in memoriam
September 11, 2003 12:04 AM   Subscribe

The Miracle Survivors - In Stairwell B of the North Tower, 16 people lived amid the avalanche of concrete and steel. But surviving was only the start of their struggle.
Everyone handles things differently. Some want to move on, others need to remember. Some thought that to commemorate 9/11, it might be appropriate to have a dedicated thread that would be a repository of links and comments. Miguel started such a thread for 9/11/2002. And for those who may not have read it, here is the Mefi 9/11/2001 thread.
posted by madamjujujive (49 comments total)
 
What You Think You Know About Sept. 11 … but don't.

Slate tries to put to rest a few popular misconceptions about the details of the WTC attacks.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:14 AM on September 11, 2003


Commemorating? Yes, let us commemmorate...

...the civilians in Iraq, dead.
...the civilians in Afghanistan, dead.
...the civilians of America, dead.
...the uncounted Afghan military dead.
...American military personnel in Afghanistan. Dead.
...the uncounted numbers of the Iraqi military. Dead.
...American troops in Iraq. Dead.
...allied troops, dead.
...hundreds of thousands of sick, wounded and refugee.

"Let us honor them by building the earth, instead of destroying it. Let us make peace, instead of war."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:31 AM on September 11, 2003




hc, f&m,
Nice axe. Thanks for grinding it here.

Anyway, the article is an amazing chronicle of survivor's guilt and the way that people try to cope with it. Well worth the read. Thanks mjj.
posted by ednopantz at 6:32 AM on September 11, 2003


"Let us honor them by building the earth, instead of destroying it. Let us make peace, instead of war."

Nice axe. Thanks for grinding it here.


Axe grinding? Looks more like a sword-into-plowshare moment.
posted by kayjay at 6:42 AM on September 11, 2003


How nice. Four links, four ideological backhanded slaps.

Anyway, six hours after the main post, allow me to add a link that actually relates to the title (in memoriam) of the post:

Voices: Stories From 9/11 And Beyond
posted by pardonyou? at 6:44 AM on September 11, 2003


...the uncounted numbers of the Iraqi military. Dead.

Dennis Kucinich, who was on the Diane Rehm Show last night, quoted Iraq Body Count's figure of 45, 000 for the Iraqi military dead. As you can see, the website only lists civilian deaths--however the Guardian reported an estimate between 10,000 to 45,000 in August, citing IBC as well. 45,000 is not out of line with the Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century's 25,000 median figure derived from a 1000 - 150,000 range of estimates of Iraqi military dead cited by various groups for the first Gulf War. 45,000 out of a population of approximately 23,000,000 is hella different than 300-600, depending on how you count them, combat deaths for the 292,000,000 population of the US, you're talking about the equivalent of over a half million American war dead at the Iraqi level. No wonder the coaltion refused to make any estimates.

Nice axe. Thanks for grinding it here.

You may disagree but his opinion is heartfelt. At any rate, attacking the poster is no contribution.

On the other hand...

Well worth the read. Thanks mjj.

Hear, hear. I actually bought a copy of the New York TImes yesterday and was fascinated with the stories of the 91st floor. Great post, madamejujujive.

And hat tip to Ignatius J. Reilly for the timely debunking of 9/11 myths.
posted by y2karl at 7:41 AM on September 11, 2003


MetaFilter: Ideological Backhanded Slaps
posted by bwg at 7:42 AM on September 11, 2003


hc, f&m, Nice axe. Thanks for grinding it here.

Fold included Sept. 11 victims in his links. The 30th anniversary of the Chilean coup is worth noting. You're grinding an ax by dismissing their posts.
posted by rcade at 7:58 AM on September 11, 2003


You may disagree but his opinion is heartfelt

Sure, anybody has a right to their opinion but I really fail to see the immediacy of the connection between the stories of people who survived the worst single act of terrorism* in recent history with the fallout from Nixon's unholy alliance with Chile's business class and military elite. Pasquale Buzzelli, the man who landed atop the debris would have been in kindergarten when Nixon was doing his dirty work.

It doesn't make any sense unless, of course, your aim is to cast these people as unworthy victims, that is, to say that they had it coming. In other words, if one seized upon commemoration of this event to further an unrelated agenda. Hence, the axe.

And I second the hat tip to IJR, it is a valuable article and I considered fpp-ing it myself.

*defined here as deliberate, targeted killing or maiming of noncombatants.
posted by ednopantz at 8:03 AM on September 11, 2003


"Let us honor them by building the earth, instead of destroying it. Let us make peace, instead of war."

