September 11

Forever more, this date will have significant meaning to everyone.  I’m sure that bloggers everywhere will share their thoughts on this date.  I’d like to add my own.  A common theme will undoubtedly be – where were you?  I’m sure that everyone who lived it recalls it as vividly as if it happened yesterday.

In my case, I was in Essex helping our IBM representative set up new computers at our professional learning centre.  The phone rang and it was my secretary who was very terse.  “Turn on the television.”  I knew from the tone in her voice that something was up and I asked which channel.  “It doesn’t matter.”  The television had previously been on WDIV, Channel 4 in Detroit and it was literally within seconds that we saw the second airplane crash into the second Trade Centre tower.

Two other things stick in my memory from that date.  Later in the day, I had to return to the offce and for some reason I took Riverside Drive which passes under the Ambassador Bridge.  I recall Windsor Police stationed all around the base of the bridge.  Even later that day as I headed home, I remember there being no aircraft in the sky – a rather unique event since flight paths in and out of Detroit Metro Airport are such that there are always planes to be seen.

We now know what happened, of course, and our world has never been the same.  The longest, friendliest border in the world is not nearly as friendly.  Flying is more of a planned event because of the extra planning.  I even had to get a passport.  My Ontario driver’s license was no longer sufficient for something as simple as going to a Detroit Tigers’ baseball game.

But, on that morning, it was bizarre.  It didn’t matter what channel that you changed to.  Every channel was reporting about the same thing.  I wonder if any other historical event has ever commanded so much news coverage.  As the 10th year anniversary of the event approaches, stories are all over the news again.

It is the volume of news reports and memories that will remain with us.  To help understand the events of that day, the Internet Archive has pulled together news from September 11 to September 17 from news channels worldwide.

The resource is entitled “Understanding 9/11” and available here.  Starting with September 11 at 8:00am ET, witness the reporting for the following week from AZT, BBC, BET, CCTV3, CNN, GLVSN, IRAQ, MCM, NEWSW, NHK, NTV, TCN, WETA, WJLA, WORLDNET, WRC, WSBK, WTTG, and WUSA.  The newsclips are divided into roughly 30 second videos and arranged on a timeline.  Hover over the indicators on the top of the timeline for a summary of what was happening at that moment.

It’s not a resource that I’m happy to share with readers of this blog but it is an important resource.  It reminds me of that day and the video and memories will never go away.

Where were you?  What are your memories?

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7 thoughts on “September 11

  1. Just wanted to say hello to you, Doug, this morning. Thanks for all of the links and memories. I’ll take a closer look later–racing this morning!


  2. I was working on the edge of Pearson in Toronto. After we’d heard all close US landings were being redirected to Canadian sites I walked out side and looked up. The Pearson wedding cake (the orbital parking lot above the airport where planes line up to land) was stacked like I’d never seen it before. The tarmac had planes parking on the edges of the runways, it was unbelievable.

    Watching the planes dropping down the cake to land, I watched the pilots approaching and landing, they looked twitchier than normal, wingtips wobbled like the usually didn’t, and you could almost feel the relief when wheels were down.

    Every one of the pilots must have been wondering how they didn’t pick up that cross country flight out of Boston to LA that morning.


  3. Not sure I can relay all my turmoil here. But if this is how I am feeling, and I am just a witness who experienced 911 from such a distance, I cannot fathom how those who experienced the actual event must be feeling today. My heart goes out to them, and to everyone affected in every way by this tragedy.
    Like many, I was teaching and at school, and besides managing my own horror, I had the responsibility of deciding how to deal with informing and talking with my students who could tell something was happening, and were asking. It changed the day, the week, the entire year.
    But this was not a drop in the bucket compared to my friend Bob in New Jersey, who teaches in a private school close along the river across from NYC. He told me about all of the teachers and students going outside to see what was going on, and watching as the second plane flew into the 2nd tower and explode on impact. He and his students had mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and other relatives working in those towers, and on the hundreds of rescue teams inside. They watched the towers across the river explode and fall. He teaches Grade 7 students like mine. But unlike mine, some of his students actually watched their parents and friends die before their eyes.
    That single insight has given me a deeper appreciation of the effects of your home and family being attacked in a war in your own land. So today, my special thoughts and prayers go out to Bob Tarencz and all of the teachers and students who watched in horror that day. 11, 12, or 13? They’d be around 22 now. Who are they now? I know it changed their lives forever, but the biggest question for me is, WHO have they become? Some weeks from now, I will call Bob, and I ask him.


  4. Hi Doug,
    I tweeted my memories from ten years ago, but here I can elaborate a bit more than 140 characters. I have a notoriously bad memory, but this event still stays fresh in my mind.
    I was teaching in an inner-city school. A fellow teacher got a cell phone call from a friend alerting her about what was happening. At morning recess, while the kids were outside, many of us went to her classroom, where she had pulled out a TV (her room had the cable link) and we saw those horrible images of the burning towers. Our principal told us not to say much to the students because she didn’t want us to upset them.
    After recess, I had a grade 5 French class (I did prep coverage for the French teacher) and I remember telling the kids that this day was going to be one they’d never forget, that this was one that would live on in history. Somehow I still taught my lesson. At lunch I phoned my husband, who is an American. I was so worried his family “back home” were in harm’s way. He said he spent most of the morning glued to the TV and that he was safe. A friend of mine gave birth to her daughter that day.


  5. Hello Doug,
    On this day ten years ago, I was sitting in my fifth grade class at Allentown Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama. Another teacher came running in the classroom and told my teacher to turn the tv on. Me and my classmates were confused at first as to what was going on. I remember them letting us all out of school early that day, and coming home to watch it on tv with my parents. I was only ten years old but I remember it very well. It was such a tragic day that none of us will ever forget.


  6. Ten years ago, I got a phone call at work from a friend who asked me if I had access to a TV. I said no. He said, we are being attacked, but we don’t know by whom. At first I thought he was joking, but then I went to a computer and found CNN online or some other news agency streaming live pictures of the plane flying into the first tower and then the second. My heart just sank, and also the ones of my co-workers who had radios playing which broadcasted the news of the attacks, who then joined me. We just stood there in utter silence,disbelief and shock. The remainder of the day at work was or is just a big blurr. I am not sure how me managed on getting any more work done. But I remember coming home to my kids, turning the TV on and seeing the images over and over again, hugging my kids tightly and crying. I had a friend living in New York at that time who had a Business office near the towers. I managed to get a hold of him 2 days later.

    So today I chose not too turn on the TV. Today I chose not to read, look or follow anything that had anything to do with 9/11. Why? Because that is the way commemorated this infamous day, the people that died and the heroes that emerged. The images of that day are ever lasting, none of us will ever forget. So my tribute was a quiet one, one that made a lot of sense to me, maybe not to others, but for me it was the right thing to do.


  7. Doug,

    Thank-you for writing about 9/11. I’ve been struggling with how to address this with my students. While I remember very clearly where I was (on a beef farm near Wroxeter), my students have little connection to this historic event, other than what they’ve read. I also have students in my class who have lost parents in tragic events. For that reason, I wonder – do I even address this? But it needs to be.

    Tonight as I’m watching 60 Minutes and reading the news, I think I’ve found my answer. Present the Canadian involvement – how Canadians pulled together in Gander and beyond.

    I’ll ask my students the following: What does it mean to show compassion? How can we demonstrate this in our daily lives?

    It’s important to remember. So again, thanks for posting.


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