Your 9/11 Stories

Watcher
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Your 9/11 Stories

Hey guys,

I was sitting here dwelling on morose memories and it gave me an idea.  A lot of people see the events of 9/11 and everything that has happened since then as the reason why most of us atheists have become so vocal in America about religion recently.  I agree with those people.  So because I think it may be good for any of us with a story to tell about 9/11 or even about the following wars to leave it here.  Then we can see how these events affected us and make some of us get involved like we are.  Even if by just discussing about religion here.

So I'll start with my story.

I don't know how many people ever go crazy, mind-disorder level, insanely in love with someone in their life.  The kind that really screws you up where it affects everything.  I've only experienced it once.  And to tell you the truth, I never want it to happen again.  Maybe I was just in a weird spot in my head.

I was in the United States Navy for 6 years.  1997-2003.  In 1999 I took part in a six month cruise to the mediteranean.  One of the places we visited there was Israel.  While we were there we met a young woman who mainly had lived in the US but went to Israel to serve a compulsory 2 year stint in the Israeli army in order to keep her citizenship with Israel.  She was a dual citizen with the US.

She was awesome.  Took us around to restaurants, clubs, the beach.  lol  One time she got into an argument with a bouncer that tried to not let us into a club because were weren't jews.  She won.  I can't really describe how she affected me.  But it was strong.  What made it worse was that she seemed to return some affection to me overtly.  My friends could see it more clearly than me and told me about it. 

Well you can imagine how much worse that pained me.  We stayed there one week.  And left.  I couldn't eat.  I couldn't sleep.  In the first week I lost 7 lbs.  After 3 weeks I was down 15 lbs.  It was some sort of insanity I had entered.  I'd just sit in corners and think.  I had a prolonged depression afterwards that really dragged me down.

Well I kept up email with her for a while.  And then lost contact with her.  I moved on, got a girlfriend, moved in with her.  But all the time that jewish minx sat in the back of my mind. 

After a while I managed to regain contact with her and found out how she was doing.  She had finished her stint in the military and had returned to the states.  She was living with the boyfriend she had before she had left and had got a job at a travel agency.

They lived in New Jersey and she commuted to NYC for work.  I have no idea where her travel agency was located at in NY.  I kept up contact with her and even got to see her again when my ship made a port call in NYC in Oct 2000.  She was everything I remembered.  But we both had a "special someone" at the time.  But I had told her about how she affected me and we talked about it.  She seemed very flattered.

The last time I heard from her was September 9th, 2001.  We were talking on the phone and she was very happy.  Her best friend was flying in the next day for a visit.

Well when 9/11 went down my ship was scrambled to guard NYC from any other planes.  We had orders to shoot down anything we detected in the sky.  But we didn't detect anything.  All we did was sit there for 4 days watching the giant pillar of smoke.

I tried emailing her from the ship.  No response.  After we got back to the base for a few days before being sent overseas to fight Afghanistan I tried calling her.  No longer in service.

And that's all I know.

I don't know if she's dead or alive.

But year after year of scrolling through the dead from the WTCs and not seeing her name(but reading about all the body parts found that have not been identified), and searching aimlessly through the internet, every 6 months or so emailing her old email address waiting for a reply that never comes...

There were at least two travel agencies in the WTC.  I checked.

These could all be coincidences and she could be happy, married, playing with her child right now.

I think the worst thing is just not fucking knowing.

So for the record.  FUCK ALL RELIGIONS.


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Wow Watcher,that was a

Wow Watcher,that was a really moving story. I can only hope she is somewhere alive and well.And that you find out one day.

 

Well, asI don't live in America,9/11 didn't affect me that much.I have one clear memory though of my fundy mother clapping and exclaiming," This must mean the rapture will be soon!" as thousands died.And none of us saw anthing wrong with that..

so ya,screw religion

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My story isn't as moving as

My story isn't as moving as yours, Watcher, but it is a little spooky that some things are similar. 

 

I was also in the Navy...1997-2006.  On 9/11 itself, I was in...of all things...Safety Petty Officer school.  We just went to school that day, nothing out of the ordinary, and per the instructions given by our facilitator, we were studying quietly.  Someone came into the classroom and announced that the World Trade Center in New York had been hit by an airplane.  Subsequent interruptions created some confusion; one tower was hit, both towers were hit, something about the Pentagon and something about Pennsylvania.  Our facilitator knew that between the multiple interruptions and the obvious fact that something significant had happened, and told us to go to a room with a television in it.  We saw the video of the first tower burning and the second being hit over and over...until the towers came down.  *That,* we saw live.  Someone in the room remarked, "Welcome to World War III."  Myself, I would have told you at the time that I couldn't believe it was an attack.  Looking back, I know now that I just didn't *want* to believe it...and, well...who would?  I even asked out loud if it was some kind of horrible mistake.  I was assured that it was indeed an attack.  We were dismissed for the entire week soon thereafter.  My ship of the time was scheduled to leave on a deployment soon thereafter...so, after a couple of days patrolling around New York, a couple days in Norfolk to pick up any final supplies..we were off...on schedule...but without the originally-scheduled Med cruise.  Someone in my duty section during the two days before leaving remarked that they were looking forward to the ports we would be hitting.  I had to tell them that that entire schedule had been scuttled--which my Division Officer, who overheard these remarks quickly confirmed.

