I suppose I shouldn't question anyone's method of grieving/coping/memorializing, but I'm not a big fan of memes in general or 9/11 memes specifically. They bring an unwarranted triteness to an occasion which ought to remain solemn. I wish instead of seeing so many retweeted and FB shared pictures of the New York skyline - pretty or striking though they may be - we would see more personal reminiscences. This is a day for remembering, and, let's be honest, we all have a memory of that day. But in any case, to try to put my money where my mouth is, here is my memory of September 11.
I started my sophomore year of college already with a vague idea that my German professor was a bit off his nut. We didn't so much learn German as we did a highly specialized argot useful only in describing the obscure peccadiloes of certain German sub-cultures that only he was interested in. One Tuesday morning I rolled out of bed a few minutes before class as I typically did, swung by Cygnets ...which was the short-order stand for our meal plan, and got a bite to eat for breakfast, which was really the only benefit of having a morning class. (I usually just slept through breakfast hours.) Knowing the professor's oddities as I did, I wasn't really surprised when he started jabbering something weird about a plane crash in the middle of a class ostensibly about modern German short literature. After class I asked someone - it may even have been my room-mate Josh - what the man had been going on about.
"Oh, yeah, that happened. A plane crashed into the World Trade Center. They're not sure if it was an accident or what."
It was all very surreal and it certainly sounded crazy, but then I stepped out into the Quad. (Yes, we called it "the Quad.") There was nary a hacky-sack or frisbee to be seen, and the usual hippie-dippie energy had been replaced with an almost electric combination of nerves and confusion.
"What's going on?" I yelled out to an acquaintance.
I wasn't surprised he was on the Quad. He was your consummate '60s flower child, ripped out of time and plopped down in the new millennium. I don't think I'd ever seen him in a state that couldn't have been called Lebowski-style relaxed. That's what made it so unnerving when he said,
"What's going on? We're at war, man. We're under attack."
When I finally got to a TV, I dropped to my knees like Darth Vader yelling, "No!" It was like my legs could no longer support me. And all in that instant I understood what my parents meant when they said they would always remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, just like my grandaparents had always remembered where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and that it would happen to my generation, too.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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