Eleven years ago my sister Frances (who had a flight booked back to Norway on Sept. 12) woke me up on my day off to tell me that some dumb-ass hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.
Her and all our Norwegian family had actually been in NYC mere days before; some of the group had even decided against visiting the Towers due to time, thinking they’d just check them out next time they were in NYC.
I finally got my lazy and groggy ass downstairs to where she was watching the coverage, trying to wrap my head around what she’d said. A plane hitting one of the Towers? What kind of moron would fuck up that badly? Did they get their pilot’s license from Mister Magoo?
Frances and I watched as the news replayed the footage over and over, amazed that someone would be so stupid: was the pilot asleep? Was he drunk?
“That last replay looked weird,” said Frances. She was right; there was too much smoke already, the angle of impact looked different.
We looked at each other, innocence and questions dissolving as eyes widened in realization: our sense of safety had been thieved, nevermore to give us comfort.
We watched the live coverage, not out of morbid fascination, or entertainment, but out of a duty. This sneak attack, this coward’s murder, this point Ouroboros of violence… we were to witness it, to remember it.
We watched, so we may never forget it, so we may remind those who are unyielding in their devotion, so we may teach the future. Never forget, never repeat.