Saturday, September 11, 2004


Ann Althouse has a moving post about her experiences that morning. On the West Coast, it was near dawn when I heard NPR report the first plane striking. Then I heard a stunned Bob Edwards say to a witness, "Another plane?" I shot to the TV. I sat, frozen, and watched both towers come down. I was shaking, horrified. It was still early morning. My husband was in Baltimore, and was supposed to be flying to D.C. that morning. Was he all right? A quick phone call, yes, he was fine, but trapped at the Baltimore airport, staring at CNN. Love you. Bye.

I was supposed to be heading out for work at the hospital, and there was no time to process what was happening. New patients had been admitted, they were waiting for me, their stories had to come first. Staff trickled into the ward...some of them hadn't heard any news. Some asked, what's the World Trade Center? I had known the towers as a tourist might. They meant New York, they meant America, they meant thousands of people inside...

Gradually, I could see people begin - but just begin - to grasp what what happening (particularly when the Pentagon was hit). Doctors, nurses and staff became more disturbed and distracted, our eyes gravitating toward the TV in every hospital room. Patients - all patients, throughout the hospital - were frightened and agitated - "Where is everyone? What about my problems, my heart attack, my surgery, my hallucinations?" Yes, of course, we will help you...(but what is happening out there? Who is helping those victims in New York, in Washington? And who is looking after the rest of us?) My husband got home fine - a week later, of course. And life goes on, as Ann says.....

In memory, it is akin to a natural disaster. I have to remind myself that it was an act by people. That is the value of Glenn Reynold's post; he reminds us that we have enemies, a fact that I too easily edit out of my consciousness.


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