Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/News/August 2011/Op-ed

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Remembering 9/11

Feel free to leave your personal memories on the talk page. Never forget.

By various contributors

United States

September 11, 2001 was cool and clear and lovely in NYC, and I went to visit a friend on W. 22nd St. before going to work. The first hijacked plane flew southward over my head as I approached Frank's door. I didn't even look up (being a New Yorker), but thought the accelerating sound unusual over the city. Frank and I spent almost an hour talking about computer subjects, then I went to work, ignoring the sirens and fire engines rushing downtown. It didn't seem that unusual. Getting to work I noticed that for the first time in memory, we had a television on, and it became immediately clear what was going on. I called Frank to get him to turn on his little-used TV. Many of us rushed to the roof of our ten-story building to see what was happening. It was a bad day to have good eyesight. I didn't know it at the time, but my friend Frank, a 75 year-old man, rushed downtown with the first wave of American Red Cross grief counselors. It was what those folks had done time after time. I watched with horror and disbelief as both towers came down. The business stayed open for a few hours, then we shut it down and all went home. The subways were unusually chatty all day. Everyone wanted to listen to what others had seen. For weeks afterward, somebody on the subway would break down crying or get tearful, and all of us sympathized with what they were going through; we were each going through it ourselves. It was clear New York would never be the same again. At the time, we all assumed tens of thousands had been lost. Frank passed away in his sleep the next night, his lungs congested with aerosol contaminants. The city was so disrupted, it was several months before we honored Frank's passing. So Frank is my 9/11 hero. Not a firefighter, not a policeman, just an ordinary hero. But in the context of Wikipedia, I have other 9/11 heroes. See, I can't edit 9/11 topics pages. It's too difficult even to read those pages, much less edit them with clarity. On Wikipedia, my 9/11 heroes are the dedicated editors who keep those pages free from conspiracy and disruption. It takes a special kind of courage and detachment to protect those valuable public resources, not unlike the qualities of my friend Frank. Thanks, folks. BusterD (talk) 15:53, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


Brazil

I was in High School back when the September 11 attacks occurred. As a Brazilian, I could afford the luxury of being far away from it. However, with a sister living near Boston, and the lack of precise information on the morning of 11 September, all my family and I could feel was fear for the safety of a loving one. Once the details of the attacks became more clear, the magnitude of the tragedy came as a terrible shock. I can firmly say that Brazil, as as well as many other nations across the globe, were closer than ever to the United States and its people in their plight on that pitiful day and beyond. Let us not forget the dead and their families' sorrow. It is the least we can do. --Lecen (talk) 02:42, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


United Kingdom

I very rarely watch television but it happened that I wasn't working on 11 September 2001 and, after dropping my children off at school, I switched on the TV to catch the morning news. Needless to say I stayed glued for most of the day. Terrorism is nothing new to citizens of the United Kingdom but the scale of the unfolding events was truly shocking. The following day I recall US flags appearing in windows throughout the city where I live as a gesture of unity with our cousins across the Atlantic, and of course along with 90 other countries worldwide we had our own dead to mourn. There was anger and incomprehension aplenty at the sheer moral poverty that would lead people to commit such barbaric acts and others to applaud them, but there was also hope and comfort in the many stories of sacrifice and heroism and in the spontaneous outpouring of solidarity with the people of the United States. The terrorists had struck not just at a nation but at a set of basic values and ideals that make us citizens of this planet, and regardless of political persuasion or religious conviction it was as human beings that our peoples came together and affirmed our common belief in creating a world that's worth living in. As we take a moment to remember those that were lost then and since, and those they've left behind, we can also honour their legacy by treating each other with dignity and respect. We have made and will make mistakes, but part of being human is that we have the capacity to pick ourselves up and try again in the belief that we can make tomorrow better than today. EyeSerenetalk 09:45, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


Germany

I remember September 11 very well. Due to the 6 hour time difference it was already early afternoon in Germany when the attacks occurred. I had left work early to take my son to the dentist, something he didn’t enjoy very much so I promised him that we would go shopping afterwards. Boys being boys all over the world he took me to the local shopping mall wanting to buy a new computer game, CD or something. When we entered the electronics and media store we noticed groups of people standing around the various television sets, watching what we initially believed to be Independence Day. We walked over to the computer games section when we starting asking ourselves why this normally so crowded store is so empty. My son settled for some CD and we walked over to the cashier again passing the television section. People were still watching, standing, debating in shock. Only then did we realize that some important had happened. We kept staring at the television set for minutes that turned into hours in disbelief. MisterBee1966 (talk) 13:31, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


Australia

When a friend called us late one night in Sydney and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center, I assumed it was like the B-25 Empire State Building crash in 1945 -- a bad accident but nothing worse. I was rapidly dissuaded of my complacency as we switched on the TV. It’s indeed hard to believe September 11 was 10 years ago. It was barely a week since I’d started a contract at the Royal Australian Navy’s Garden Island in Sydney, and we were immediately on high alert. Beyond the attacks themselves, many moments remain vivid: the endless debates on internal Defence forums about just what should be done in retaliation; the image of the crew of the German destroyer Lutjens with their banner "We stand by you" directed towards the nearby USS Winston S. Churchill; a mate in London relating that when he saw the footage he thought he was watching a movie, but he’d never seen a movie with such shocking special effects; my own words by email to friends in America, that we were all from New York now. On the tenth anniversary of September 11, it’s appropriate that we spare some thoughts for those who died, for their families and loved ones, and for those who survived the attacks but live with physical or emotional trauma. We should also think of the men and women of the armed services deployed for action as a result of the attacks – regardless of whether we believe that they should (still) be there. While our politicians may or may not have learnt from the Vietnam experience, we the public can hopefully remember: whatever the rights and responsibilities of the modern soldier, choosing which war to fight is not generally among them. Ian Rose (talk) 07:54, 9 September 2011 (UTC)