I was over at the Glendale Community College Fitness Center recently, and while standing by the check-in desk, the subject of what happened on September 11th, 2001 came up with someone who is about my age, that is someone who remembers it vividly, as if it were yesterday.
I'm not very good at math, but I wondered if the young person sitting there at the counter remembered it. As of this writing, it was sixteen years ago, so most college students now were kids, some as young as three. Of course, it wasn't something that just happened one day in the news, so most young people know about it, even if they don't remember that morning.
I remember that morning. I live in Glendale, near GCC, and I got an early morning call from a friend who told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I was barely awake, and the conversation was brief, and I recall being slightly annoyed at being woken up by the phone (this was back before you could set "do not disturb" on a cell phone).
Like everyone else, I followed the news all day, and was I remember just feeling numb. I had a class to teach that night, at 6, so I went over to the school and started talking about HTML (web design). I know that some of the teachers were talking about what happened in the news, but I had no idea what to do except to just forge ahead and talk about how to make lettering Bold (<B>) on the web. It was a sparse class, and all of us just seemed to just be staring at each other in confusion. I didn't take role, I was glad to see anyone there. I was doing the best I could, but I knew that I was just going through the motions.
What I remember the most was the silence after that. There were no planes in the air, there was no sound from the Air Force Base just west of me. Day after day it was just quiet. Nothing in the air but clouds. Arizona seemed so far away from the rest of the world otherwise, but this brought it home to me.
Before 9/11, the sounds of the jets warming up over at Luke Air Force Base was an annoyance to me. And I grew up right by the Minneapolis airport, so I had been glad to get away from the sound of planes going overhead. Now I like the sound. Sometimes suburbia can get too quiet.
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