9|11

As if it’s not known, today was the 5th anniversary of 9|11 (note that there are a few news organizations that are using the pipe instead of the slash in their “primary” logo for commemoration, yet most graphics have the slash).

I can still remember where I was when I first had heard the news; I was up at college and at the time that the actual attacks had occured, I was on my way over to my 8AM class (it was in the main campus of the university, about a 10-15 minute bustrip from where my dorm was). During the class – a physics lab which involved using carts and video cameras hooked up to systems running Windows 2000 – we heard nothing. On my way to the next class, which involved another bus trip, I heard people talking about these what I thought were rumours that the World Trade Center had been destroyed. Not knowing exactly what was going on, I was nervous about whether or not these people would try to attack the city I was in, and the fact that I was on the third floor of a three-story building didn’t make me too comfortable.

Classes that day were suspended at 12:00 (quite against the trend of the rest of the country), and I took a trip back to my dorm where I had the first opportunity to actually see this footage. Interestingly, instead of parking myself in front of a TV or just listening to a radio, I actually went out and did stuff – including making a trip to the supermarket (I still have the savings club card for that store even though it hasn’t been used or even needed for almost four years now) to get the papers.

The rest of the day was spent watching TV (on one of my roommates’ computers as mine had gone dead the day that I had arrived there), and I remember finding a bit of odd pleasure in seeing a grief counselor appear at about 1:00 AM.

My story aside, one of the themes for the day has been how these events have changed the country. They have, for sure. First, we’ve all learned that it’s easier to take shoes off when going through an airport, unless you wish to be wanded by someone. Secondly, threat levels, instead of being addressed directly, are assigned a color. Third, news on TV is almost always constantly available (at least outside of commercials) at the bottom of your screen – even during the local newscasts.

Lastly – for a lot of people who are like me, their birthdays no longer are “their” day, but I’m to the point now that it’s ok to be happy on this day. Despite the media’s thinking, we aren’t going to forget what happened on this day, but business now goes forward perfectly fine, so why shouldn’t birthday celebrations?