Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 9/11 post

So the task at hand for the community WoW blog is to tell about where you were during the Terrorist Attacks on September 11th, 2001.

My story is really pretty simple.

In 2001 I was working for MGM Grand Hotel's production show EFX!

My job was to be one of the show's Vari*Lite technicians, maintaining what was then the single largest in-house Vari*Lite rig on (what was then) the largest in-house stage lighting system.

I was on the daytime-maintenance crew so I would show up to work at 7 am, perform a system check on the Vari*Lite units, then check the show notes from the previous evening, and then set to fixing whatever problems cropped up.

Afterwards I spent my time doing preventative maintenance on the lights by bringing two or three down, blowing gobs of pyro crap out of them, cleaning the optics, and evicting any dust bunnies that had taken up residence.

Come 5 pm I would have the cleaned lights back into the rig and tested, tools put away, and be heading out the back door of the theater heading to martial arts class.

So on this morning I got up, showered turned on the television and started to brush my teeth. Good Morning America stopped some interview for a breaking news story that a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

It was thought that the plane was a Cessna sized small prop plane so they continued with the interview.

Next they cut to a camera and reporter covering the story, and as they started to explain what had happened I watched on live TV as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

My initial thought was that this was no accident, we were under attack and we were now at war with some damn fool in the middle east.

On my drive into work the Pentagon was hit by the third plane, and the news about Flight 93 arrived later.

The shows were cancelled, and the rest of the shift was spent with my co-workers in the EFX! greenroom watching the horrible scene unfold on the news.

The Emotions
No words can really describe this. It is the same feeling I had when I discovered my brother and my dad had both been shot to death. There is a finality to it, and an emptiness in my stomach, and the overwhelming feeling that this is something that I can't fix.

It's kind of a deep calm, and a need to be helping others.

Distress at not being able to go there to assist.

An anger and outrage coupled with the desire to find the ones responsible and end them.

It was a few days before tears found me.

Two things triggered this.

First I was sent a link to a website that showed pictures of people around the world lighting candles and making tributes of red white and blue flowers. It showed piles of NYPD, and NYFD t-shirts placed in front of embassies, along with one dollar bills held in place with simple stones.

The world was with us in those few days.

The second thing, and the one that broke me was a small gift from an Argentine friend.

It is a simple line drawing of a man hugging a crying Statue of Liberty, she still holds the flame and tablet though now her hands are collapsed by her sides, and tears are streaming down her face.

I say is because this still hangs above my desk.

It is truly a blessing to have been born and raised in America.
And to those who serve, and everyone that has served, and all those who work hard here at home to keep us safe, and dedicate their lives to running into the buildings we run out of, I want to say:

I cherish yesterday
I live for today
and I look forward to waking up free tomorrow.


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