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9/11 Plus 20: Open Thread

A terrible thing that led to many other terrible things.

Open thread, no trolls or conspiracy mongering.

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Angiportus
Angiportus
8 months ago

Beautiful clear morn. I might have heard something on the bus but paid no attention. In the convenience store I heard someone talking on the radio about feeling something hit the building and I was all, “Did I miss an earthquake?” Then I arrived at work [7, Pacific time] and found out it was something else.
We couldn’t concentrate all that well that day. I had my Walkman on as usual and I recall telling someone that the 2nd tower had fallen. I went home and called Mom, also emailed a couple friends. I don’t think we could comfort each other all that well.
Next morn I woke up and felt fine for a few seconds till I remembered–. Crawled out, dressed and pulled the shades–there was Jupiter, always a fine sight, but it was this close to a crescent moon. So much like an Islamic motif (I think) that I wondered, not hearing anyone else mention it, if they’d chosen that day for that reason.
For weeks I was a bit spooked about going downtown [into Seattle]. I wondered how some people so scantily armed could take over whole planes, just as I wondered how a bigger bunch could just insurrect the way they did on Jan. 6 and get as far as they did. I was more comforted than I expected by seeing everyone else going about their lives as best they could.
But are we really safe now?

Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ angiportus

I wondered, not hearing anyone else mention it, if they’d chosen that day for that reason.

It’s a bit more mundane. 11 September is a significant date for certain schools of medievalist Islamist thought, that UBL subscribed to, because of a particular battle. There have been a number of attacks on this date.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
8 months ago

I was in Japan. I was doing homework and my host sister ran up the stairs shouting “the World Trade Center is crashing!” I was really confused because as far as I knew, the buildings couldn’t move and thus “crash”. It turns out she meant that the plane had crashed into Tower 1.

We sat mesmerized and I just translated as best I could. I kept thinking about the 1993 attack and thought because the towers had survived that there was hope.

This all happened at night for me. It was technically 9/12 for me when the towers collapsed. After that, the Japanese media treated the twin towers falling like we do events in other countries – they talked about for a week then never mentioned it again. Honestly, I’m glad it was like that because we got to heal from it without being surrounded by it.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
8 months ago

After spending the day going “well fuck now what?” we and our friends went to a chain restaurant, demanded they turn off the TVs (there wasn’t any new news by 11pm Eastern, and there was only one other table occupied), and had giant fruity drinks and giant rare steaks with steak fries.

Because there was going to be a war, for all we knew some other terrorists were going to do something else that big soon, so by golly we were gonna go out drunk and full of cholesterol and starch.

A friend of the family was a paratrooper, and he shipped out that week, for months.

We were at a small fair a couple weeks later, and I remember saying through a mouthful, “Taliban ain’t got funnel cake.” Obviously they do have something similar, every culture does, but still.

Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
8 months ago

I didn’t know about any of it until it was all over. I’d just moved to my then apartment and gone out that morning to the pharmacy and vaguely heard something about the Pentagon while filling my scrip but didn’t think about it, then went back to my place to take a nap. Then my mother called me and told me what had happened. It sounded so… unreal. Disaster movie fodder. And then I turned on the TV, and the disaster movie footage was real. Watching the North Tower’s antenna going down as the building collapsed is still a memory of visceral horror.

I remember– I don’t know if was NBC or not– them interviewing Tom Burnett’s family. (He’d been on Flight 93.) It brought home the sense and scale of loss, and I remember grieving for them. And the rest of the stories that came out brought home the sense of the banality and viciousness of evil. Not to mention all the chest-beating going on had me going “oh, god, here we go.”

Twenty years later, we have proof of even more banal and vicious evil. And the United States is making it. Taking the real horror and loss and grief and heroism of that day, and using it as a wankrag to get the mindlessly fanatical into a frothing mess and to enrich Haliburton and its ilk in the following decades. We have met the enemy and they is also us.

Sheila Crosby
8 months ago

I was at a work picnic in a place with no mobile coverage, so we all stayed in happy ignorance and had a good time.
My son has never been fond of crowds, so we left him at home with a babysitter. As soon as it came on the news she turned the TV off because this was clearly not child-friendly. That meant she knew very little about what was happening. When I finally got home at 7 pm London time, she told me that there had been a very serious terrorist attack in London.

That made it pretty personal.

