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The previous weekend I had been at a music convention in Burbank, CA. I flew home the night of September 10 and arrived in Indianapolis at about midnight. I got home at about 2am and went to bed.
I had taken the 11th off from work because I knew I'd be getting home in the wee hours. I got up at 10am, flipped on the TV, to find out that all hell had broken loose. It was surreal. I wondered if it was some sort of joke or simulation or something, but then the realization set in that this was all too real.
Several friends that I was at the convention with had decided to stay an extra day for sightseeing, but ended up being stranded for almost a week when all airline flights were grounded and the resulting delays in catching up in flights. I'm glad I went out early to the convention rather than staying afterwards. To date that is the last time I flew.
When I first saw the TV broadcasts on the morning of 9/11, the two towers were still standing, and there had been no footage yet found of the actual planes. Over the next day I sat glued to the television, watched the towers fall with tears in my eyes, and then as we found out more details of what had happened, being filled with a sense of rage... wanting to get the bastards that did this... a feeling that I think a large portion of our country has forgotten as time has passed.
I remember sadness as the stories surfaced of people's last communications with their loved ones, and the overwhelming sense of pride at the first responders, many who gave their lives, and for the people on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania; their selfless act of heroism in their final moments.
I remember in the days afterward the unforgettable World Series game at Yankees stadium with GW throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, delivering a perfect strike from the mound, and then hearing the chants of "USA, USA" starting.
Here's a snapshot of culture from the morning of Sep. 11 that I've saved for all these years, a recording of the Howard Stern show from that morning as the events unfolded. It starts off innocuously, discussion of Danny Almonte, an interview with Kid Rock and Pam Anderson, discussion of Howard's love life... and then...
It's 2 hours and 38 minutes long. The first realization of the attacks occurs starting at about 15:30. The unintentional foreshadowing is chilling, even to this day. It's clear they didn't realize the extent of things as it was occurring. The stark contrast between the normal juvenile behavior on his show and the reality of what was happening is something else.
Howard Stern Show From 9/11/01
I think that 2001 was the last time we as a country were anything even remotely resembling unified. I think we have forgotten that feeling and that need. It's too bad.