September 11, 2001

September 11, 2021

I thought I would publicly share my diary entry for this infamous day. Another value of the diary is to record history as it is experienced personally. I never would have remembered what I did or thought on this day if I had not written about it in my journal. Later I will also share some of my thoughts from the rest of that week.

I was selling books out of my house and online at this time, working a part-time job, and managing my homestead by myself as my partner had left me the year before.

September 11, 2001
This is the most important day in the history of the United States during my lifetime. It brings an instant association with that other historic day when John F. Kennedy was shot—November 22, 1963. The biggest terrorist attack against the United States ever committed occurred today when two commercial airplanes were hijacked and flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, New York. A third plane was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. It penetrated through thick walls into at least three rings of the building. A fourth plane did not reach its mission—presumed to be Camp David—and crashed into a rural area in Amish country in Pennsylvania. These are acts of war. The unanswerable question: how did the hostile entity slip by the FBI and all of our defenses, how could such an inconceivable act be planned and carried out so easily? Who would do such a thing?

As always, numbers quoted are so often wrong in the media. Number of people in the twin towers which collapsed while firefighters rushed in to save lives? Tens of thousands dead, I imagine. Can this be understood; can the depth of the trauma, the horror of being in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, be felt? Numbers: 250 firefighters dead, 78 police, ___ dead on the four planes.

What could it be like to see the planes fly into the trade center, to see the towers collapse, to watch people jump out of windows rather than die in fires or rubble? I cannot imagine.

I went out to start chores around 6:45 a.m. Came in at 7:15. W. had been called by her boyfriend, L. She told me the news, had the radio on. The news was just breaking. I think it happened about 7 a.m. MST. (8:46 EST first plane hit, 9:03 second plane hit.) It’s odd but I recall that the goats were freaked out by something when I got to the barn (it was just about 7 exactly). Of course I thought it might be dogs, so I looked around. Told them they were being crazy goats.

I was stunned by the news. It was beginning to really sink in, with all of the implications, when I went back out to milk. At that point the government was not out-right calling it a terrorist attack, but it seemed rather obvious to everyone else. I wonder why they let us make that choice of words.

W. left for her job as a nanny. Lucky, I thought, that I didn’t have to work today. Kept the news on. It was unreal. Couldn’t be happening. The U.S. attacked! This was just a hair shy of hearing news of a nuclear bomb drop. Since the American Revolution we’ve never been attacked. Pearl Harbor wasn’t at home. Besides, that story was a distortion of the truth, as much of our history turns out to be. Throughout the day I thought of the movie “Wag the Dog,” and naturally I can’t help but wonder if any of this is Hollywood fabrication.

One of my first thoughts this morning was for the pilots. I wondered if they had been killed or made to fly the planes. It is also inconceivable that a pilot would do this. They must have known they would die no matter what. Surely they would not comply. No survivors to tell the truth. Feel what it would have been like on the planes. Stories: a woman flying to join her husband on his birthday (she skipped an earlier flight to do this) called him on her cell phone to report the plane was hijacked. Then the plane went down. A man ducked in the tiny airplane bathroom and called 911! The dispatcher said “Uh…we haven’t any reports of this hijacking.” There was another cell phone call…

I was curious why so little was said throughout the day about the Pentagon attack. I decided thy wanted to play down the fact that our Pentagon was successfully injured, the walls themselves broken down and a fire raging out of control most of the day.

President Bush could think of nothing to say all day except “we’ll get them,” while a senator (?) from Virginia told us we were strong and would survive and should all pull together, said without being sappy about it.
About 8 a.m. this morning I called L. She believed me right away. Tonight I asked her why. She said because I never call her early in the morning like that and I don’t joke. She told her class that even her sister, who lives under a rock and has no tv, had heard the big news. I always tell my friends that even though I don’t get a newspaper I will hear the “big news.” We talked again tonight. She feels for the police who died. Canceled her second or third class, couldn’t go on. I would have canceled the first one. (My sister is an ex-cop.)

Had a phone call this morning – a customer looking for a book. Just don’t understand how anyone wouldn’t grasp the importance of this day, the seriousness. How could you go shopping? Why didn’t all business close? N.T. said “no one is going to close me down.” It is not an “I’ll show them,” but a sign of respect for the tragedy that should make the choice.

M. called me while I was talking to B. this morning. B. was his usual flip self, happy that this would stir things up, that some rebel poked us in the eye. M. sounded scared. Her co-workers at the hospital were quite upset by the tragedy. They probably shared an empathy for the medical personnel. Her reaction was a reflection of theirs.

Seems I kept in touch with friends and family by phone. Called L, B, M, L. Tried J and mom. Talked twice to each one. At one in the afternoon, when the news was repetitive, I tried to grasp at an anchor. I had been doing dishes all morning, plus little chores I could find. Kept busy, but wandering restlessly. Decided to clean 1/4 of the barn. Ugly job. Took 3 – 1/2 grungy hours. I surely stank afterwards. Long hot shower to clean and calm muscle spasms from arthritis. Cleaning the barn on this absolutely gorgeous fall-light day, the entire tragedy became unreal.

It is now 11:30 p.m. My body is sore and stiff. I will go find Annie-cat and go to bed. What will tomorrow bring? Will the ban on air travel, the closing of all airports, continue? Never before in history…

And what effects will we feel?


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One Response to “September 11, 2001”

  1. Clyde Hennessey Says:

    On Sat, Sep 11, 2021, 20:34 National Diary Archive wrote:

    > Cynthia Manuel posted: ” September 11, 2021 I thought I would publicly > share my diary entry for this infamous day. Another value of the diary is > to record history as it is experienced personally. I never would have > remembered what I did or thought on this day if I had not w” >


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