Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Remembering 9/11


The Falling Man by Richard Drew, image via Wikipedia. You can read Tom Junod’s essay on this photo at Esquire.

On 9/11 I was at O’Hare airport, waiting to board a United Airlines flight to Denver. In fact, the plane was boarding, and right as I handed my boarding pass to the agent, I was told that there would be a delay in anyone else getting on the plane. Milling around the gate, I saw a group of people gathered around the CNN Airport monitor so I took a look at saw President Bush walking away from a podium. I asked someone what was up and they told me a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.

At this point the TV was shut off. I wandered around to various gates trying to find a monitor that was working, but every TV in the public areas of the airport was shut off. So I walked down to a bar, hoping they’d have their own TV, and sure enough there was CNN with the mind boggling pictures of the WTC engulfed in flames and smoke. I remember thinking to myself, “I can only see one tower. Where’s the other one?” I couldn’t believe a building like that could just be gone. A few minutes later the second tower collapsed live in front of me, and I could believe it then.

At this point I decided that I’d better get the heck out of the airport before the whole thing was put on lockdown and I wasn’t allowed to leave. So I went back to the garage and drove home to Evanston and spent the rest of the day like most Americans – glued to the TV set.

There’s not much I can add to what has already been said about this event, but on the one day of the year in which we generally allow ourselves to look back at the pictures and video of the reality of what happened on that day, I too will post a few photos as a reminder. Yes, these are graphic, but so was what happened then. I’ll only post handful. They are enough.

5 Comments

Cities: New York

5 Responses to “Remembering 9/11”

  1. DBR96A says:

    I hope the new skyscraper that’s being constructed in place of the World Trade Center has some missile silos built into it just in case somebody tries to pull this stunt again.

  2. DaveOf Richmond says:

    Long before 9/11 I thought that very tall office buildings should have cabinets containing parachutes in the upper floors of the building near the windows, in case a fire should break out (this was inspired by seeing “The Towering Inferno” as a kid). Is this an unreasonable idea? Wouldn’t those folks who jumped out of the WTC have been able to strap one on and parachute down, if they had been available?

  3. Ete rravan says:

    Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that we can not come to terms with the scientific impossibility of all three trade center towers falling from airplane impacts? It’s time there is an open discussion of this notion.

  4. Wad says:

    @Dave, I had wondered the same question myself after the 9-11 attacks, and I had seen expert opinions on TV and print explaining why it can’t and shouldn’t be done.

    The experts in this case were active or retired Army paratroopers and trainers. They all caution that parachuting is not as simple as pulling a cord to safety.

    The biggest problem is psychological, namely an understandable fear of falling fast from a very high place. This is why paratrooper training takes weeks, and a lot of it is to prepare the soldier mentally for the actual jump.

    You also cannot really find similar training for civilians. Even recreational skydiving is done around open, clear fields to mitigate hazards. In a built up urban environment like the World Trade Center, you’d have the problems of hundreds of people jumping at the same time, wind that would drift a jumper off course, and other buildings and ground hazards that would make a landing dangerous.

    Also, military experience stresses that even with training and expertise, the potential of equipment failure is very high. Even though soldiers can cycle through new chutes in the course of war or training, there’s always the risk of a component not working. A civilian parachute would likely just collect dust and not be cycled, and most users would not know how to do a safety check.

  5. Wad says:

    To quote The Miz, “Really, @DBR96A, Really? REALLY?”

    You lost your audience after missile silos.

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