A Tuesday like No Other

Thoughts on a 9-11 anniversary that falls on a Tuesday just as it did 11 years ago.

Last year, the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks didn't seem to elicit much of a reaction in me. I wrote one blog post that dealt with the physical, personal, and economic toll of America's response to the attacks via the War on Terror ... the war in Afghanistan, the number of wounded and killed American soldiers, the casualties suffered by the Afghan people, etc. But, the decade commemoration itself was not as noteworthy for me, troubling though that may be to some people.

I think it was the higher level of attention the 10-year mark received from the media, the government, the city of New York and all those smaller communities that the tragedy touched that might have muted my own personal reaction. These were people who were more directly and personally affected that rightfully deserved and received the attention of a country still mourning in many ways that tragic September day.

So I was a bit surprised to feel a bit more connected to this year's anniversary - the 11th. Not uneasy exactly ... pensive might be the better word. Why was a bit of a mystery to me.

Then I realized that this year's anniversary would fall on a Tuesday. And that's when it clicked. Due to that quirky 11-year Roman calendar cycle, September 11 this year would fall on the very day of the week it occurred in September 2001. Tuesday ... a bright, clear sunny day ... cloudless sky, Indian summer temps ... a Tuesday in Manhattan.

I was at work that day. Had just gotten to my desk at the Naval Inventory Control Point (now NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support) at 8:30 that morning, and almost immediately heard about a private plane that had crashed into The World Trade Center in New York City. I remember thinking what stupid pilot could crash into such a huge building on a cloudless, crystal clear day. When I found one of the randomly placed TV monitors located throughout the work spaces, I was struck by the size of the hole punctured in the side of the North Tower, almost like an aluminum can pierced by a bullet. The hole didn't look right. It was too big for a private plane. So when I heard it was a larger airliner, I wasn't surprised ... just more confused by the apparent ineptitude required to cause such a tragedy.

Then I saw the second plane hit, and the horror took on a totally different meaning.

I won't bore you with my reactions to all the horrors that unfolded that day or the painful images we were to view over the following days and weeks. What I will share were two reactions that for some reason have stayed with me through this decade-plus-one since that Tuesday in September.

The first was related to a local event that occurred just the weekend before ... the semi-regular airshow at the now shuttered had just concluded the Sunday before the attacks. I can remember thinking that many of those pilots and ground troops that showed off their skills for the tax-paying public over those three days would soon be heading into harm's way, actual combat, and the very real possibility of not coming home.

My second reaction was that Tuesday evening, taking a walk with the dog, and looking up into what's normally a very active Northeastern sky. I was struck by the absolute absence of any moving lights in that dark, star-filled sky ... no air traffic at all ... The realization that "they" could hit us here and could disrupt our normal everyday lives. The thought gave me an empty, chilled feeling.

I just know if Tuesday morning opens with clear blue skies and Indian summer temperatures that empty chill will be back cold and hard in the pit of my stomach.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

J Higgins September 11, 2012 at 01:23 PM
We had just moved into Horsham, and were thrilled by the planes flying over our home during the air show on September 8-9 of 2001. It was stunning that only 48 hours after the joy of the air show I drove by the main gate of the Air Station on the way home from work and saw grim-faced soldiers standing behind sandbag blockades, machine guns pointed to stop anyone or anything from coming in from Route 611. It is a day that no one will ever forget.
Robert Applegarth September 11, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Thank you Mr. Shortall. It is said that time heals all wounds, maybe not in this instance. God bless those who were lost, God bless our military and God bless America.
Mike Shortall Sr September 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM
That's another lasting image for me as well. I can remember seeing those young men standing outside the main gate with what looked like huge matted-black shotguns and M-16s. The same could be observed the first day we were able to return to work at the NSA compound in NE Philly.
Mike Shortall Sr September 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Could not have said that better ...
Bill September 11, 2012 at 06:09 PM
As much I believe we should never forget this horrible tragedy 11 years ago, I think we should also remember the positives that came from it. The days and weeks following this day our country came together in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime. Democrat and Republican, Male and Female, Black and White, Gay and straight, we were in this together; I just wish we as a nation could have found a way to continue that and truely get along.


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