 

After leaving to cross the Atlantic, one of our chiefs pointed out during quarters that someone was missing.  9/11 had killed the grandfather of someone in my division.  So, as you can imagine, every FC onboard had a lock-and-load attitude on that cruise.

 

One thing that I always thought was really smart of...whoever decided to do it...was the fact that the closed-circuit TV system continually replayed footage of the towers being hit, and falling.  That kept everyone in the proper frame of mind, I think.  You must know as well as I do, Watcher, how monotonous the days aboard a ship at sea can be.  It's unspeakably easy to forget why you went there in the first place. 

 

Anyway...that's all I can think of, to tell.

Conor

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Conor Wilson wrote: So, as

Conor Wilson wrote:

So, as you can imagine, every FC onboard had a lock-and-load attitude on that cruise.

You were a FireControlman too?!?!  What ship were you on?  What speciality did you have?

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I was awakened by a knock

I was awakened by a knock on my door.  It was a girl I'd been hanging out with, but we weren't dating yet.  She told me that the tower had been hit by a plane, but nobody knew for sure what was happening yet.  Basically, we sat in front of the tv for most of the day watching as the whole thing unfolded.

Somewhere around 4pm, I asked, "Have you noticed how the media has been changing their story all day?  At first, it was Osama Bin Laden, and now they're talking about Hussein.  Those two hate each other, don't they?  Hussein doesn't have any al-Qaeda ties... he couldn't, could he?  Aren't they enemies?"

That was my first suspicion that something was amiss.

As far as atheist influence, I can say it didn't have a whole lot of direct influence on my activism.  I've always been more concerned with the cultural and personal effects of theism than the political.  I'm pretty sure people will always find reasons to kill each other, even without religion, but I think it's possible that people might be nicer to each other at work, and at home, without theism.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Conor Wilson
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I worked on the Q-21

I worked on the Q-21 display system, and I was on the Bataan at the time.

Conor

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Conor Wilson wrote: I

Conor Wilson wrote:

I worked on the Q-21 display system, and I was on the Bataan at the time.

Conor

The Q-21 display system?  Only one system?  I worked on the UYH-3, UYK-43, RD-345, etc., etc.  I might have some of those names messed up.  Been a few years.

So you were an Aegis Display Tech I think?  I was an Aegis Computer Tech.  We were combined with the display techs on my ship.

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9/11 really had no impact on

9/11 really had no impact on my religious beliefs.

This is probably because I was in the sixth grade at the time.

I first heard about it in gym class. One of the kids next to me said "hey, you know the Russians nuked New York?"

I believed him too. Then the gym teacher came by and told us that someone had flown a small plane into the world trade center, that only a couple of people were killed and that there was nothing to worry about.

I believed him until the end of the day when I turned on the television. That was nuts.

The more I look back at it though, the more I revile everyone's responses to what happened as overly hysterical and militaristic. There was nothing special about "that day". The world didn't really change. It was just a criminal act that had an unusually high number of casualties. It wasn't an "attack". We weren't "at war". But everybody went on with that train of thought and now we've got people dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only thing 9/11 really did to this country was make it excessively patriotic, militaristic, and religious.


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I had been off the night

I had been off the night before and was watching Good Mornig America - they broke into something they were doing to say there was a fore in the WTC due to a plane crash. Later they were talking to someone who thought it was a missile. At the time, they were filming the 2 towers - one burning - then you saw the other plane hit. Then we all knew it was terrorism.

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Actually, Watcher, the Q-21

Actually, Watcher, the Q-21 system is an overarching system, consisting of components like the UYH-3 (which I never actually worked on) the UYH-16 (which I did,) the UYK-43 and *all* *those* *consoles.*  So, we're *both* display techs, near as I can tell.

Conor

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9-11 pushed me towards

9-11 pushed me towards reading more about religions of the world. It was right around that time that I realized my 'non-belief' wasn't as strange as I had begun to think it was...the religions were strange.

As for my 9-11 moment, I was pulling into the parking lot at work, listening to Mancow (think howard stern for chicago*but not as funny) and they started talking about how a plane had crashed into the WTC in New York. I smiled, I thought it was some prank they were pulling. Well, I turned off my car and went inside and begun working. 10 minutes had passed as some frazzled women in the office started chattering about what they heard on the way to work, I listened as they described the events they heard on the local AM station ... which confirmed what I had written off as a joke! We basically sat around the TV all day watching as things happened.

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Conor Wilson

Conor Wilson wrote:

Actually, Watcher, the Q-21 system is an overarching system, consisting of components like the UYH-3 (which I never actually worked on) the UYH-16 (which I did,) the UYK-43 and *all* *those* *consoles.*  So, we're *both* display techs, near as I can tell.