On the morning of 7/7 I flew out of (I think) Luton airport shortly before anything happened. It turned out to be the same airport that the mastermind had flown out of, after sending his pawns to their deaths. The news caught up with me in Madrid. For the rest of the journey, people were commiserating as soon as they realised. They meant really well, but it almost always took the form of, “These [expletive slurs].” I said over and over and over again, “There are about a million British Muslims who are just as horrified as the rest of us. I don’t blame them at all. I blame the ten or so people who actually did this.”
These days I also blame the racists who sent the terrorists down that path.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
8 months ago

On Sept 11, 2001, I worked on a military base (of all places) in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t a government employee, I was a low-level contractor. I remember asking someone at work, “Are we safe here?”. Then realizing it was a dumb question. The person responded by saying that the base we were on, hadn’t been a target since the Cold War.

Someone in Hawaii called me, asking if they were likely to be let out early from work. They kept LAUGHING…not because
anything was funny, but due to shock. Due to the time zones, they’d just started work.

When the plane hit the Pentagon, someone in a cubicle near me, happened to be on a conference call with someone working IN the Pentagon. I heard him say, ” We’ve been hit! The whole place shook!”

We were let out of work at around 2:30.

The whole day was so very surreal…the weather was so very beautiful in the northeastern US, that day. I still have the clothing I wore that day, in the back of my closet. I don’t know what I’m keeping them for.

Frey
Frey
8 months ago

I was skipping school (as usual) and my elder brother came home and turned the TV on. My brother didn’t say anything, but hearing the commotion of the newscast from the next room tore me from my pirated copy of Monkey Island 2 (I don’t know what it says about me that I still remember what videogame I was playing 20 years later).
 
I didn’t know what to make of it, I was in my early teens and Manhattan was half a world away.
 
Nobody in perennially neutral Sweden was much worried about being attacked.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
8 months ago

I was at home in Yukon when (more than 5000km from NYC) this shit happened in my home town, thanks to miscommunication that a Korean Air flight had been hijacked (it hadn’t):

‘Vivid’ memories persist of Korean Air Flight 085, Whitehorse’s scare on 9/11 | CBC News

Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
8 months ago

@Dormousing_it

The weather was glorious in central Illinois too, that day. It only made everything all the more surreal.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
8 months ago

@Buttercup Q Skullpants: Someone I worked with at the time, had a cousin who worked in the towers (I don’t know which one), and they died. My own cousin was a NYPD officer at the time.

Right after 9/11, I’m ashamed to admit my feelings were that we should vaporize the entire middle east. But, that feeling didn’t last for very long. I did do some research on Islam, and US policy towards the middle east, that helped to open my eyes, and GROW THE HELL UP.

Going to war with Iraq didn’t make any sense to me. After all, the Iraqis didn’t attack us. And couldn’t, even if they wanted to.

@Banananananana Dakry: I know, the gorgeous weather just seemed so obscene at the time.

To all the people who were too young to remember the attacks: I’m sorry you never experienced life pre-9/11. I remember literally running out onto the tarmac to catch a plane, in 2000, baggage in hand.

Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ dormousing_it

I’m sorry you never experienced life pre-9/11. I remember literally running out onto the tarmac to catch a plane

Or asking if you could go visit the cockpit during a flight.

Full Metal Ox
8 months ago

@Dormousing_it:

To all the people who were too young to remember the attacks: I’m sorry you never experienced life pre-9/11. I remember literally running out onto the tarmac to catch a plane, in 2000, baggage in hand.

This 1977 Hertz Rental Car commercial demonstrates on at least two counts that The Past Was A Different Country:

Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
8 months ago

@dormousing_it

Or being able to have your friends you were visiting around while waiting at the departure gate even though they didn’t have a ticket. That’s gone.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

@dormousing_it:
Or being able to cross the Canada-U.S. border with nothing more than a standard drivers licence.

There’s a musical production called ‘Come From Away‘ which was all about how the town of Gander in Newfoundland ended up being host to several thousand diverted people when U.S. airspace shut down that day.

Me, when I left home that day just barely after the first plane had hit and people still thought it might have been an accident. I ended up selecting replacement roofing tile that morning and wondering why everybody was in the back before I got to work and found out what had actually happened.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
8 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw: Didn’t the UK/Europe in general already have fairly stringent security measures in place, RE: commercial flights, decades before the US did? When I was in high school, mid-80s, I did a report on the Red Brigades’ terrorism in Europe. I seem to remember something about that.

