My thoughts on 9/11 and where we are now.
I was really surprised. I thought I’d done a 9/11 post, but apparently I haven’t. So here it is. No crash cuts. No pics to upset you. Just my thoughts.
Below is my ‘script’ that I used. Some of it is the same. Some isn’t. If you like the video, please go like and comment over on Youtube! 🙂
So as many of you know, I’m a Canadian. Here it is. Roof. Chesterfield. Canuck. No doubt about it. Are you happy now?
But today I ‘m going to talk about what is nominally an American thing, but in reality is an all of us thing. As it’s September 10th, you might have guessed that I’m going to talk about Sept. 11. Were you expecting a happy video? HA! I’m still working on the 30 years war vid. All fun all the time.
Whenever I see a movie from before 9/11 with the twin towers in view, it actually makes me hurt. That day was so graphic and horrific. 15 years later and it still hurts. I am still angry. I want to go back to the innocence we had in the 90s. Do you remember how awesome the 90’s were? The Berlin Wall fell. Yeltsin was dancing on a stage with a band and a couple of Russian Gogo dancers. Did Monica Lewinsky really keep a dress with— um… yeah. Nothing had to have a moral or a message… and the only people who were offended were the Christian Right. Those were some good times.
What were you doing when the planes hit the towers?
I was laying in bed in my apartment at Davie and Cardero in Vancouver- I worked at Bard on the Beach- It was pretty early in the morning on the west coast and I was surprised when my mother phoned me and told me to turn on the TV. Theatre being theatre, I never got home before midnight, so everyone was on a ‘don’t phone before 10’ rule. Clearly whatever the Madre wanted was important. I grabbed my laptop, and when I couldn’t log into yahoo, I had the sickest feeling. I got to the TV on just as the second plane hit the tower. I kept thinking, this is a movie. This is some new version of ‘War of the Worlds.’ I was glued until I had to go to work. In the end, after a cast and crew meeting, we went on with the show, with a prologue about the disaster and how it was the duty of the theatre to lighten hearts in time of tragedy.
And here we are, 15 years later. Are we in a post 9/11 world? I don’t know. What I do know is that the world is a lot less fun than it used to be. Remember when they took kids up to see the cockpit of a plane? Or on short commuter flights, they just left the door open so you could see all the cool stuff the pilots did? Or when you could leave your shoes on to go through airport security? And there was none of this taking your laptop out of your bag and putting it in a tray, before shucking the rest of your clothing before security.
You know what I’m talking about. Don’t even get me started on liquids on planes. Just don’t even go there. Or… when I was at the end of a little gad about Italy, travelling only with a carryon backpack and the thieving security guards took away my corkscrew. It was like losing my best friend. That corkscrew and I had been places. It was a peaceful corkscrew and not a dangerous weapon. They just wanted it.
But 9/11 is a funny day. Every year Facebook is deluged with the pics of the planes hitting the towers. The towers smoking. The towers falling. The people jumping. God. I can never forget those people falling. Seemingly forever. Some flailing. Some still. Nope. I’m not going to show you any of those pictures. Why? It makes me so sick to look at them.
Of course, it’s not the first time I’ve seen them, but I still have a deeply visceral reaction to them. I, and many of my peeps travel frequently, so the thought of a weaponised aircraft is about as horrible a thing as I can contemplate. Seeing them stirs that pot of sludge deep in my soul and brings up all the old, angry feelings. As some of you may know- I’m pretty good for angry feelings, so these are the extra sticky, really dark, devil on my shoulder feelings. Feelings better left down at the bottom of my psyche.
It makes me think of December 7, 1941. Quoth Roosevelt, a day which will live in infamy. I wonder if the world war 2 generation ever got sick of seeing pictures of the Arizona sinking? How long did it take for them to say… Meh. It just doesn’t hurt any more. I’m not scared anymore. I’m not shocked anymore. I’m not affected anymore. It’s just a picture. It’s just history.
I was 25 when the planes hit the towers. World on a string, sitting on a rainbow. I remember feeling that titanic lurch of the world changing. It’s the second time I’ve felt it in my life. First time, the Berlin wall falling- but that was joy. The spectre of communist invasion was melting away- and melt it did. Soon the president of Russia was dancing on a stage with a couple of go go girls. Sanity had prevailed. We we were all one, happy world- except for the middle east and the balkans, but you know. Meh. Were we really worried about that? Nah.
No. 911 was a whole different lurch. Like driving forward at a happy clip and then slamming into reverse and wondering if you were going to stop before you hit the… whatever. When I see all those pictures, I still have the echoes of that feeling.
But I wonder- when will we stop mourning? When will that horrible feeling go away? On December 7, 1956, did news paper covers show a wreck of the smouldering Arizona? In 2021, will we finally say- Its been 20 years and that day can fade into the annals of other terrible days that aren’t commemorated year round. Not to be forgotten- never to be forgotten- don’t get me wrong. But without the level of emotion many of us still feel.
I think one of the fundamental differences between 9/11 and December 7, 41 is that fifteen years out from december 7th, the world was seemingly a better place. We had the cold war, but for the average American- or North American in my place, The world would have felt like a hugely better place in 1956. When I look at where we are in 2016? I’m having a hard time feeling like we’ve taken any steps forward. Looking at the last 365 days? I would say we are a whole lot worse.