Well, it's been more than 12 hours now since terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon and another headed for San Francisco crashed outside of Pittsburgh. There have been many things that have struck me today.
I was sickened, am sickened, by the sound of the possible death toll. Thousands, they say. Two hundred and sixty six people on the planes. They're speculating 100-800 killed in the Pentagon. They're saying maybe 300 firefighters and 30 policemen missing, no one knows how many were in the towers when they were hit...
I still can't believe my eyes when I see the view of New York City without those towers. It's like a computer altered picture. Surely they're still there, someone just Photoshopped them out...
I'm amazed and angry that the entire country managed to be stopped in its tracks by terrorists. In addition to causing the understandable mayhem in NYC and D.C., every airport in this country and Canada was closed, no planes took off, very few landed. Most of if not every public school in the country was closed. All federal buildings were closed. City buildings were closed. Our city hall was closed. UCSF had the physical therapy office I work in cancel all of our patients. There were traffic jams caused by all the people trying to leave SF this morning. Malls were closed. Disneyland was closed. The Emmys were cancelled. Madonna cancelled a concert. From large to small events, the terrorists managed to stop them all.
I was disgusted by the rejoicing in some other countries when they heard about the attack. That people could be dancing in the streets, tooting their horns, handing out potluck treats as if it was a church picnic, when so many innocents have died, is just unthinkable to me. I'm pleased, however, by so many countries' outpouring of emotion over this event. I was especially struck by Tony Blair's statement: "This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism, but between the free and democratic world and terrorism." For god's sake, even Muammar Gaddafi called them "horrific attacks."
I'm impressed by the level of sympathy, outrage, and positive actions from everyone in the country. People flooded blood banks all over the country, people are packing churches for vigils for the victims and their families, a man talking about throwing a woman under a truck in NYC as a tower began to collapse to protect her, the Secretary of Defense who was in the Pentagon when it was hit and who must be nearly 70 pulling people out of the rubble of the Pentagon in the minutes after the attack. All things that prick those patriotic hairs on the back of my neck.
I was stunned by the level of shock and emotion I felt during the events of the day. I was in tears this morning thinking of all the deaths and the families of the victims of this attack. I was glued to the TV and the radio and the computer all day long, probably only a total of an hour all day spent without any connection to this news story. During much of the day at work I had an earphone in one ear and the telephone on the other. I guess I was surprised by myself because I'm so used to scenes of violence in movies and TV, not to mention how many times I've seen New York blow up in movies the last few years (Independence Day, Godzilla). But to see that plane fly into a tower, to see those towers crumble, to see New York engulfed in dust and smoke, to see and hear New Yorkers in tears and screaming, to hear the reported words of plane passengers crying that they'd been hijacked, to hear the sobbing reports of onlookers who saw people jumping out of the towers as they collapsed...it was all just too terrible and too real to be cynical or blasť about it.
And I was awestruck by the pictures. Here are a few that I thought were especially striking. Most from Reuters.
Another blogger's friend took this time lapse picture of the towers. It's pretty amazing. Towers
Everyone I know knows someone who knows someone... I thank my lucky stars that no one I love was killed or hurt by this. I hope everyone out there like me is thanking stars, god, fate, or whatever they choose to thank, as well. It's a different world as I say goodnight tonight than it was yesterday. Goodnight.