Sadly fold_and_mutilate, I don't think some people get the point.
posted by whirlwind29 at 8:22 AM on September 11, 2003


I know it sounds like I'm obsessing about my own project but here's another recent MeFi thread.
posted by TNLNYC at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2003


Two years after the terrible day, the wounds may have closed a little, but the edges are still raw and ragged. Watching footage today, that I probably haven't watched in a year, has brought all the shock and horror and, most of all, uncertainty of that day back.

As I did on this day two years ago, and one year ago, I offer no argument, no rhetoric, just a moment of silence for the many who died.


.
posted by jammer at 8:32 AM on September 11, 2003


Ednopantz, I think you (honestly and with no ill-intentions) misunderstood HC's post. This FPP was about one terrible September 11th tragedy, and his post was about another. The two events have in common violent thuggery, widespread terror, and a calender date. He is merely taking the opportunity of the rememberance of one of these terrible days to keep us from forgetting the other.

In other words, there's no intended conflation here other than the day. I'm pretty sure he only put it in this thread so as not to crowd the front page.
posted by Ptrin at 8:36 AM on September 11, 2003


The 30th anniversary of the Chilean coup is worth noting.

Of course it is.

Sorry to be longwinded, but let me also add that we should consider inverting the situation:

Imagine if someone posted something about those tortured and murdered in the Santiago soccer stadium in 1973 and I were to assert that that event only has validity if we also remember the office workers killed in NYC.

That would be a monstrous assertion. So why is this any different? Shouldn't the two moments in history each stand on their own ?
posted by ednopantz at 8:38 AM on September 11, 2003


.
posted by daver at 8:44 AM on September 11, 2003


Shouldn't the two moments in history each stand on their own ?

Even when they happen on the same day? C'mon--isn't it sort of begging the question to demand separate but equal appreciations on the part of mere mortals, considering it's the 30th anniversary of the coup in Chile today?
posted by y2karl at 8:55 AM on September 11, 2003


-
posted by SuzySmith at 9:08 AM on September 11, 2003


Even when they happen on the same day? C'mon--isn't it sort of begging the question to demand separate but equal appreciations on the part of mere mortals, considering it's the 30th anniversary of the coup in Chile today?

Oh, please. Do you really think the 30th anniversary of the coup in Chile would have earned a mention in MetaFilter today if 9/11/01 hadn't happened (or, for that matter, if Ken Loach hadn't included that incident as his contribution to a 9/11 film project)? Answer honestly, now. And what's so wrong about demanding that they be treated separately, when this post is explicitly about 9/11/01? Do you think it would be appropriate to post about Pearl Harbor in a post about, say, a new film being released December 7th, simply because they both occurred the same day?
posted by pardonyou? at 9:10 AM on September 11, 2003


Sept. 11, 1901
posted by languagehat at 9:43 AM on September 11, 2003


OKaaaaay, and we're already arguing. I guess that was inevitable.

In the days proceeding 9/11 I had this running joke going with a friend. He'd misread a headline the week before that said something like "Hip-hop star's pop is dead." The article was about Wyclif Jean's father dying in an accident. My friend thought Wyclif had died and called me at 9am, waking me up. It took a couple days to convince him what had actually happened.

On 9/11 my friend calls me, again waking me up and says "Someone's driving airplanes into buildings!!" I wasn't too pleased to be woken by this same friend with some other weird story so I just said "Is Wyclif on the damn plane?" and hung up.

He called back five minutes later, "Turn on the radio" He sounded strange so I did what he said. I listened for ten minutes, speechless and holding the phone to my ear. Neither of us said anything, we just sat on the phone together as the towers fell.

I went over to his house, since he had a television, and we watched the news cycle all day. The footage still stays with me. The planes hitting the building. The smoke. The people jumping from fire-licked windows. The panic as the towers collapsed.

It was unreal.

At 11pm we had enough. It was just too much to sit there so we went to a bar. I was expecting the place to be closed or empty, but it was packed. The strange thing was how quiet everyone was. The room was full of whispering. I could hear someone crying.

It's been two years now and that day still resonates through politics, through history and through the people who witnessed or survived the events of 9/11. I try to think of the families who lost loved ones in that tragedy, those whose lives will never be the same.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:44 AM on September 11, 2003


I had Chili for dinner last night.
posted by a3matrix at 9:52 AM on September 11, 2003


Do you really think the 30th anniversary of the coup in Chile would have earned a mention in MetaFilter today if 9/11/01 hadn't happened...?

