On the morning of September 11, 2001, my mother called and woke me up to tell me to turn on the news. She was crying because her cousin Susan was in the second tower. I won’t describe that feeling because it’s very personal to me, but there is a reason I wanted to bring it up.
At the time, I was working at Mayfield’s Inc as a jewelry designer. That morning I watched everything unfold and got my shit together and left to go to work and the roads were almost completely clear. I don’t remember very much else, until my very sweet boss came over to my desk about an hour after I got there and told me she wanted me to go home, that she was calling me a cab because she didn’t want me to drive. I guess I was in some sort of shock. I waited outside for the cab and just sat on a bench in the sunlight. A receptionist for the building came outside, she had heard that I had a family member inside the building. She asked if she could hug me and it just felt weird. Forced. Insincere.
Long story short, my Aunt Susan made it out of the building and she’s okay. Again, don’t really want to go into that stuff.
So about a week later, this same woman asked to interview me for an article she was writing in the newsletter for the office building, and I said okay. I told her a short version of how Uncle John called us around 10pm to tell us that my mom’s cousin was okay, and I gave very few details of what she had dealt with. But I made sure to tell her that my aunt was okay and that she was grateful to be alive.
The next day, the newsletter came out and I was completely surprised to see the interview with me was on the front page. She had added all kinds of gory details and stuff I didn’t say, and then made it sound like my Aunt Susan had died!! WHAT?? I was so angry and so amused all at the same time.
My whole point is, 9/11 was an awful day and no one should ever have to go through such a terrible tragedy. However, my story is nothing compared to those who really did suffer, those who lost close family relatives or spouses or children. What this woman did was prove to me how insincere she really was, and that the true story wasn’t “gruesome” enough, that she wanted drama and tragedy, dammit! She wanted some way to tie herself into all that death and despair, and maybe garner some sympathy. And for that kind of shit, I have NONE.
I don’t ever want to belittle those who died by making my story more than it is, and I don’t enjoy the fact that most of these “America, hell YEAH!” people secretly enjoy that there was death and chaos. They won’t ever admit it, but I know some of the people out there can’t get enough of the details, and love that it happened because wasn’t it cool that we were all so united?? No, it wasn’t cool. It got carried away and became almost sick to me. It’s sick that people are still profiting from the tragedy by selling t-shirts and key chains. Those people didn’t go to the Grand Canyon, they were obliterated in the most awful way that you can imagine. And out of respect for those who really do have a story to tell, I think paying a quiet respect is the best road to take. There is so much more to learn from all of this than just dwelling on the disgusting details and buying commemorative bumper stickers.
God Bless all of us on that day and every day. Be safe.