Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11 Nine Years On

At the moment, I have nothing to add to what I said on the 7th anniversary of 9-11


  1. And well said it was too, thanks Jim.

  2. Very well said, since I have not read it before, I could not yet have wandered into Stonekettle Station for the first time.

    I was in Tampa at an Advanced Television Standards Committee meeting, a windowless room but with one of those new wireless Internet connections. One of us had a laptop with the right wireless system, and rather than playing FreeCell or Civilization as the rest of us, he was wandering the Internet.

    He announced a plane had hit the WTC tower. OK, we were broadcasters, all of us knew that a WW II Bomber had hit the Empire State Building (I think a B-25, but half the internet says B-29). It is still standing.

    Then the second plane hit and the meeting adjourned to a TV set, you find a lot of those in a building with Nielsen the TV ratings company.

    I worked on Manhattan, my wife worked on Manhattan and our son had just started working for the city. His emergency job, which he had just received, was gofer jg at the Emergency Command Post, which was no longer.

    Of course I couldn't get through to anybody I wanted to, although my ex got through to me, Denver to Tampa not being a high priority that day. I of course knew nothing.

    I went and checked back into my hotel and finally got through to my wife, who was standing on the sidewalk of 5th Av at 40th, her building having been evacuated by the police. Our son had gotten through to her, he was OK although he had been under the second tower when it was hit, was briefly trapped - he was with the mayor at the time and had been sent to the emergency Emergency Command Center, the city having seized the West Side Passenger Terminals, three huge empty piers.

    Since he was now Director of Communications and Logistics for the Command Center, he discovered he could tell the phone company to put him through, then went back to turning multiple empty football fields into offices.

    Me, I did what any self respecting broadcaster would do in the situation. Went to the hotel restaurant and ran up a bill, went to my room and slept.

    Two days later I drove past the still smoking gap on the lower skyline of Manhattan.

    Remember if the Port Authority had built those towers as well as Col. Groves built the Pentagon, they probably would have stood. The towers didn't meet NYC Building Code, because as a super-state agency they didn't have to. The only reason they had sprinklers is because the NYFD said they wouldn't enter the building without them, and the insurance companies put their foot down.

  3. It was well said. But I'm also glad you have nothing to add.

    At the risk of sounding callous, I'm not going to commemorate this date every year. It was a terrible tragedy, one that was exacerbated by a President who used the tragedy as an excuse to further an unrelated agenda, a tragedy that continues to be exacerbated by a President who cannot or, in some cases, frankly, will not undo the damage done by his predecessor.

    That is not to say that we don't bring the criminals responsible for what happened to justice. You don't forget to do that. But we do not memorialize every single national tragedy: we do not drop everything every April 4, April 14, or November 22. There are some who were wounded on September 11, 2001, not because a loved one was murdered but because they foolishly believed that we are somehow special, somehow invulnerable, that terrorism and mass murder were things that happen to foreigners; to that extent, then, I'm sorry, but the kind of "memorializing" done by idiotistas like Palin and Beck on this day isn't so much a tribute to the people who died as it is a brow-furrowing over the stupidity and naiveté that entered a kind of zombie state that day: some people believe that if we thump our chests and shoot enough foreigners and wave our flag furiously enough, America will regain the invulnerability we never had to start with.

    Well, fuck. I've said more than I meant to, and I was praising you for being willing to say so little. I guess that makes me an idiot.

    Anyway, thank you again, Jim.


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