Sunday, September 11, 2011
7:46 PM |
Where Were You Ten Years Ago Today?
It's true what they say. You never forget where you were when you know your life first changed. Late afternoon of September 11, 2011. Halfway around the world, morning just started. It was a beautiful day. It promised to be a beautiful night. I had just come back from an early dinner with some friends, among them Patrick Chua and Moses Joshua Atega. We were still in a hangover from the monthlong centennial celebrations of Silliman University, and only two days ago, we had just bid farewell to my brother Rey, who was bound back to the United States after spending August at home. That late afternoon, we all went to Cafe Tropini, the bar in Why Not? that would soon become an extension of Le Chalet. We proceeded to order beer. Everybody, we soon noted, was watching the television with profound eagerness, perhaps even excitement -- that avalanche of ambiguous feelings one feels when confronted with the unbelievable.
"What's happening?" one of us asked.
A Caucasian guy drinking beer answered: "The goddamn Twin Towers. A plane just hit one of them."
Another Caucasian guy, drunk and dismissive, answered him, "The goddamn Twin Towers are in San Francisco. This is the World Trade Center."
We didn't care for their exchange. We just looked at the images that flashed before us, and I knew the world has changed. And suddenly, I could not fathom what exactly was in store for all of us in the coming decade. What would change?Everything
We hurried home.
* * *
I remember visiting Ground Zero in New York last November. I was on my own, going around on foot in lower Manhattan, eager to see what I could of the city before flying back home to the Philippines. I decided to go to Ground Zero.
From the observatory, I could see the grounds in a furor of so much activity. In the midst of the heavy construction machinery, one couldn't help but think, "So much life lost." And for those who witnessed the horror, our own lives over a decade were inevitably reconfigured. Who didn't change? Nobody.
We are all children of 9/11.
Labels: history, life, memories
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