Today is 9/11 and a lot of people have strong feelings about what happened in New York 15 years ago. Not a lot of people know where I was on that day. I was connecting beams on the 7th floor of a new building in Stamford, CT. It was a nice job site, right on the Long Island Sound where we could usually count on a breeze or two cooling us off periodically. Across the sound I could see Manhattan, I could see the NYC skyline. Which is why I thought it was weird that huge plumes of smoke were billowing across the water.
My partner and I were commenting on how big that fire must be for us to see it. We stared at it as a beam was being hoisted to us. I had a bad feeling about the sight of all that smoke. Even if I didn’t know why… I knew it wasn’t good.
I noticed the beam was stopped midair, justing hanging there. Looking down at the crane operator I saw a look of horror on his face. Now I was positive nothing good had happened in New York.
Eventually my foreman told us to get off the building cause we were headed home. On the ground we learned what happened and why the sky was full of smoke.
People were outside of their houses, some were crying, others were just staring across the water. Their feeling of horror and helplessness was tangible. A feeling of dread hung in the air.
On the way home we got all of the details. We learned the true horror of the situation.
I know a lot of people feel strongly about that day. I feel weird. I don’t feel sad because I didn’t know anyone who died. I feel bad for those who did lose someone, but I don’t know them either.
I feel angry that it happened. Angry that our arrogance allowed us to think we were so invincible that no one would ever dare attack us here. Angry at the arrogance of those that dared attack us. We struck back and struck back hard.
I feel bad that as a country we have been as united as the days following that attack. I feel bad that it took a tragedy to make us unify as a country. It took death to make people proud to be American. Now sports figures protest our anthem, people march against our law enforcement officers, people overall hate each other more and more.
I feel bad that after Americans died, we loved America again.