Reflections on 9/11

Today I reflect about where I was five years ago and how I felt when the World Trade Centre was turned into the world’s largest crypt.

I was a student at the University of Ottawa and had just started my graduation year (my last year of my program). I had just had my regular morning shower when my roomate said something had happenned in New York. I didn’t believe it. I saw a hole in the side of the first tower and was hearing that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. I thought nothing of it as I left for work.

By nine in the morning I was already at the top of Thompson Residence at the University of Ottawa. I was faithfully performing my duties as a fridge rental representative of Coldex. Basically, I was delivering bar refrigerators to the students who were staying in that residence. The students just had to pay their fees and sign the contract. I had set up five appointments and was merely delivering the refrigerators one at a time while collecting the money and contracts as I went.

I had finished my second delivery when, waiting for the elevator, I heard loud yelling coming from within the lounge of the eighteenth floor of Thompson Residence. I walked into the lounge to see, on the television, both World Trade Centre towers with plums of smoke rising far above it. I was initially in shock at what was going on.

Later on as I thought about it, I consider myself to be a little naive for continuing my delivery of three more refrigerators in Thompson Residence. I thought later, “what was I doing in the next tallest building next to the Peace Tower of Parliament Hill?” The Peace Tower, the clock tower of the Centre Block of Canada’s federal Parliament would be a major target in North America if the terrorist bastards had decided to attack both the United States and Canada. Of course nobody knew which country was a target back then.

I was a little worried that I might be a victim of a similar attack on Canada’s Capital. Footnote to American readers: Ottawa is the capital of Canada. What would happen if an airplane or some other type of attack hit downtown Ottawa? Considering I was a mere ten minute walk from the House of Commons in Ottawa, I was a worried.

Later on as I watched the continuing news coverage, I felt proud as a Canadian. Eastern Canadian towns and cities like Halifax, St. John’s, Cornerbrook, Gander and others were around two hundred and thirty planes that were either destined for the continental United States or further westward in Canada. The planes whose flights originated in Europe and were destined for the United States were orphaned. The United States had closed their airspace all together. These planes couldn’t return to Europe as these planes did not have enough fuel to return from whence the came.

There was a choice to be made. Canada could close its airspace and leave those on the North American bound planes parrish as well, or Canada could accept those orphaned planes into its airspace and let the passengars and crew survive. It was not a simple task as many of the eastern airports were not built to accept that many planes that they did that day. I was proud that the federal, provincial and municipal officials and public got together in a time of need. I’m still proud today as United States Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, again thanked Canada for its help on September 11, 2001.

That day will mark a major day in history of my life and the world no doubt. Both the people of Canada and the United States pulled together that day to try and help their neighbours. That is why, in terms of North America, Canada and the United States should work together so that both countrys’ people can live in peace and freedom both in terms of themselves and with each other. 9/11 tested each countrys’ resolve of living with peace and freedom. Even five years later, this peace and freedom of each countrys’ peoples continues to be tested.


6 thoughts on “Reflections on 9/11

  1. I’ll never forget standing in a lineup at a bank, watching the towers smoking. They have TV screens to keep people occupied while they wait in line. That’s where I was when I saw the footage of the first tower collapsing.

    Someone called my name because the loan manager was ready to see me. But I didn’t hear … my thoughts were far away. She just waited: gave me the time I need to absorb what I was seeing.

    I said to her, “This is too big to be a simple terrorist act. The USA will be going to war against whatever state is responsible.” At that point, no one in the media had mentioned al Qaeda or Afghanistan.

    I will never forget that moment of horrified realization in the bank. It’s our generation’s equivalent of “Where were you when JFK was shot?”

  2. I woke in a relatively good mood it was Michelle and my 1st month aniversary, I was just about to go to class and Michelle was watching TV she told me there had been a plane crash in NYC.

    We were watching as the second plane crashed into the towers and my first though was, oh shit the U.S. is at war, but with who.

    After reports of the pentagon attack I couldn’t help but thinking how many are going to die before this ends.

  3. I was at home when Aggie called me within minutes of the first plane hitting the tower. I turned on the TV & watched it all unfold live. I thought it was just a horrible accident until the second plane hit.

    I remember sitting there for those 16 minutes between the two crashes thinking that the US had no experience of these types of sitution and screaming at the screen to evacuate the second tower.

    I remember the feeling of absolute horror as people started jumping from the windows & I realised that this was something that would change the US Pysche forever.

  4. Well said, Michael. Ever since then I have been extremely proud of you northern ‘cousins’ for the manner in which you pulled out all stops to accept, welcome and care for our temporarily orphaned overseas airline passengers and crews. For our two nations it had to be a defining moment in time. Interesting comments, too, from Mrs A. (sorry), Bill and Q.

    It seems to me there are now in existance split versions of all three of our countries. One segment in each deciding we’ve been pleasant and polite long enough with the oafs who want to kill us, so therefore it is time to get busy and stop them in their tracks. Whilst the other portion seem to believe that the “oafs” don’t really exist, or if they do that somehow there must be a way to negotiate a way out of it.

    I’m concerned about the welfare of the ‘US Psyche’, of course, but even more over the ‘split’. All three of our nations are capable of offering hope and inspiration to troubled and downtrodden peoples throughout the world. But if our divisions become more important than our similarities, there is precious little hope for our individual – or combined – futures.

  5. 49erdweet you’re right – Negotiating with Terrorist is a really dumb idea. It is now as it was then

    when I was wondering who the US was at war with it didn’t take long for the powers that be to figure it out. But why the hell didn’t they figure it out sooner, is my question. I do not doubt who was the enemy it was just the chaos during the attacks that left me thinking who and why.

    The west supported fundamental extremist Islamic groups when they were fighting the USSR, why were we so myopic as to not notice that threat these fanatics posed to the hand that fed them?

  6. Yeah, Bill, I agree. In retrospect it was probably not a wise thing to do. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing most likely always eventually breaks down, and you’ve hit on a classic example.

    Having reached a certain degree of consensus on that, though, do we continue with the blame game or decide to work together to put out this prairie fire that could conceivably grow large enough to threaten us all?

    To me, that is where we should be – even if there be some among us – on both sides of the political spectrum, by the way – too foolish or stubborn to admit reality.


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