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Reality Dawned September 11, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in People.

I worked from home on 9/11 in 2001,  feeling a bit under the weather.  On-screen chatter from the living room TV faded to white noise as I typed.

Abruptly, the background chatter surfaced, commanding my attention.

Wikipedia ~ World Trade Centers (in Public Domain)

I stopped typing.
I walked down the hall.
I stared at the TV.

The Twin Towers collapsed.
My mind raced to explain the image.

What’s going on? 
A preview for a new disaster movie? 
It can’t be real.
It’s not real.  

Wikipedia ~ Statue of Liberty (in Public Domain)

The Twin Towers came down again.
And again.
And again.

Time moved forward.

Reality dawned.

The Pentagon billowed smoke from its walls and roof.

Panicked people streamed from buildings in terror and tears.

A captive passenger on a hijacked plane uttered his last words . . . “I love you.”

Reality dawned . . .

I hugged BFF.
Safe at home.

Just slightly under the weather.

United we stand.

Do you recall the events of September 11th with extreme clarity?  As you watched the surreal images, how long before reality dawned?

Related posts:  11.9.11 (Tilly) * I Am Changed (JannaTWrites) * Fly The Flag Today (Brain Rants) * Never Forget (Write Up My Life) * 911 Our Common Thread (Jeanne’s Blog) * And Who Are We Now? (Paula) * Transmigration (Judith) * On 9/11 (James McShane) * A Special Gratitude Sunday (Julie) * 9/11 (Reflections From A Friend)


1. brainrants - September 11, 2011

Unfortunately, it IS real. Good post… Good post.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

Thanks for all you do to keep us safe.

2. misswhiplash - September 11, 2011

Yes gone but not forgotten

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

BFF watched the memorial services in PA, DC, and NY ~ I watched selected portions.

I wonder if we could learn to get along if we ALL woke up with amnesia tomorrow?

If we erased the past and started with a clean slate
Would we collaborate and cooperate?

3. 911 Our Common Thread | jeanne's blog…a nola girl at heart - September 11, 2011

[…] Reality Dawned (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

4. jannatwrites - September 11, 2011

I couldn’t believe it even after I saw the images that evening. (I was at work and only had access to the radio.) It took a few days to finally accept it was real, even though I may never understand why it had to be.

Last night, I finally watched Flight 93 (the movie about the flight that went down in Pennsylvania.) Those people showed such courage in banding together to prevent loss of even more lives.

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

I’ve never seen Flight 93, but its passengers did show tremendous courage in the face of adversity.

5. SidevieW - September 11, 2011

I was in China so only saw the news the next day, just before we left for the airport. As you say it looked like a movie trailer, just seemed impossible

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

Oh, wow! I would not have wanted to be heading for the airport immediately after seeing the news reports.

6. kateshrewsday - September 11, 2011

I had Maddie at home as a little toddler, less than a year old. Denial set in and I kept asking, “Are there still people inside the building?” Sometimes our minds can’t encompass what’s happening.

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

Yes, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. And when I did, I kept hoping for a Hollywood ending to the disaster ~ a surprise twist to the plot allowing everyone to get out safely, etc.

7. SuziCate - September 11, 2011

I remember clearly…It was like a bad dream as it didn’t seem possible.

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

Growing up only an hour from NYC, I knew lots of people who worked in the city. I spent hours calling friends to see if they (and their families) were OK.

Such a dark day on the planet.

8. Team Oyeniyi - September 11, 2011

Despite being half a world away, I do remember it with clarity. I was living in New Zealand at the time – it was the day I decided to come home to Australia.

Like you, I thought it couldn’t be real initially either. My first thought was “It isn’t April Fools Day” then I thought of the radio show that had people in a panic many years ago, then I realised, yes, it was real.

Not a good day for the world, which Amelia highlights in http://eslmarriage.com/2011/09/11/a-small-reflection-on-september-11-2001/

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

Yes! Orwell’s War of the World crossed my mind as well. Thanks for the link to Amelia’s post.

9. Julie - September 11, 2011

Beautiful post. Even through blogging, we all show we are united in our thoughts, emotions and hopes for the future.

nrhatch - September 11, 2011

The world is far too small for us to continue fussing and fighting with one another.

Let’s hope that lasting peace is on the horizon.

