The Day After

I felt better at work today. Distracted perhaps.
Then I came home and went for a run. When I returned, I turned the TV back on and browsed the web for the latest news. And as various individuals began recounting their personal stories of family members they had not heard from, and cameras observed people who kept a candlelight vigil at the reflecting pool in Washington D.C., I felt a deep sorrow again.
I was glad to see images tonight of Palestinians who brought flowers and stood outside the U.S. Embassy in a show of sympathy. The images yesterday of Palestinians celebrating the attack on the U.S. were unfair, one-sided. It reminded me how easy it is to search for black and white, for a reason behind these tragedies. For now, the only absolute we know is that the people who coordinated and perpetrated these crimes against innocent people are evil. Let's hope the hand of justice comes down on them with righteous anger. Those who urge that we expel Arab Americans from our country, who desocrate mosques and vandalize Islamic offices, these idiots remind us of the ignorance that led to this attack in the first place.
We also know that hundreds of firemen gave their lives by dashing into a building they knew would likely collapse on top of them. We know, perhaps, that citizens on flight 93, knowing they were going to die, decided to attack the hijackers to prevent them from using the plane as a weapon against their fellow citizens. Jeremy Glick called his wife, who informed him that other planes had hit the World Trade Center. At that point, he dropped the phone, and when he returned, he said that the male passengers had decided to attack the hijackers to try and take back the plane.
I understand now how people felt when they volunteered for the war in 1941. The feeling of wanting to drop everything around you to go to war, to protect the ones you love. I wish I was an FBI agent, helping to hunt down these murderers.
Officials suspect two of the hijackers may have studied at this flight school in Florida.
As of 11pm today, Amazon had collected over $1.8 million from nearly 58,000 individual contributions.
Perhaps an indication of how much people are grasping for answers, the books topseller list and video topseller list are filled with works about Nostradamus, the prophet. When I think about how many people must be buying these books to push them so far up the top seller lists, I had to wonder. How did so many people suddenly decide that they might find insight in Nostradamus? Curious, I scoured the web.
I found that this quatrain was spreading throughout the web in the wake of the World Trade Center catastrophes:
"In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
two brothers torn apart by chaos,
while the fortress endures, the great leader will sucumb.
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
Hmm, doesn't seem like a very accurate prediction to me.
Oh, that unfortunate album cover by The Coup that I wrote about earlier? Fortunately, the album had not yet been released, and the label is going back to redo the cover.
So many moving images. At the United Nations, when a vote was taken on whether or not to support the United States in its efforts to find the terrorists responsible for this tragedy, instead of raising their hands to signify their agreement, all the delegates stood. Citizens holding flags out the window as they drive.
Everytime I see them replay the image of the airplane flying head on into the World Trade Center, I cringe. I've seen it probably nearly a hundred times by now, and it is still the most horrific thing I've ever seen. It is a thousand times more emotionally awe-inspiring than any manufactured image in a Hollywood film. I will remember it all my life.
I can't find the stomach to watch any TV, to watch a movie. I may not watch a movie for weeks. I can't fathom reading any fiction. The coverage on TV and in print and on the web has transfixed me. I can't remember a time when I watched more television--hour after hour. I feel guilty for watching the footage again and again. What would it have been like to stand there in the streets of NYC and watch the World Trade Center collapse in on itself as if the earth had swallowed it? I feel like a voyeur.
I fear that nothing our government does will provide us with that cathartic release we all yearn for. Those who most deserve to be punished died in the plane crashes. Unless countries around the world band together and force the terrorists living among them to go on the run, we may never capture all the guilty parties.
In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani recalled a quote from Philip Roth in 1961:
"The American writer in the middle of the 20th century has his hands full in trying to understand, describe and then make credible much of American reality. It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one's own meager imagination. The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures almost daily that are the envy of any novelist."
Kakutani also points out some recent works of fiction, many from Hollywood, which have depicted acts of terrorism involving bombs and airplanes:
For the most part, however, large- scale terrorist plots and huge public disasters