Saturday, September 10, 2011

September the 11th

I'm not here to make a post on the conspiracy theories, or the numbers, or the heartwarming stories, or even make a semblance of a very good post at all. There are plenty of those flying around in the whirlwind of the past week or so, with the whole of the United States counting down to the tenth-year anniversary of the nightmare of 9-11. No, this is just me, an ignorant Malaysian girl, for me, taking time off from trials to remember this.

I was only seven, but ten years ago I can still remember being glued to the old television screen, watching the live broadcast that interrupted almost every channel on TV with my parents. I think we started watching the minute they had footage of the first plane crash or something. Yes, I can remember watching the whole thing, for all four coordinated attacks (so many forget that there were four coordinated attacks). It's not something you'd be likely to forget, as far away and irrelevant as it may have seemed to me that decade ago, and it was the only time in my life I ever saw footage of the 9-11 attacks. I remembered almost every thought that went through my head, too, and I'd like to take some time to record down here some of those things I think I should always remember.

Firstly, of course, the victims in the World Trade Centre. So many people, just trying to live through a gruelling day of work, that didn't live through it, and not because of the piling amount of paperwork or their sniping bosses. The ones who died instantly, and the ones who didn't, some of the latter choosing to end their lives by jumping off goodness knows how many stories instead. I think watching that - those people, jumping off to their deaths to avoid another death - was what chilled me the most when I was seven. I asked my mother why they would do such a thing, and my mother told me it was because they had no way out either way. I kept on thinking how bad it must have been for them to have done that. And I distinctly remember wondering, how would I have chosen if I were in their shoes? It was horrible, really, the whole picture of it. The ashes, of course. But another thing I remember was the papers. Papers, papers, so many, flying everywhere, in the air, on the ground, just everywhere. I also found it slightly worse somehow that the buildings didn't collapse straight away - I don't know how, but it just feels worse.

The passengers in the two planes that hit WTC. I'd wondered whether they knew if they were flying to their death. I think the fact was that they didn't. But they knew that they'd been hijacked, and I'm sure some of them must have seen their aircraft flying towards the city and those two buildings. It's no wonder it so deeply rooted a phobia of flying in so many people in the aftermath. Because all these people wanted to do was fly home, or to a family holiday, or finish a business trip, and in the end they get hijacked by terrorists and used as a tool to kill some thousands of other people.

The emergency responders who lost their lives in the rescue attempts. Oh my God, my heart goes out to these true heroes who went in and tried to save lives and had to give up their own in the process. Taken from Wikipedia: The New York City Fire Department lost 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics. NYPD lost 23 officers. Port Authority Police Department, 37. Eight EMTs and paramedics from private hospitals were also killed. Because they went in. I don't know how they did it, but they went in. It was insane of them, but they did it anyway, to try for the long shot, to - I don't know. I'm at a loss of words to describe what these people did - woke up to a nightmare in their very own city and walked straight into it. They made a tribute film some years ago, World Trade Center, I think, and I went to the cinema and watched it and I cried throughout the whole thing.

I don't know much about the Pentagon attack, for some reason, but just because the death toll wasn't as high, it doesn't mean it was any less sickening than the deaths of those in WTC, of course. But what really touched me was the passengers of flight 93. "The Flight That Fought Back". They say this plane was meant for the White House, I think, but it never made it there. The hijacked passengers, after receiving calls from family members about the other hijacked planes and where they ended up, decided to revolt. They all stood up and revolted, and clearly would have won, too, because the hijackers gave up their mission as a lost cause and crashed the plane in a field. The passengers doing that, caused them their lives, yes, but saved what could have been a potential of so many others, and nothing can be said about the bravery of what they did.

And the families. The families who woke up to hear that planes - planes were crashing into WTC, and the very next thought that flashes through their mind is that my wife, my brother, my sister, my loved one, he or she works there. Do you know how many remains of the victims were never found, not at all? The families of the passengers, those who were called by the victims on the flight, to say their last, tearful goodbyes, and those who never got to even hear their voices. The families of those emergency responders who must have been so, so angry at them for going into a deathtrap, no matter how proud they felt. The scars of these families are what is still being felt today.

I need to go now, but I'm happy with what I wrote here, because I don't pretend to know much about anything, but I've gotten it all out, and so there. There's not much you can say to wrap up such a sad post, so I'm not going to try. Thank you for reading.

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