I got to see the cockpit of a little passenger plane, during a flight from Northwest Nowhere, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1979.

@Full Metal Ox: LOL! 1977 was, coincidentally, the first year I flew. I was 10 years old. I remember there was an issue at JFK airport, because my parents didn’t have my and my sister’s birth certificates, and we were flying internationally, to the Bahamas. I remember being asked, “Are these your parents?”. And giggling and saying Yes. I don’t remember how it was resolved.

I remember those OJ Hertz ads.

Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ dormousing_it

I did a quick google to see if I could find out then the rules changed. Can’t find that; but I was a bit surprised to find out you are still allowed to visit the cockpit prior to take-off! Apparently the CAA regulations are a bit less strict than the FAA ones.

I do remember how hijacking was a bit of thing. Like all those “Take this bus to Cuba” jokes.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

@Alan:
Honestly, the ‘take this plane to Cuba’ form of hijacking was enough of a thing that the 9/11 hijackers actually seemed to rely on it. After all, people hijacking planes to Cuba (or wherever) usually wanted to get there in one piece, so weren’t going to do anything to damage the plane, which meant that just going along with them often was the best way to make sure that everybody survived the situation.

The plane that didn’t hit its designated target, after all, was one where enough news reports got onto the plane that they realized what was going on, and if they were all going to die anyway, well, there was nothing to be lost, was there?

The fact that there haven’t been many hijackings since 9/11 probably has as much to do with the realization by potential hijackers that the rules have changed and that taking over a plane is more likely to result in an active fight as it has to do with the actual airport security precautions.

Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ jenora

the ‘take this plane to Cuba’ form of hijacking was enough of a thing that the 9/11 hijackers actually seemed to rely on it

Have you seen that 9/11 Tapes documentary? It’s all the audio from the day with the people involved commenting on it. There’s a bit from military air traffic control. They were doing an exercise when they got news of the hijacking. When it’s confirmed it’s ‘real world’ one of the operators says “Oh, cool”. She obviously feels bad about that now; but at the time there hadn’t been a hijacking for years; and pretty much every one ended safely. The hijackers would get their publicity, land in some friendly country, and all the passengers would be released unharmed. So the controllers all just assumed it would be a matter of working with the negotiators to get the plane safely to the new destination. And as you rightly say, the 9/11 hijackers seemed to be relying on that. There’s a rather disturbing bit of audio where the hijackers pressed transmit on the radio rather than the public address, and they are reassuring the passengers that if they all just keep calm they’ll be safe.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
8 months ago

Rules about accessing the cockpit tightened up massively after 9/11. Before then, half the time the cockpit door was either propped open or had a sock stuffed in the lock so the crew could get in and out easily.
After – nope. Buzz, wait for the pilots to check you on camera, then they’ll unlock the door. There is a code entry if the pilots don’t unlock, say one on deck is incapacitated for some reason.
Missus used to bitch like hell about it since it slowed her down.

Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ threp

There is a code entry if the pilots don’t unlock, say one on deck is incapacitated for some reason.

But then there’s the ability of the pilots to block the keypad. Which of course was the issue on Germanwings 9525. Now Lufthansa has a rule that there must always be two people on the flight deck at all times. But it just goes to show how hard getting the balance for aircraft security is.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
8 months ago

@Jenora Feuer

@dormousing_it:
Or being able to cross the Canada-U.S. border with nothing more than a standard drivers licence.

I remember being able to do that at the Mexico-U.S. border.

One of my chief memories as a direct result of 9/11 is standing on a street corner at a massive anti-war rally, entirely filling the streets of a city I have never seen filled before or since, even during the BLM protests. I was telling my sister’s then-boyfriend how to really support his protest chanting, because he was shocked at how loud I was without a megaphone. I told him it was because of my vocal training as a singer and he needed to breathe from his belly. We were all being watched by rows and rows of riot cops from the bridges above.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
8 months ago

@Big Titty Demon:

That is awesome you can get that kind of volume! I am also a singer and I’ve worked really hard to be able to get any kind of volume – I used to not be able to project at all, and now I definitely can. What kind of singing do you do?

Also, that protest sounds really cool. The entire world marched. There were protests in a lot of countries. I joined one in Tokyo.

We all fucking knew it wasn’t Afghanistan that attacked the US.

Last edited 8 months ago by Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
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