Well, duh: Yes.

On topic: I have not similar memories, elwoodwiles. I was the one who called a friend--at 6 in the morning. We watched the same things you did, mostly not talking, too.

I was home from school, slurping up Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup for lunch when Christina Bergman came over from across the street and told us President Kennedy was shot. My mother could tell us where she was, what she was doing--mending socks, if I recall--and what radio program was interrupted when they announced the bombing of Hiroshima. Everyone in that room knew right then what it meant: the War was over.

Everyone handles things differently. Some want to move on, others need to remember.

Irregardless, you just never forget some days.
posted by y2karl at 10:09 AM on September 11, 2003


have similar, that is...
posted by y2karl at 10:10 AM on September 11, 2003


And what's so wrong about demanding that they be treated separately, when this post is explicitly about 9/11/01?

The use of the word "demand," for starters. If you don't want to note the 30th occasion of the Chilean coup or include the victims of post-9/11 political violence and war, that's your right.

Telling other people not to do it is about as bent as ordering people on Dec. 7 to only mourn the people who died that day rather than remembering all casualties of World War II.
posted by rcade at 10:22 AM on September 11, 2003


OKaaaaay, and we're already arguing. I guess that was inevitable.

MeTa.
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on September 11, 2003


Since this looks like the most appropriate thread today, I'd like to point out this essay at Esquire magazine. In two years of reading about September 11th, it's the best work I have read. It made me choke, go pale, get the shivers, cringe, look away and then it helped me think very clearly.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:54 AM on September 11, 2003


Here on the East Coast, it's a bit chilly today.

Chilly. Get it? It sounds like Chile, which, as you now know, endured a coup on this day in 1973. Too bad there isn't an FPP about Chile so I could derail it with something completely unrelated.

Thanks for the links, trollonculus.
posted by dhoyt at 10:56 AM on September 11, 2003


Seriously--thanks to madamjujujive and ignatius for the initial links--I remember two years ago, preparing to bike to work and realizing I'd left my bike key inside. There, I found my girlfriend watching television and crying. We sat in disbelief and disgust as we wondered about friends who lived or worked near the financial district and where they may be in the mess. It got worse as innocent people flung themselves out of windows rather than burn alive. I don't ever want to forget that entire morning, nor am I repentant for feeling so.
posted by dhoyt at 11:03 AM on September 11, 2003


f&m: can you ever resist the urge to piss all over a thread? We know what' you're going to say, what you're going to link to. If you'd like, we could create a perl script that makes f&m-bot posts just like yours. It would no diffferent. Except that maybe it wouldn't piss everywhere it went. Thanks for contributing nothing relevant.
posted by xmutex at 11:23 AM on September 11, 2003


My thoughts on this day can be found here.
posted by Plunge at 12:08 PM on September 11, 2003


Wow Mo Nickles - thanks for posting that link. That is a very powerful piece on a topic we've all mistakenly tried to forget.
posted by pitchblende at 12:09 PM on September 11, 2003


i remember well the morning jfk was assassinated, though i was only 11. i had the "early" lunch period of the two, and lived only a block or so from home. on returning to the schoolyard from lunch (my mom was as yet oblivious to what had happened - in those days people didn't just leave a television set running) another kid told me excitedly that "kenny" had been shot in the head. the playground was agog with the news that ken donmeyer, a kid in our class had been shot. other kids had the correct story, confusion reigned, and it wasn't until the bell rang and we were confronted with teachers crying openly that many of us finally understood. and at age 11, even though the shooting of ken donmeyer would have been a much more incredible event to us, i remember that the sight of the adults in grief sent a terrible shiver up my spine. and in the years since, i've only felt that shiver twice - once was when my wife began hemmoraging a week after our daughter was born and i saw the pool of blood on the car seat when we got to the hospital, the other was september 11, 2001.
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on September 11, 2003


Ditto what pitchblende said. Thank you, Mo Nickles. That is an astonishing piece of writing.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:25 PM on September 11, 2003


Likewise, Mo, thank you for that excellent post.
posted by LinusMines at 12:30 PM on September 11, 2003


Thanks, mo, for that great link. Here's more on Richard Drew, the photographer, and how that picture came about, and what the reaction to it has been.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2003


Mo Nickels - thanks for that, it's a excellent essay, not least because it somewhat reflects my own feelings about those pictures and their being published.
posted by biscotti at 1:11 PM on September 11, 2003


Ditto on Mo Nickles' link. I caught that piece via Blogdex yesterday. It's a long piece, but if you read it all, the last few paragraphs - which, on their own, would seem a bit melodramatic - are absolutely ... incredible.

