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Is 9/11 hitting anyone different this year?


Mrs Tiggywinkle
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It might just be me.

I’m working a couple hours this morning and when I stopped for my coffee in uniform someone bought it for me and thanked me for what I do. I literally started crying.

I grew up in a firefighting family and live near the NY firefighter academy, where my grandmother worked at the time.  We knew a several firefighters who died.  I have a distant cousin who was a broker who died in the towers.   It’s been a rough year and we’re overwhelmed with Covid and always short staffed because there’s no hospital beds and we’re transporting patients 3-5 hours away.  I’ve known a couple first responders this year that caught Covid on the job and died. I caught Covid on the job and am still not 100% almost a year later. I can’t taste or smell and what I can taste is terrible. I can’t eat to the point we are going to have to talk about TPN. I’m down from around 160 to 120 pounds.
 

I’m not saying any of this for sympathy.  I just wondered if anyone else is feeling it differently this year.

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I am because we're hearing so many first-hand accounts of it this year, on the 20th anniversary.  Anything I turn on or read has touching, devastating, inspiring, emotional stories being shared.  It has brought back a lot of feelings, and then I've wondered about how, as the years went on, I really didn't think about it much.  

Also, three fighter jets just flew over our city now, at the exact time the attacks began.  

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A little bit.

This is the first year I’ve really dug into it with the not-so-little boys, and the 14yo is at a special ceremony this morning. I ALWAYS struggle to talk about it with the kids. I don’t have direct ties to people lost or injured, but enough proximity that my 14yo has decided my experiences that day are why I’m afraid of jets flying over my house. Maybe he’s right!

On this anniversary, it just seems so long ago, and yet it remains so vivid.  
Dh soaks up all the coverage every year. I can’t watch more than a few minutes at a time. The kids get to decide for themselves how much to see, but I still hate the idea of them seeing those images. Black and white pictures and fuzzy clips of older history seem a lot less traumatizing to me. Which isn’t to say I think shielding them is the *right thing, just that I struggle with all of it.  And this year is... bigger.

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18 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

A little bit.

This is the first year I’ve really dug into it with the not-so-little boys, and the 14yo is at a special ceremony this morning. I ALWAYS struggle to talk about it with the kids. I don’t have direct ties to people lost or injured, but enough proximity that my 14yo has decided my experiences that day are why I’m afraid of jets flying over my house. Maybe he’s right!

On this anniversary, it just seems so long ago, and yet it remains so vivid.  
Dh soaks up all the coverage every year. I can’t watch more than a few minutes at a time. The kids get to decide for themselves how much to see, but I still hate the idea of them seeing those images. Black and white pictures and fuzzy clips of older history seem a lot less traumatizing to me. Which isn’t to say I think shielding them is the *right thing, just that I struggle with all of it.  And this year is... bigger.

I feel a lot like this. It’s been a struggle for me every year to know how much detail to go into about it, but I feel like this year it’s time to do more. We’ve usually talked about it without looking at pictures, as some of the pictures are traumatic to me. I waver between wanting them to understand a feeling they will never understand (the trauma of this day that so many of us feel) and wanting to spare them from that feeling since they didn’t live it and don’t have to be burdened with it. So far, I have always come down on the side of the latter. This year seems like the right time to share some of the visual news coverage (there are certain parts I see no benefit to sharing), but then I have second thoughts on doing that right now, in the middle of this pandemic that already feels heavy with so much daily suffering and death. Maybe this isn’t the time to add more. 

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I’m actually not on duty today as this is a rare day where I’m not working a 48 hour shift. I realized this morning that there are very few of my colleagues who were even in EMS 20 years ago. There are even a few who were still in diapers back then.

I think it’s hard because this is a big anniversary plus we’re living through another time when first responders are being directly affected by an event. The big difference, of course, is that 9/11 was a singular point in time and today is an ongoing and seemingly never ending pandemic.

I, too, have known nurses and doctors who have died from Covid due to exposures at work. Several of my colleagues who caught it last May are still suffering.

I think Fritz makes a valid point about the 20th anniversary coinciding with the withdrawal from Afghanistan. How could that not affect people regardless of one’s personal political/ideological beliefs or thoughts about that war and the withdrawal?

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They performed Come From Away to a ginormous crowd last night at the Lincoln Memorial. I had other theater tix and have seen it, but a bunch of friends went, so I put on the music as we were coming home from the KC. And it's like, here's this beautiful story about the good elements that came out of 9/11 - the one bright spot of the way people supported each other and welcomed each other and made the best of things (and yes, it wasn't everyone, anti-Muslim bias rose, but also didn't in other quarters where people learned to fight against that more effectively)... and it feels to me like the pandemic has utterly shot my belief that America can ever be that ever again, even a little bit.