10. ElizOF - September 12, 2011

It was surreal, disturbing and then some… The memories will never fade. TY! 🙂

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

BFF watched the memorial services in PA, DC, and NY ~ I watched selected portions. I wonder if we could learn to get along if we ALL woke up with amnesia tomorrow?

If we erased the past and started with a clean slate, would we collaborate and cooperate?

11. spilledinkguy - September 12, 2011

I don’t know if the reality of that awful day has ever truly ‘sunk in’ for me… it just seems too awful for my mind to accept… even a decade later. I don’t know that I will ever really get over it.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

When we watch horror films, we have a visceral reaction . . . believing the scenes in them to be real.

When we watched “reality tv” on 9/11, we shrank back in horror . . . refusing to believe the images on the screen.

12. adeeyoyo - September 12, 2011

I had taken time off work to visit an orthopod and was on my way back when I switched on the car radio. I could not believe what I was hearing and rushed home to switch on the TV. Watching and listening to events on TV, I experienced everything as though being in a dream – it could not possibly be real. I remembered I had had the same feeling when watching the war in the middle east live! 9/11 was and will always be the worst thing I have ever seen! The poor, poor relations of the dead, my heart still goes out to them…

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

I remember watching the bombing of Bagdad ~ it reminded me of an action film. I had to consciously remind myself that the action involved real bombs, real bullets, and real blood.

So sad that we have still not learned to get along and live in peace. For all our intelligence, we are incredibly stupid.

13. Tilly Bud - September 12, 2011

Like it was yesterday.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

I don’t remember 9/10 or 9/12 with nearly the same level of recall. Our perspective of certain events is locked away in our memory vaults while other days drift away like clouds.

14. LittleMissVix - September 12, 2011

Like you I was at home and watched the second plane hit. It was like slow motion, like a film, couldn’t believe it was happening, so surreal. I’ll never forget that day.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

I remember thinking ~ the World Trade Center . . . the Pentagon . . . what’s next???

15. SammyDee - September 12, 2011

I remember exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was doing for the whole day. I vividly remember the days that followed too.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

I’m glad that I was home . . . it gave me a chance to process the information BEFORE hearing the unfiltered outbursts and outrage of co-workers and friends.

16. granny1947 - September 12, 2011

So well put NR…I could feel your pain.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

It definitely brought it “all home” for me . . . it is long past time for us to learn how to get along with each other and care for this precious planet.

17. earlybird - September 12, 2011

I was in a big electrical store in a nearby town and in a hurry to get back (3/4 hour’s drive away) to pick up my son from school. The side wall was a bank of televisions and they all appeared to be showing yet another run of ‘Towering Inferno’ and a family of American tourists were standing in front of them gasping. I pushed past, wishing people would be more aware of those who had better things to do than watch re-runs of old films in the middle of the afternoon… it wasn’t til I got to my car and turned on the radio that I understood.

I apologised to that family in my mind.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

I understand your perception ~ the scenes mirrored Hollywood (Towering Inferno, War of the Worlds, Independence Day, etc.).

I haven’t enjoyed watching that type of movie since . . . there is enough horror in the real world for me.

18. Maggie - September 12, 2011

I felt pretty much the same way. It took me a while to realize that it was real and that it was actually happening. I honestly thought it was some kind of joke, or as you said, a movie trailer.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

A surreal reality . . . for real.

19. ceceliafutch - September 12, 2011

It was a rough day. Rough memory. So much senseless loss. I want to blog about it, but this year. . . 10 years and the feelings can still be raw at times.

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

Sometimes we process best by sharing . . . other times by keeping mum. Listen to your heart.

20. Alannah Murphy - September 12, 2011

I was at work, and someone said something about the news. So we all went into a meeting room that had a TV and we watched the news and saw the towers collapse live.

These were all English people, and they were shocked, mouths hanging open etc, but I was the only one who stood there crying hysterically as I watched the towers collapse. I’d spent 18 years in America (have dual citizenship) and grew up there from the time I was 14. All I could think of, was that image from Dino De Laurentis’s King Kong, when he sees the twin towers, and for some reason, that brought it home to me, that the towers were gone and since then, I cannot watch any footage related to it and don’t think I will ever be able to either.

