11 September, 2006

Remembering from China

I'm sure the blogs are buzzing with recounts and stories and thoughts from and about 9/11. Being on the other side of the world remembering it is a bit awkward. I don't see all of the coverage on TV, or my friends or colleagues talking about. Surprisingly, no one here (Chinese, American or other) has even mentioned it yet today.

I've read many articles the last few days asking where the old America is ... the America that came together in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months after 9/11. No one should expect that to last forever. People move on, but they don't forget.

So, I'll recount my story...

I was in Buffalo, NY for the weekend, flew home on September 7. We were celebrating the 21st birthdays of a couple friends of mine. So, needless to say, it was going to be "one of those weekends." We had an awesome weekend, beer was involved and so was trouble (too be expected with a bunch of 21 year olds).

My friends Ryan and I (we were roommates at the time in Raleigh), flew back to Raleigh on Monday, September 10, through DC. Hung over, ready to get back into our routines, just another travel day, no big deal.

The next day, Tuesday, September 11, I began my usual routine (though, I was a bit late that morning, you know, due to the weekend). So, I was in the living room ironing my clothes, with the Today Show on, as it was every other morning.

"Breaking News" ... plane hits World Trade Center. The reports coming in were that it was a small plane, maybe a 4 seater. Some people were calling in saying they thought it was a commercial airliner, everyone figured it was an accident. Soon after, watching on live TV, the second plane hits. This is no accident. I was in shock, thinking this couldn't be real. It was on TV, a movie or something. I couldn't just sit there anymore, I had to turn off the TV, so I drove into the office.

Not much working going on... people in the halls, talking, on the internet, watching the TVs. I didn't last long in the office, I had to go back home and watch on TV.

I remember my girlfriend (at the time), calling me. She was hysterical. Her grandmother had been in New York on a trip. I believe she was staying at a hotel very close to the WTC. They couldn't get a hold of her, so of course, the worst is expected. She was OK though, managed to get out of the city & was safe. There are countless other stories like this, only many did not have a good outcome.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to experience this tragic event in the city, in person. Nor could I imagine what it must have felt like, and still feel like, to know someone who died...be it in NY, DC or PA.

My brother joined the Marines shortly after 9/11 (boot camp in March 2002). I actually never asked him why he joined, not sure if 9/11 actually had anything to do with it. There are plenty who did enlist due to 9/11 & thanks to everyone who did, still active, and those who will in the future.

So, how is 9/11 perceived or remembered in China? I don't know.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! 9/11 ha been all over the news today, you can actually watch it unfold as it did on cnn.com. In case you want to share it with anyone in China. It would be interesting to hear what they think of what happened....

Leah

Jim Leonard said...

Mike -

I remember being in my manager's office and she told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I thought it was like in WWII when a bomber ran into the Empire State Building. I went back to my office and then, after listening on the Internet, I went outside into the hall way to see another plane hit the other tower. I spent the day glued to the TV. No one was doing any work. We were in shock.

I remember wrting an email to a friend in IIPC about how angry I felt. She understood and shared America's shock.

Today we had a moment of silence at 8:46 AM.

Over the weekend there were many television shows covering various perspectives on 9/11.

A lot to think about. Remembering the event, the people, the changes. Not sure about what America has become or what it might become. Wondering.

Jim