From a peace festival in a park, personal reflections on the last nine years and how we got where we are now
Story and all photographs by Thomas K. Pendergast
President Kennedy’s assassination for the previous generation,
September 11, 2001, is a single day that most adults remember,
particularly the moment when the news hit home.
Who doesn’t recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks?
I was brushing my teeth that morning, getting ready for work, when I heard my housemate’s voice from down the hall. She was talking to someone on her cell phone, something about all the schools being closed.
Is today a holiday? Why would the schools be closed?
I wondered what significance the eleventh of September might have but came up with nothing.
Her door was open so when I came to the doorway there was the image of the World Trade Center’s twin towers burning on her television screen.
She interrupted her call to tell me that it was a terrorist attack.
I immediately thought of the various intelligence officials and terrorism experts I’d heard or read about over the years, all predicting that a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil was not a question of “if” but of “when” and “how.”
‘So this is the answer,’ I thought to myself. ‘Today the question of when and how gets an answer.’
My housemate, an actress who didn’t pay much attention to politics, finished her call and sat on her bed, watching this horrible mass death scene with me.
Her confused expression was followed by her question.
“Why would someone want to do this to us?”
That’s when I realized that far more trouble was on the way: not only for my country, for the world. I knew that many Americans would likely be asking the same naïve question that day.
“Everyone remembers that day,” she said. “That was a tragic event, one of the most intense things.”