Like Someone Had Branded My Brain | WisCommunity

Like Someone Had Branded My Brain

September 11, 2019 - 10:44am

I was driving from the farm to a gig at Best Buy where I was working as a consultant. It was a normal sunny day in The Cities as I tried to swill down enough coffee to wake up as I was listening to NPR, just like normal.

Suddenly disjointed bizarre news stories were coming in. A plane had hit the World Trade Center, and I thought this was a horrible accident like when planes had hit the Empire State Building in years past. Then another plane. Then something at the Pentagon but nobody was sure what that was. Followed by stories about a missing plane that nobody could track down. For a brief moment I though I was living through one of those H. G. Wells War of the Worlds moments, but it all sounded real and I was fairly certain radio had learned its lesson on that one.

Then the traffic on the interstate ground to a halt, and police were diverting us all off the highway. I immediately was afraid something had happened in Minneapolis too as all of my reference points for a normal work day started slipping away. Eventually I found out that this piece of drama was an overturned semi on the highway, but I didn't know that till the next day in the swirl of confused news reports.

When I arrived at work everyone in IT was staring at their screens, furiously refreshing their browsers and trying to find out what the hell was going on. Occasionally someone would shout out some piece of information as they penetrated what amounted to a worldwide DDOS attack on news servers. Eventually someone pulled a gigantic TV out of the warehouse and set it up in the cafeteria, where most of the staff gathered to watch. Precious little work would be done today. We watched the towers fall together. We saw the reports from the Pentagon and the field in Pennslyvania. People I had worked with for momths and knew well all looked like zombies.

After "work" some of my co-workers went out to have a drink. We stood in the parking lot before leaving and could not get used to the fact that there were no planes in the air. We were right on an approach to MSP and were used to a continual cacophony of planes. Not today. The rest of the day was blurry. I remember Scotch was involved. I went to my apartment in the cities and stared at the TV in disbelief. There were many phone calls to my wife on the farm. Snippets from the week. Big concert on TV from which I only really remember Neil Young singing Imagine, and crying during it.

I've forgotten some of the details over the years, but the event is seared into my memory, like someone had branded my brain.

What do you remember from 9/11? Please comment below.

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Steve Hanson
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