9/11 - Where I was then.....Where I am now  

rm_ESO_GUY 55M
9 posts
9/10/2006 7:12 am
9/11 - Where I was then.....Where I am now

All of us have a story about where we were that
September morning....this is mine.

I was working at my desk on that morning, getting
ready for a meeting with a local tool supplier
which started at 9:30 AM. As I wlaked past the
building lobby I saw a big crowd of people
gathered at the television. I did not think much
about it at the time, thinking, Oh, there must be
some breaking news about something. Only when I
arrived at the conference room did I learn it was
something more insidious.

People at the meeting said the World Trade Center
was gone, the Pentagon was burning and that maybe
50,000 were dead. I sat stunned, not able to think
of much other than....What the Fuck!?!?! I had to
learn more. After the meeting adjourned I rushed
to the lobby to find out more.

I ran into a couple of the engineering managers.
They confirmed what I heard. The pictures on the
television showed a smoking New York City, the
skyline devoid of the twin towers. Coverage then
switched to the Pentagon, which showed more smoke
and more damage. Is it possible that 50,000 people
were dead? Maybe. Nobody knew. What the Fuck?!?!?!

I went back to my desk to see what I could learn
online. The internet bandwidth was limited but
after a few minutes I did get a link to CNN. More
pictures, more speculation. Me and my office
mates sat around trying to work, trying to
concentrate but all we could do was speculate,
talk about the enormity of what we had just seen
and heard.

I remember thinking to myself, tis is an act of
war, whomever did it. An attack on our country
so devastating, so horrible that to imagine
anything other than an attack on our way of life,
our culture, our society was unthinkable.

That night I stayed up until 4:00 AM watching the
news coverage. I do not think I moved from my
spot but a few times and only to go to the
bathroom. I learned that another plane had
crashed near a small town called Shanksville,
Pennsylvania. The death toll was still being
speculated to be in the tens of thousands.

Over the next few weeks more about what happened
was learned. Sitting in a Chinese restaurant for
lunch one afternoon I broke out in tears after
reading an account of what happened aboard United
Flight 93, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania.
What would I have done if aboard that aircraft?
Would I have been so brave, unselfish and willing
to give my life to save others? I found myself
unable to answer that question.

Since that day the world has turned many times
and my fortunes have changed dramatically. Shortly
after 9/11 I began riding motorcycles. It is
something I had wanted to do for many years but
for various reasons failed to start the process.
But if not now, when? After a few false starts,
including two accidents were I broke a few ribs
I finally started to keep the shiny side up. From
metric cruisers to Harley's in a short period of
time. I have put over 60,000 miles under my belt
on two wheels and have seen and done things I
never thought possible. I have met many friends
along the way and seen many faces of people I have
come to respect and trust.

I have traveled in other ways too. I live in South
Korea for six months, taking a business trip as
part of my work assignment. I had the chance to
live and learn amongst foreigners, those who do
not have the opportunities and freedoms that we
have come to enjoy here in the USA. I learned
to be a bit more tolerant of those who have very
different ideas about all aspects of life.

A few weeks in Singapore, a country filled with
all sorts of religious beliefs, from Islam to
Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism. A place where most
people seem to get along just fine, but at the
cost of having the government control many areas
of their life, including their bank accounts.

I spent ten days in Vietnam visiting a friend I
met online, hoping to maybe to have a chance at
happiness and a family only to realize that the
cultural differences were so great as to keep us

I moved from my childhood home to the Southwestern
USA. I needed something different, a new challange
and what I hoped would be a better life for
myself. Such an alien way of life here in New
Mexico, but at a pace that I am learning to enjoy.

I now work in Mexico, having to cross the border
every day to work with a culture that I have yet
to appreciate, but whose outlook on life and
living seems very desireable. If I could only get
them to come to meetings on time!

I have had many failed relationships, some good
ones and have met very interesting people. I was
even going to be a father, but my girlfriend lost
the child after only a month of pregnancy. I am
learning more about life, love and family far
away from any of my own extended family members.

Most importantly, I have come to be more aware
of what is happening around the globe and how
that is affecting our way of life here at home.
I realize now that we are not at war with any
country, nation-state or other such entity. We
are at war with an idea. An idea cemented in the
7th century. An idea that does not have tolerance
for dissent or disagreement. An idea that, if
left unchecked, will spread like a pestilence
around the world.

And how do we fight such a war? With another idea.
An idea of religious freedom. An idea that one
should be allowed to worship in whatever way they
see fit. An idea that allows one to believe what
they want to believe, even if it is nothing at all
but a belief in themselves. How long will such a
war last? It has been going on for a long time
now, spanning hundreds of years and may continue
for a hundred more. But a war it is.

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