September 11, 2005
One woman's snapshot
I have often heard avid readers claim that films based on books never truly capture the words as the reader first experienced them. And so it was for me on 9/11. With limited access to television, I listened to NPR while driving on an empty highway as the day's events unfolded.

It is amazing how even more hideous the witness' cries were to hear than to see the planes slicing into both towers. I covered my mouth while listening to an on-site doctor tell of crouching under a car as dust consumed his oxygen; on television, the story was reduced to gray smoke. As sirens whined and multiple voices shouted conflicting orders, I could feel the chaos. Rumors of bound flight attendants still strapped in their seats were more horrific delivered by voice than by an update ticker on the bottom of the television screen.

Sometimes I wish now I had first watched everything on television. The painful imagery still seems more salient because I listened to it happening.


18 Comments:

Blogger Jürgen Nation said...

Sometimes I read an entry about something and it's moving that I can't comment. I'm just reduced to reading it over and over again, nodding, letting it all sink in. Nothing I would comment would really capture what I mean, you know? This is one of those times. I know I'm commenting, but you know what I'm getting at. I just had to share. Thank you, Kris.

Blogger Spinning Girl said...

goosebumps.
tears.
thanks for that.

Blogger LBseahag said...

Well stated...

I didn't see ground zero til this past May. But if you listen closely, you can still hear the broken hearts in the wind...

Whenever the media desensitizes us, I am glad there will always be someone with true-to-life experiences to bring us back.

Blogger Patsy Darling said...

All this and you're facing it sober. Eee gads. I lived across the river from NYC and could see the towers from my window.

Blogger babyjewels said...

couldn't agree more. it's like when the news plays actual 911 tapes. I get so emotional - it just goes to your core to hear another person in turmoil.

Blogger mal said...

great point! I think that with TV we often get lost in the imagery and miss the greater gestalt

Anonymous Jorge said...

The mind is our most powerful ally.
And our worst enemy.
:(

J

Blogger Danielle said...

well said kris. i never really thought about that. it must have been horrifying to hear as you did. i could barely make out what i was seeing on our broken TV, so it was mostly through sound as well. scary... especially with family and friends near the scene.

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I was unemployed at the time and would spend about 15 hours a day watching news coverage. Not a pretty time.

I wish stories like yours were allowed to speak for themselves. Instead, politicians take them to use for their own gain-- I think that's why I feel so conflicted now when I hear about 9/11. I want to remember, but its political uses I want to forget.

Blogger Slade said...

so true...at times words do much more justice than images

Blogger Hope said...

I wrote a paper on how the imagery we saw after 9/11 fueled the nation's hatred, anger, and vengance. Maybe if we had all heard it rather than saw it we would have felt more sorrow and remorse.

Blogger oregano said...

I can still see the images of people leaning out of the windows, waiting to be rescued. Even more haunting are the images of people jumping to their end.

Blogger nutty said...

Yep, I think the most disturbing is those that jumped. How bad must it of been up there that jumping was the better option?

Blogger lizzyjane said...

how come the pain hasn't gotten any better after 4 years?

Blogger Brookelina said...

I remember being at work and reading a little headline on Reuters....Plane Hits World Trade Center. I called it out to the office. We all figured some little Cesna landed on top of it or something....

I got laid off that Friday. I was so numb I didn't even care. The whole drive home all I could think was "fill my tank up, get some cash, and hurry up so I can get home in time to watch the memorial service on tv". The perspective of everything changed that day.

Blogger Poppy Cede said...

Kris, I need to send you an email. It's going to freak you out. It haunts me. I need to share. OK, here comes the email.

Blogger Cheryl said...

I wish I hadn't seen it. But then again, I have always had trouble focusing on just sound...can't have people read to me, can't listen to sports on the radio, etc. Either way, the day made an impression...

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