Monday, September 11, 2006

The Black Page: Live Blogging 9/11

On September 11, 2001 almost nobody had heard of blogs, and I doubt the phrase live blogging had ever been used. However, after being up all night, I turned on the news at a little after 6 AM on the west coast to check the world before bed. The local affiliate cut early to the Today show, where they were talking about a small plane hitting one of the twin towers. Then the second plane hit. The ramifications of this were immediately evident to everyone.

The only question was, how bad it it going to get? I still don't know if, on the fifth anniversary, that we know the answer to that question yet...

I started posting to my web site. There wasn't anything I could do. I could do that. This is what I posted...

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 - I watched the second plane hit. Now, 6:41 PDT, an explosion at the pentagon. This is not good. Will there be more? I feel like throwing up again. I already did once this morning. And now they are saying it was a plane crashing into the Pentagon as well. I have a very bad feeling about this. Very bad, and now they are evacuating the White House, and now they've shut down all air traffic in the U.S....

7:00 AM PDT – Hijacked planes crashing into both of the twin towers. Another plane crashes into the Pentagon.
One of the twin towers collapsed a few minutes ago.

I am still in shock. All air traffic in the U.S. has been halted. And I only have one cigarette left until 9AM.

Knowing how long it took to evacuate the Trade Center in 1993’s attack, we probably just watched thousands of people die when the tower fell.

Compared to N.Y., the Pentagon doesn’t look too bad. But it is the Pentagon.

They are now calling it the most serious attack on the continental U.S. since the War of 1812.

7:20AM - One plane was a 767. ABC is reporting that the tower still standing is buckling and leaning.

Sent an incoherent e-mail to a friend of mine a few minutes ago babbling about 1941. Probably an exaggeration. But when they talk about 50,000 people working in the World Trade Center, and one of the twin towers is now down. It happened a little before 9 AM EST. Hopefully they get to work late in N.Y.

ABC: 2 American airlines planes hijacked. One from Boston, one from Dulles to L.A.

7:25 AM – Car bomb may have exploded in front of State Department. (ABC)

Since the second tower is threatening to fall, they have to evacuate the triage site on the scene.

7:27 PDT – Just watched the north tower collapse. I’m sick again. I’m shaking. 1941 doesn’t sound foolish anymore. We just lost many thousands of lives in the last two hours this morning. Lower Manhattan is covered with dust and smoke. When the first building fell, eyewitness were reported talking about people jumping from the building on it way down. Or just falling. My hands are shaking to much to type any more right now.

7:36 PDT – Smoking my last cigarette. Thinking of putting on some coffee. Drinking tea right now. NBC is live on the street in N.Y. showing rescue workers trying to get to the rescue workers who were under the second building.

7:39 - NBC is reporting the crash, via AP, of a crash of a large jet near Pittsburgh, but they are now denying reports of a car bomb at the State Department.

7:43 - NBC is reporting that air cover is flying over Washington. Their man at the Pentagon saw an F-16. And there are rumors that there may be another hijacked airliner inbound to the D.C. area.

767 in Pittsburgh is down, AP reports. Unclear if it is related, but the odds? The media is using the word war now. “It seems a terrorist war has been declared against the U.S.”

“Nothing short but a declaration of war against this country,” Tom Brokaw, 7:46pst

7:50 PDT – For a while now, KING 5, our local NBC affiliate has been scrolling a message that the Seattle P.D. is surrounding the local federal buildings and the Space Needle, just in case…

I make coffee now.

This is like a Tom Clancy book, watching the films of the buildings falling, it’s easy to imagine it’s good CGI in a bad movie. It wouldn’t feel real if it weren’t for that lump in my gut. That tells me that this is real. That tells me that this is going to change our country on some fundamental level forever. It’s not just the loss of life. It’s the loss of something more profound. Maybe they lost this in Oklahoma City a few years back, but for the rest of us, we have remained relatively untouched. This is something on an entirely, unimaginably different level.

They keep saying this on TV, and it is true. This morning marked the end of Fortress America. We are no longer untouchable. We have been touched.

If it is over, and that is still left to be seen, where do we go from here? Who will we be, as a nation, after this?

It is too early to answer those questions.

Click here for the full version, continuing on into the evening.