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Yes. It’s the first time I’ve ever taught it or discussed it with students. I almost made it through our first read aloud without crying.

I also taught about a historical battle from 1814 that happened on Sept 11th in our town as well yesterday to my students.

It was an interesting juxtaposition. Times change and yet they don’t. So many lives lost in history to different tragedies.

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 I've been thinking about how conspiracy whackos have found a way to monetize and become empowered through their hurtful lies. 9-11 was how Alex Jones and his ilk became mainstream. There is a congressperson who in 2018 or 2019 was still claiming it did not happen the way we think, and then after elected had to admit she was wrongg, yet still found a way to place the blame on the deep state and not her own idiocy. 

I find it hard to balance thewarm feelings about how we all came together, because we seem to not be able to separate the actions of 9-11 with the invasion of a country due to untruths. There were plenty of people who loved his country enough to be horrified at our later actions. It's heartbreaking to think how we would act as a society if something like this happened again.

 I'm always brought to tears listening to the victims names being recited by relatives and loved ones.

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48 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Yes. For me I think it’s the hypocrisy of those I know on FB who are going on and on lamenting the loss of life on 9/11 but who seem to care nothing at all about the 650,000 or so Americans who have so far died of Covid. 

I'm also seeing all the 9/11 "united we stand" stuff and feeling the same way.  I really thought the US would come together to fight covid. 

 

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For me, its related to our pull out in Afghanistan.   I look at pictures and know history will repeat itself- and it could be worse.   We did nothing to combat the true enemy- radical Islam- its continued to grow and thrive.   Articles about women and girls over there- their fears- mixed with 9/11 articles- its terrible.  I expect another bad attack within 5 years.

My DH and I were just talking this morning about how it seems surreal,  even looking at the pictures- that this could happen in our country.  Everyone focuses on the Twin Towers- I'm more bothered by the one that hit the Pentagon and the one set for the White House.  We are more fragile than we think!

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21 minutes ago, happi duck said:

I'm also seeing all the 9/11 "united we stand" stuff and feeling the same way.  I really thought the US would come together to fight covid. 

 

 This is what affects me more today. Anniversaries of tragedies are always sad. But what have we learned? It wasn't about faith or religion, but a hatred of others. And we are so deep in that, still today. 

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My sister in law died that day.  It hurts every year being surrounded by people who throw up a hashtag or picture on social media and go on with their regular day.  Because it feels like they have forgotten.  It especially feels that way this year.  We turned down 4 invitations for parties, a happy hour and something else today.  The ACTs took place this morning.  Adults who lived through 9/11 planned these things for today. Unlike Father’s Day or Thanksgiving, the date doesn’t change year to year.  My child’s high school held a large celebration event this morning.  I reached out to the principal and he responded 9/11 is no different from Pearl Harbor and there have been school sports and other things scheduled on 9/11 in years prior. 

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I had a toddler and a baby then, and I purposely avoided the news. Certainly didn't watch, and only read a few articles. Looking back I'm glad I did because I wasn't traumatized. I was sad for awhile, but I didn't get really upset until awhile later when I did read some emotional stories. Even now I generally avoid the heart tugging angles, and I don't regret it. I don't live near affected places, and didn't lose anyone close to me, so I was able to stay untraumatized both then and now. I feel kind of heartless saying that, but I needed to protect myself because I am sometimes prone to soaking up way too much.

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1 hour ago, footballmom said:

My sister in law died that day.  It hurts every year being surrounded by people who throw up a hashtag or picture on social media and go on with their regular day.  Because it feels like they have forgotten.  It especially feels that way this year.  We turned down 4 invitations for parties, a happy hour and something else today.  The ACTs took place this morning.  Adults who lived through 9/11 planned these things for today. Unlike Father’s Day or Thanksgiving, the date doesn’t change year to year.  My child’s high school held a large celebration event this morning.  I reached out to the principal and he responded 9/11 is no different from Pearl Harbor and there have been school sports and other things scheduled on 9/11 in years prior. 

Wow! I’m so sorry for you loss.   That’s pretty heartless.    I did not lose anyone that day and but I feel the same as you about things being held today.   

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1 hour ago, footballmom said:

My sister in law died that day.  It hurts every year being surrounded by people who throw up a hashtag or picture on social media and go on with their regular day.  Because it feels like they have forgotten.  It especially feels that way this year.  We turned down 4 invitations for parties, a happy hour and something else today.  The ACTs took place this morning.  Adults who lived through 9/11 planned these things for today. Unlike Father’s Day or Thanksgiving, the date doesn’t change year to year.  My child’s high school held a large celebration event this morning.  I reached out to the principal and he responded 9/11 is no different from Pearl Harbor and there have been school sports and other things scheduled on 9/11 in years prior. 

I’m so sorry for your loss. 

