September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

I tend towards the emotionless when it comes to world-changing events. I was watching on television the morning of September 11, 2001, at a fitness center of all things. The news had cut to the story of a plane colliding with one of the towers while I was listening to some very well educated and very well meaning woman moan on about how horrible things were going to be under George W. Bush as we both sweated atop our LifeCycles. She was not one of those rabid ideologues, but she certainly disliked the man and his party.

The second plane hit the South Tower and I instantly put two and two together and came up with four. She did as well, just a few seconds later. She looked at me, slack-jawed, the understanding of what we had just witnessed clear in her eyes.

Understand that when this unfolded I never once doubted that the President had the mettle to face this challenge. I will go even further and tell you that had Albert Gore been President, or even William Jefferson Clinton, I rest assured that they too would have proven to be as American and as resolute as George W. Bush has been. You Americans always tend to underestimate your politicians.

The woman was looking at me, in shock.

“It looks like you have a war on your hands,” I told her.

“Oh… oh my God!”

“Don’t worry, honey. George won’t let you down.”

I left the gym and never went back.

I am not the person to commemorate this date. If you are looking for something more, something with the meaning and gravitas I cannot provide, I strongly recommend visiting two places. First, this excellent entry at The Lemon, proving that satirists understand the world at a level some can only dream of. Second, the Voices project by Michele Catalano of A Small Victory, where you can read the words of many people who seek to express their feelings or share their experiences of that day.

In the end, this date belongs to all of you, American and otherwise. Try to learn the lesson it offers.

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