Of course, in Hawaii, Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance for more than one reason.
posted by pzarquon at 1:19 PM on September 11, 2003


As I walked into my building this morning I chanced to look up and see that the big flag was at half-staff. And I remembered, which is what madamjujujive wanted with this thread.
posted by tommasz at 1:35 PM on September 11, 2003


Saw Mo's esquire link posted on another blog today, and just spent a good 40 minutes reading it and retouching the horror and empathy and raw nerve of 9/11. Powerful powerful article. Came here to see if it had already been posted. Very glad to see it had.


.
posted by arielmeadow at 2:57 PM on September 11, 2003


to the "Jersey Girls"
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on September 11, 2003


.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:17 PM on September 11, 2003


When Words Fail Us
posted by homunculus at 5:44 PM on September 11, 2003


Great link homunculus and worth revisiting today just to remember how widespread the effects of this event were.

quonsar, I know that feeling well and have had almost exactly the same experience, except that it was before my eldest daughter was born, which is even worse. I too felt it on September 12 2001.
posted by dg at 6:36 PM on September 11, 2003


I fall squarely in the "all feelings are valid" camp for a thread on a day such as this. Like the cited survivors, we all recover at a different pace.

If there was one moment of beauty in all the horror of those days, it was the way people came together in response to pain and suffering of our fellow man - a moment of common humanity that seemingly spanned the globe.

For me, 9/11 will always two things: first, a discrete and watershed historic event that will forever be associated with a place and a people.

Second, for me it is also a symbol of the depths and heights to which the human spirit can rise. When I felt the greatest despair at man's seemingly bottomless capacity for cruelty to fellow man, I was warmed by the embrace of global neighbors and touched by the unselfishness, generosity and kindness of strangers.

For many of us, 9/11 was up close and personal, "our" awful event. In remembering this, I think we do no disservice to the victims to also recall other moments of despair and suffering in our human family, particularly those that have sprung forth from divisive ideology.

Were you like me? After 9/11, I was, for a time, a better person. I cherished my friends and family more. I noticed the world and all its tiny details more. I was less petty, less inclined to snap or snipe, less prone to fault-finding. Was I able to sustain this? Sadly, not so much.

If there is one tribute I would hope to pay to the victims of this sad day, it would be this: to keep an open heart, to cherish the people around me more, to be kinder, to be more generous, to have compassion for my global neighbors, to commit to peace. If each of us could capture a bit of the person we were in the wake of this awful event, I suspect our world would be a better place.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:53 PM on September 11, 2003


madamjujujive: What you felt there was your own mortality and your connection to other humans as a result of same. It's an old, old story - see, at the extreme: The asshole who has a heart attack and is suddenly wonderful to everyone, at least for a few days or weeks. What made it a bit more unusual was having millions feel this way at the same time, in an era marked by insularity and self-absorption. It felt like a wake-up call from the world.

But it's hard not to feel ambivalent about the day now - and any somber commemoration of it - since so much nastiness has followed. It was just a tragic day all around. Or at least this is true if you weren't a victim, or related to a victim, or living in New York. I could see having mixed feelings even then.

In some not-too-distant future, maybe, Americans will look back upon the day and think, What went wrong there, after that? What on Earth happened?
posted by raysmj at 8:11 PM on September 11, 2003


Late I know, but I just came across this large (2.7m) jpg of Manhattan taken on Sept 7 2003 ...
posted by carter at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2003


madamjujujive, Ignatius J. Reilly, fold_and_mutilate, homunculus, pardonyou?, Mo Nickels, and homunculus ... thanks for the interesting, varied, and thought provoking links.

The events of September 11, 2001 affected hundreds of thousands of people, in diverse places around the world. Two of the hijackers - Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari - left for New York from one of most unlikely locations imaginable ... my hometown, Portland, Maine. This is the story of how the life of one woman - who never met either of the hijackers or anyone who died in the subsequent attacks - had her life changed forever by those events.
posted by anastasiav at 10:52 AM on September 18, 2003


Thanks for the follow-up Maine articles anastasiav. I was quite shaken by the Maine connection at the time because I lived in Portland for a decade. Fabulous city, and quite the unlikely place for this sad saga to start.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:47 PM on September 18, 2003


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