The weather has been gray all day in Calgary as I write this. It seems somehow appropriate given the news that woke me up at 8AM today. My radio came on with news that one of the World Trade Center towers had collapsed and the other was on fire. First, I thought rather groggily that it was April 1st but very rapidly reality asserted itself and I was suddenly fully awake. I then proceeded to turn on my television and was immediately beset by images of the collapsing skyscraper and scenes of pandemonium and there was uncertainty about the entire situation. There were also reports about the Pentagon being on fire after having been hit by an aircraft. Oh yes, the WTC was also taken down by aircraft. They had been hijacked.
I don’t think the full import of the situation has yet sunk in for most people as I write this. The sheer destruction and loss of life is staggering, even incomprehensible. I know that I, for one, have been operating sort of on autopilot for much of the day, kind of wandering around in a state of shock, although I have been basicly going about my business.
Opinions are flying around the Internet, and on the air waves, and the telephone lines that still work. Air traffic has been grounded in the United States and Canada. The US-Mexico border has been closed. Military organizations are on “threatcon delta” in many areas, one stop short of war. Government buildings are vacant in many areas. Embassies have been evacuated. Stock exchanges are closed worldwide. Much world commerce has completely stopped. People are calling for blood. Others are calling for moderation. Everyone is calling for something.
The sheer magnitude of this disaster is staggering. How long will it be before life returns to normal? Or will it ever return to normal? Are we on the brink of World War III? Is this the beginning of the end? Is it just the beginning? Noboday knows. The world holds its collective breath today.
What should we do? Who knows. We can’t do nothing. But it would be equally devastating to do the wrong thing. Do we bomb the snot out of whatever country/organization serves as a base of operation for these terrorists? Do we try talking with them? What is too extreme? I, for one, have no idea. I, like everyone else, need to take time to let the whole import of this attack sink in before I can even begin to comprehend the consequences, let alone the consequences of any response.
This is my reaction to the events as of 3:45PM on September 11, 2001. (All times mountain daylight time).
September 11, 2001 CE… 21:45 UTC