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Friday, September 11, 2020

9/11. 19 years on. Still Feels Like Yesterday.

 (The annual "reprinting" of my inaugural post on Sept. 11, 2011. We shall never forget.)

Aloha,


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."
Source: Anthony Grimley

Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.

That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seat belt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."


On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.)

I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.

May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.

One of 343 firefighters who sacrificed everything, Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP

4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember your story about this date. We came together as a country then. Shame we can't do it now.

Elephant's Child said...

This year, the memories of that dreadful day have been more subdued. Lest we forget indeed.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I woke up early because my daughters (2 and 6 weeks) were up. We turned on the TV because a family member told us too (she was too choked up to explain. I sat in shock and watched the tower footage far too many times, crying, with both daughters in my arms. I will never forget.
And, I am so thankful for the first responders that day and every day, and for those who weren't trained but who stepped up. I hope I can be that brave some day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark - I remember this post about this appalling event - and the sad turn of life for you with those deals falling through. I just hope you're coping now: not doing FB - I don't really keep up ... take care and all the best Hilary

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