9/11 falls on a Saturday this year. It's the weekend, it's Fall (or at least Fall Semester), and with the kids back in school, colleges in full swing and businesses working as much as they are working in this economy, weekends are made for outside activities. Our schedules are too crowded to give much room for maneuvering, so though there will be some remembrances, much will dissolve into the excitement of college football games, minor league playoff baseball, the winding down of the major leagues and the anticipation of the first real Sunday of the NFL season. There will be the fifth annual Tomato War in downtown Grand Rapids, with two tons of red, ripe tomatoes available for throwing and many bloody Marys will be consumed.
It's raining here in West Michigan. Very different than that perfect blue sky day from nine years ago. Last year I wrote this about the realization that my college students were by and large children when 9/11 happened, and while we are all affected by 9/11 and its aftermath, those who were children may not yet fully understand what happened. A decade from now, my college freshmen will all have been born after 9/11, and will have a very different view of things as those freshmen today don't share my feelings about JFK, Viet Nam, the Apollo Moon landings or the space shuttle Challenger.
A Not Every Year Thing
I went back and located my previous postings on 9/11 -- since I started this blog in 2005, it hasn't been every year. But that's all right. Sometimes one doesn't have anything new to say and it is better to leave the ether waves uncluttered. And though I have NOT gotten very far with my retrospective LJ Tagging project, I have now tagged all those 9/11 entries so if you want to, you can read them all here.
Retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer Jim Wright over on Stonekettle Station has "nothing to add to what I said on the 7th anniversary of 9-11, a piece I strongly recommend to you.
I shall close with what I posted on Jim's piece two years ago, of my own personal 9/11:
Dr. Phil (Physics) said...
9/11 was a day of spectacular high clear blue skies. Just before 9am, and just south of 100th Street on US-131, there was a news blip that a "light commuter plane" had hit one of the WTC towers and that weather was not an issue. My thought was "how stupid did you have to be..."
WOOD-AM was using ABC News as a feed in those days, and they had an architect on the line from another high rise describing in great detail the fire, when he clearly and unbleeped said, "Oh shit, there's another plane." And my blood went cold. One could be an accident, two is deliberate.
By the time I got to Kalamazoo, we had three planes hit, reports of another possibly down -- and rumors of five more hijackings. I went to my 10am class and told them we were under attack and that if anyone wanted to leave and try to learn more, I had no objection. A couple of guys I knew were Guardsmen left. By 11am, returning back to the Physics Dept they'd dug up two ancient portable TVs, and word was the university was closing. The traffic jam lasted over an hour.
When I left after 1pm, there were almost no vehicles on the road, and in flyover Michigan, not one contrail in the perfect clear blue sky. Twice I came over hills and saw zero cars on the road -- it was an SF moment.
About that time it was reported that fighters were scrambling out of Indiana because radar had an aircraft without a transponder coming south down Michigan. Turned out it was some DEA or Border Patrol bizjet with a malfunction -- and not properly cleared. That may have been it for the Battle of Michigan.
I've a lot of students rotating in and out of tours -- happens at a university with science, engineering and a top aviation program. The university has really softened the rules to help them, when they have to deploy in the middle of a semester.
Nowhere close to the front lines, but definitely a nationwide day of infamy which some of us will never forget.
September 11, 2008 6:50 PM