Oh.  You were one of the "new generation" of Aegis techs.   lol  Actually no, I was never a display tech.  They consolidated the "computer techs" and "display techs" after I went through Dahlgren.  Like a year or two.

You had the UYH-16 systems?  Spoiled!!!  lol

UYH-3's were such a bitch...

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Meh, Connnor and Watcher, I

Meh, Connnor and Watcher, I was a Boatswains Mate, '90-'94 on the wrong coast (West Coast).  I got to spend some time in Desert Storm though.  Yay for that.  Anyway, my 9/11 story isn't quite as interesting as yours, Watcher, since I wasn't even on inactive reserve at the time.  I was, however, on a flight from Minneapolis to Dallas, with a connection to El Paso that morning.  We got to Dallas ok, but the flight monitors said all flight were "Delayed".  It wasn't until I saw the F/A-18's (I think they were anyway, those suckers were moving!) patrolling the airspace around the airport that I thought maybe I should find out what was going on.  Got to a T.V. just in time to see the second tower fall.

As far as affecting my atheism, it really didn't.  But I did feel an overwhelming urge to re-enlist.  Yes, I'm an atheist and a patriot.  For all it's faults, religious crap, intolerance, and status as one of the most hated nations on earth, I do love my country.  My wife convinced me that fighting a war was a younger mans game, however, so I did not in fact re-enlist.  I admit I didn't really think all that much about the religious implications of the attack until a year or so later.  And that did affect my activism.  The fact that people are willing to kill innocent civilians over a perceived slight to their religion indicates a level of intolerance and bigotry that I had hoped the world had moved beyond.  I was wrong, and with the current push by the religious right with things like HR 888, apparently we're not that far off from the same mindset here.

Off-topic a bit, but that's the basic problem with religion.  It's divisive by it's very nature.  "My god is better than your god", "heathens burn in hell", "infidels should be beheaded", "no, I don't think atheists should be considered citizens".  At it's core, religion says "I'm better than you because I cling to my particular brand of unproveable beliefs" and rationalizes killing by presenting a mindset of "we're doing what god wants us to".  Anyway, don't let this ol' Boats ramble on too much.

 

~M


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On 9/11, I was in Las Vegas

On 9/11, I was in Las Vegas attending a trade show. I was supposed to fly home on the 11th, so I was up early enough to watch the 2nd plane hit the second tower. Shortly after that, the FAA grounded all flights, and I was sitting in a room at Bally's glued to the television like everyone else.

After a few days of this, I started getting itchy to get the hell out of there and go home. I started wandering around the casino, and ran into a co-worker of mine who lived in Phoenix. I found out that he had rented a car and drove up to LV, rather than fly. He told me that he was leaving in 20 minutes, and that I could have his rental if I dropped him off in Phoenix. I ran up and packed my things and ran back down to the lobby. When I found my co-worker friend, he was holding a sign. The sign read, "Car leaving for Chicago -- 10 minutes." He said he didnt feel comfortable sending me across country by myself, so he wanted to recruit me some help. I didnt think he'd find anyone in 10 minutes, but sure enough, 4 Polish guys from Chicago walk over and ask if they can go with us. We pile into the car, drop my friend off in Phoenix, then drive straight through to Chicago. 2 stops by police for speeding, 3 stops at McDonald's, 1 time getting lost, 26 hours later -- 1 really stinky rented Mazda 626.

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I was at work.  My mom had

I was at work.  My mom had called me to tell me someone crashed a plane into the twin towers.  I thought to myself 'that's a major fuck up.  How the hell did that happen?'.  Then another secretary got a phone call from her daughter saying a second plane had hit.  I knew then that this was  no mistake.  We all had the internet up at our computers to watch what was going on.  My friend who lived in Portland OR called me - she couldn't get a hold of her family and she had some close family friends that worked in the towers.  There wasn't anything I could do to help her because after I hung up with her I couldn't make any more calls.  All the lines were busy for hours.  Our boss finally let us leave early and go home.  

As I was driving a bunch of police cars were speeding past me with their lights on - heading to the city, I guess - can't be sure.  There were also alot military planes flying from Fort Dix.  Later that night we drove up to High Point - you could see the smoke still billowing from 40 miles away. 

Afterward there was just so much confusion.  I had friends who couldn't get in touch with loved ones that lived in the city, I had friends who worked in the city and couldn't get out.  I know people who lost loved ones in the towers.

I sometimes feel very keenly... unsafe when I go to work.  There are always cops, National Guards and other military roaming around the train stations, the subways.  The random bag searches are a bit unnerving, as is the fact that they sometimes have very large guns on them (sorry, I know nothing about weapons, lol).  And sometimes when the skyline comes into view, I still look for the towers.  Habit, I guess.

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It was my day off, I turned

It was my day off, I turned on TV and I could not believe my eyes and felt such anger.

It is hard to imagine for me as non-american what kind of feelings that act can wake up. Fear ? Hate ? Anger ? Need to get revenge ? Probably all.

Ecrasez l'infame!