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4 hours ago, BusyMom5 said:

For me, its related to our pull out in Afghanistan.   I look at pictures and know history will repeat itself- and it could be worse.   We did nothing to combat the true enemy- radical Islam- its continued to grow and thrive.   Articles about women and girls over there- their fears- mixed with 9/11 articles- its terrible.  I expect another bad attack within 5 years.

My DH and I were just talking this morning about how it seems surreal,  even looking at the pictures- that this could happen in our country.  Everyone focuses on the Twin Towers- I'm more bothered by the one that hit the Pentagon and the one set for the White House.  We are more fragile than we think!

I’m more concerned with the homegrown terrorists that attacked the Capitol. I’m sure you’re correct that we will experience another terrorist attack within the next five years, but it is more likely to come from within than from what you call “the true enemy.” 

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5 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

Yes.

 

I already was yesterday; and then we woke up today to *exactly* the kind of day it was 20 years ago -- cloudless sky, warm not hot, no breeze, a surreally perfect September day.

 

Oh man.  This morning I was walking with my niece after her dance class and got this eerie feeling but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  To try to shake myself of this feeling I commented to my 6 year old niece how beautiful it was outside and just uttering those words made things worse but I couldn't figure out why.  Then I read your post and that is exactly where the eerie feeling came from.

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36 minutes ago, bibiche said:

I’m more concerned with the homegrown terrorists that attacked the Capitol. I’m sure you’re correct that we will experience another terrorist attack within the next five years, but it is more likely to come from within than from what you call “the true enemy.” 

Bush's speech linked above draws this parallel--calling out the lack of distinction between domestic and foreign terrorists, with allusions to the Jan 6th insurrection:

Quote

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit." He added, "It is our continuing duty to confront them.”

I appreciated this from the latter part of his speech as well:

Quote

"On America’s day of trial and grief, I saw millions of people instinctively grab for a neighbor’s hand and rally to the cause of one another. That is the America I know. At a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, I saw Americans reject prejudice and embrace people of Muslim faith. That is the nation I know," he said.

"At a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome of immigrants and refugees. That is the nation I know," he said. "At a time when some viewed the rising generation as individualistic and decadent, I saw young people embrace an ethic of service and rise to selfless action. That is the nation I know."

 

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6 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

Yes.

 

I already was yesterday; and then we woke up today to *exactly* the kind of day it was 20 years ago -- cloudless sky, warm not hot, no breeze, a surreally perfect September day.

 

Yes, the weather today was a beautiful warm fall day so much like that day 20 years ago. I was aware of that as soon as I got up.  Not only that, but 20 years ago I had sent my children off to school and was getting ready to go to lunch with my parents when I turned on the TV and watched the second plane hit the tower. My mom and I have had a lunch date in mid September for several years now and we hesitated when we realized we would be going out this year on September 11th. 

We start our school day with CNN10 and they have a September 11th program. I cry through it every single year and try to tell my kids what an emotional and devastating day it was for the entire country. I didn't lose anyone that day and it's still a very hard day and I have to limit how much I watch or read about it.

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Not emotionally because it’s less close to home.  But when I think about the state of the world for my lifetime there’s two kind of major bookends where the direction of the world kind of changed dramatically and suddenly - Sep 11 and Covid.  Covid and withdrawal from Afghanistan happened at the same time and it definitely feels like an era or a chunk of history that started on Sep 11 came to an end with US withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Of course things have been heading gradual toward that conclusion for a while - withdrawal from Iraq, increasing economic power of China etc.  But this year definitely feels like turning the final page.  Covid now feels like a chapter that may go on far longer than we think though hopefully not 20 years.  But at the beginning of Afghanistan it did feel like we could go in and fix these problems and now it doesn’t, which makes it harder to be hopeful about new chapter.

 

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8 hours ago, Fritz said:

Yes, I think for me it's because of the disasterous exit from Afghanistan.

100% this. 
 

Also, I am in school with a lot of people who are 10-20 years younger than me and it’s SO SAD how little they seem to care or be impacted by 9/11. And that makes sense, they were just kids- babies, even. It’s not like I cry every year on 12/7. I just did not comprehend how quickly the forgetting would begin. 

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8 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

Yes.

 

I already was yesterday; and then we woke up today to *exactly* the kind of day it was 20 years ago -- cloudless sky, warm not hot, no breeze, a surreally perfect September day.

 

Here, too. Beautiful fall sky, with that different type of blue that we get in Sept/Oct. I was immediately struck by it. 

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8 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

Yes.

 

I already was yesterday; and then we woke up today to *exactly* the kind of day it was 20 years ago -- cloudless sky, warm not hot, no breeze, a surreally perfect September day.

 

This. It feels like I’m in a time warp. Reliving the day but I know it’s been 20 years. 

