Thursday, September 11, 2008


This isn't going to be very eloquent, because I'm just not that clever today. This was a dark day in our recent history, and there were many heroes (none of whom are holding political office).

Seven years ago today, I was unemployed, and sitting on my couch watching TV when the first plane struck the two towers. I don't remember what show I was watching, but it was live, and switched over to Katie Couric (I do remember that) in time for the second plane to hit. I stayed glued to the television for most of the day, then went to the Red Cross. I gave blood, and started working there the next day - almost full time, volunteering until I got a paying job.

The first week or so was spent 100% on the phone. My "favorite" call was someone who wanted a guarantee that his blood would go to someone injured in NYC because he didn't believe in mixing blood, but would risk it for this kind of emergency. So, apparently, racists have hearts too. Sadly, we couldn't make that promise (the blood goes to wherever it's needed the most). Other than that guy and one other really ugly call that someone else got, and several of us tried to deal with, the outpouring of support and interest was astronomical. People just wanted to help. They didn't care how. They frequently didn't like hearing that they couldn't jump in a car and go to ground zero and be official Red Cross workers. But it was nice that they were willing. (There's a process; it's a long one, and you have to start months before you could be sent to a catastrophe. You start out small, responding to local fires, etc.)

I remember getting really angry with someone (a now-former friend) who criticized the passengers on the first three flights because she "wouldn't have just sat there." To which I replied with, "bullshit." A year later, I left an online community that I'd been heavily involved with for several years because there was an actual debate on whether or not there should be a moratorium on mentioning 9/11. Like it or not, it's part of our history now, and pretending it's not would be a slap in the face to those who lost - and gave - their lives.

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