“Twenty years ago the world was in shock. As always, my prompt will allow you to choose what to write. But I have a feeling the subject of many posts will be the same. Here’s your prompt for this week. . . .Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “where.” Use it any way you’d like!”
After a world-shattering tragic/traumatic incident, we often say, “where were you when?” Each generation has their where-weres about an event that is seared into the consciousness; changes perceptives; alters time-lines.
Given my age, there have been many where-weres (some of more “weight” than others): JFK and Bobby Kennedy; Space Shutter Challenger; the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall; John Lennon; Gulf War; Hurricane Katrina; assault on the Capitol. But, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the question to anyone born before 2001, is where were you?
When I first learned of the events of 9/11 I was in the food court of the student union building on a Canadian university campus. I’d been uneasy all morning; meeting my husband for a sandwich was to help with grounding. Behind me, two female students were talking what I thought was the latest Hollywood disaster movie, or the opening episode of a new television show.
The sandwich shop was popular; that day the wait was longer than usual. So, I had more of a chance to absorb words careening around: planes; building collapse; terror attacks; death; disaster; destruction. By the time I returned to our table with the subs, I knew I had to investigate. I said I was going to the lounge where CNN was forever on, news across two big screen television.
I might have closed my eyes, just for a second, before glancing through the glass sides of the room. A hushed, transfixed group of students filled the usually half-empty space. What I saw on the screen was impossible: the usual, familiar NYC sky-line smudged with smoke. And an empty space where the twin towers once stood.
I stayed long enough to read the scrawl across the bottom of the screen, and hear the emotion-choked newspeople telling the tale . . . . As I was teaching a class on the Loyalists, (a diverse group who, for a variety of reasons, sided with, got caught up with, or aided the British during the American Revolution) who fled to Canada, many settling in the area where I was, two planes hit the twin towers, changing my life, changing global lives forever.
For Linda Hill’s SoCS “where”
image: the tribute in lights at the 9/11 memorial, NYC with the full moon