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Yes. I think what hit me hard is that 20 years ago, when the chips were down, we pulled together as a nation. This year we are blitzed with another national calamity, and not only is their so little cooperation to fight it, but leadership is a disaster, and the people who used to be our heroes have been labeled as villains by half the population. It is heartbreaking to think that if another World War occurred the US would be ripe for a take down because half the people are not going to do what is necessary to save the whole because narcissism is rampant and it is every man, woman, and child for themselves. That just really kicked me in the gut today.

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Yes, it’s different. Maybe pulling out of Afghanistan has something to do with it too? For me... DH was a new soldier when it happened. It affected everything on base at the NTC. And this next week? DS is taking the oath and going under contract with ROTC and graduates 2022... So 9/11 feels “close” again?

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Thank you to the PP that posted Bush’s speech today. I appreciated his words. 
I feel safe posting this here. I hate 9/11. I hate hearing “Never forget,” because I can still feel that day. I didn’t lose anyone on 9/11, but that day is still so vivid in my memory. I remember every tiny detail, down to how our furniture was arranged and where I sat and when. My stepsister lived and worked near the towers and the fear we all felt that day is still raw. Every year, I get emotional in the days leading up to the 11th. I contacted my therapist to get an appt this week but she was out in training, so I am not seeing her until next week. It will be the first time I have talked to a “professional” about that day. I was a high-risk pregnancy on 9/11. My neighbor came over with a flag the next day and asked if we wanted him to install it for us. He thought we might want one and knew I wasn’t able to get out to find one. It is odd. What Bush said today about neighbors reaching out to neighbors hand. In a way, that is what we did with the flag. He brought us the flag and we sat and talked. His wife’s plane had been diverted to Canada and it would be days before she made it back home. He was my age and died of cancer just a few years after that. His daughter was just in town last month, with her newborn baby. It really hit me how young my neighbor had been and how much time has passed since 2001. 

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I was reading a post elsewhere last night (it’s 9/12 here) about how everyone came together after 9/11.  But all the United We Stand stuff rang hollow to me to 20 years ago because I have so many Muslim friends, both in the US and overseas.  The days after 9/11 weren’t very unifying when you were watching non-citizen Muslim friends make frantic preparations to fly back to their passport countries because they felt like they wouldn’t be accepted in the US anymore, or hearing about friends who were scared to go outside with a hijab on because of the way they were treated, or seeing a friend get arrested on false terrorism charges and held in solitary confinement for months and months until he was finally cleared and allowed to go home.  His family will never be the same.  And then living in Muslim countries for nearly half of the last 20 years?  I’ve seen the effects of US foreign policy decisions that were driven by 9/11 in so many places, including connections that aren’t so obvious. 

I have friends who are still trying to get people out of Afghanistan.  So yeah, it feels unusually personal this year, partly for political reasons I won’t get into here.

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I think I’m being petty, but it is what it is. 
Some kids not yet born were doing a 110 flights of stairs challenge yesterday, sharing thoughts about emergency personnel climbing all those floors.  
Um. They didn’t.  
They would have, of course, if they could have. But they didn’t. 

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14 hours ago, stephanier.1765 said:

I'm emotional every year and I try hard to skip over the news regarding 9/11. I still take the time to remember but I can't listen to any of the re-plays of videos or audios from that day. I just can't.

Same. I was physically ill when it happened, just overwhelmed by that amount of hate and violence. I was at work, and had to leave and sit outside in the little alley to get myself together enough to go back in. I can't sit through violence in movies, when I know it isn't real, so to see it happen and know it WAS real was overwhelming. 

Most years I go into with my kids to an extent, and end up crying. 

This year, I didn't. I just couldn't touch on it in any kind of supportive, parental, appropriate way. Because it still feels too real, and yet it feels like it never happened. I had no idea how on earth I could try to explain the way the country came together afterward and expect them to believe me. Not after seeing what they have seen. How would I explain how seriously 2,000 deaths were taken when they've watched hundreds of thousands die from covid in the past year and no one cared at all? I don't know how to explain it, so I just didn't. 

We will cover it next year. This year, I focused on my good friend's birthday (poor thing, what a terrible day to have a birthday). And that was it. 

I can't stand listening to people talk about  patriotism when they have shown so little of that value lately. It rings false. (not hear, but in general)

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I believe because it was the 20th anniversary it would have had more impact this year. And then with the bungled evacuation from Kabul, 2 weeks ago, that added to the impact and what may be ahead for the USA and NATO. My DD was 11 months old on that 9/11. Now an entire genration has grown up since 9/11. This is all incredibly sad.  We don't live in the USA, but I remember my (Colombian) wife crying that 9/11 morning. We had discussions about it yesterday. For all of those who perished and their families and for all of those who were sick or are injured, I include them in my prayers.  I have PTSD so I cannot begin to imagine what those with PTSD who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and other countries are going through at this time. 

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