baker, Bush family fixer, had once said "fuck the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway."
And I wondered - oh, so cynical, I know - but I wondered: did someone in the Bush administration say the same thing about New Yorkers?
And I wondered - distressingly cynical, I know - but I wondered anyway: did the Bush administration *let* this happen?
I hate thinking that way. I don't like conspiracy theories. But that thought comes into my head every now and again. Maybe I'm just a die-hard cynic. Or maybe it's true. Maybe not as sinister as I imagined - dark-hearted men in suits sitting around a boardroom table, discussing in whispers how a terrorist event could be just what Bush needed to turn his ratings around. Maybe it was just as simple as neglecting the truth in favor of what they wanted to hear. The end result is the same.