I think I was also crying, because it was that one moment, where America lost its innocence, something this poor battered country lost a long time ago, particularly when London was almost bombed flat during The Blitz and sadly, it has experienced many horrors before and after.

I remember thinking perhaps, the end of the world was coming, not in the biblical sense but that we’d have War World III and we would all die…I’m glad we are all still here 🙂

nrhatch - September 12, 2011

Good point. Americans have fought in many wars . . . but since the Civil War, they’ve been fought on foreign soil (except Pearl Harbor).

It brings it home when it occurs at home . . . especially from a largely “invisible” enemy.

Alannah Murphy - September 13, 2011

I was gonna mention Pearl Harbor, but even that attack happened far off the mainland of America, since it was in Hawaiian territory, so as awful as it was, it didn’t hit home like 9/11 did.

nrhatch - September 13, 2011

Plus Pearl Harbor happened before we entered the world.

That time and space differential between there & then and here & now make it less “relevant” to life as we know it.

21. Paula Tohline Calhoun - September 13, 2011

There is a wonderful story that was told to Ashley about how a small community in France wrapped their arms around us here in the US, and gave their love and sympathy. This sort of thing happened in many places around the world, and I will try to get my Hubs to tell the story on my blog. I also want to post some pictures of the beautiful altar setting he designed and created for last Sunday. So, that story will come later, but it does remind me of one that happened on a similar pivotal day in US history – the assassination of JFK. Most of us old enough to remember that day, will never forget it – in the same way as most of us will never forget the events of 9/11 – where we were, how we felt, what we thought, etc.

When JFK was murdered, my father was in Italy on one of his twice-monthly business trips. He was sitting in a small café in Naples, having dinner. My Dad spoke some Italian – he was never fluent, but he understood a great deal more than he spoke – he heard a radio report that was playing at the café, and although he didn’t understand all of it, he knew that something monumental had happened back at “home.” There were a few of his Italian colleagues with him, and other patrons there knew that he was American. Daddy said that as a unit, they all turned in his direction and spoke or whispered their prayers and offered sincere sympathy to my Dad. There was no apathy, or “That doesn’t have anything to do with us” feelings shared with him or that he witnessed in Italy for the remainder of his stay (a couple more days). He was overwhelmed with their kindness.

Judging from the multitude of responses that I have received from many different parts of the world, as well as my own community, I am heartened by the knowledge that the majority of our world (I believe) abhor what happened. There is a way to keep it from ever happening again, but until our collective “I’s” become “We’s” that solution will be beyond us. But it is there. Knowing that, for now, will have to be enough. . .

nrhatch - September 13, 2011

Agreed. Maybe with a bit more collective amnesia, we would learn to live together in peace and harmony.

The past is past . . . it’s just water over the dam. It’s what we make of today that matters.

22. Booksphotographsandartwork - September 13, 2011

It is still so difficult to believe. It’s as if it was too big. Too much. There isn’t room in my brain to put all of that horror. To imagine what those people went through. I keep trying to imagine standing in an office and seeing the plane coming through the window. That’s the image that I can’t get past. I need to see that as an animation for some strange reason. What exactly happened. There is so much of it that I just can’t fathom.

nrhatch - September 13, 2011

I’m not sure that I want to see CG graphics of what they went through . . .

Due to our mirror neurons, our minds don’t differentiate between what we experience directly and what we experience through putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Watch the videos in this post on the Brain & Mirror Neurons to see what I mean:


The scenario of seeing a plane heading straight for me is not something I want to experience . . . even vicariously.

23. 2e0mca - September 13, 2011

I remember it well – sadly. All the bombings and attrocities we have endured over here from other militant groups paled into insignificance against the scale of this act.

I work from home and I just wandered down from my office, turned on the TV and saw a view of an arcraft colliding with a skyscraper. The BBC announcer said something along the lines of “It has been reported that a light aircraft has crashed into the World Trade Centre”. My immediate reaction was – ‘That’s not a light aircraft- that’s a Boeing’.

No one should forget this or any other act of terrorism, war or barbarity. We should strive for peace, reconciliation and understanding between all people of the world. Remembrance is something that should drive us towards those goals.

Sorry, enough from me… Good post

nrhatch - September 13, 2011

Thanks, Martin. The world is far too small for us to continue fussing and fighting with one another.

Let’s hope that lasting peace is on the horizon.

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