20 years. Two decades. 7300 days.
It is the anniversary of September 10, 2001.
The final day of peace. It’s only right to celebrate the anniversary of this mundane day.
The final time prior to the deadly terror attacks on the United States–attacks that are etched into memories, yet fading with each passing calendar page turning.
While there are a few specials airing that try to bring the horror back into the forefront again, a new generation of children growing up has only history books to reveal what happened on 9/11, as the YouTube videos of that attacks have become buried or censored.
We have covered everything on this website over the years from the strange oddities and coincidences that were occurring in 2001 prior to the attacks, to Hurricane Erin, pop culture after 9/11, and even a local tale of how a 9/11 plane flew directly over home base.
After two decades, we ponder what else could be offered.. what else could be said.
We almost feel that this 20th anniversary post could be it, the final one. (Some of my friends who tell me I am fixated on this event too much will doubt this is my final say however.)
As time moves on, so do emotions. So does that electric feeling of that day–you would have to have been alive to have felt it. The idea that a day so perfect of weather, so pure and blue of a sky, could also carry with it such intense rage and flames that would alter the landscape of a nation but also the course of a planet.
You still shudder when you see the old news reports of the first plane.. the way anchors were innocently pondering how such an ‘accident’ could occur. The pilot, we thought, must have had a health crisis. This terrible accident hopefully will be cleaned up, addressed appropriately, and we could go back to fighting about stem cells and the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s presidency, along with enjoying the triumphant return of Michael Jordan.
Until that second plane..
Until those stunned anchors had the carpet pulled from them. We, as a nation, were not ready for what was about to happen.
Within an instant, suddenly “everything changed.” Yes, that became an overused statement at the time. As the drumbeat of time beat on, we see how regardless of overuse, the statement could not be more true.
Many scholars today will argue that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump would not have occurred without 9/11 first happening. That each and every direction of history since that morning had its road paved with the blood from the attacks.
This is one particular poignant moment of this Youtube video that plays 9/11 as it happened on NBC’s Today Show that morning. Around 5 minutes and 40 seconds into the video, directly before it cuts to a young and then-scandal-free Matt Lauer announcing a plane had struck one of the towers, there is a McDonalds Commercial: The advertisement starts with a question: “What makes you smile?”
This could not be a more mundane ad for McDonalds breakfast, its egg and pancakes, and Minute Maid orange juice. But that is also what is magical about it: The mundane nature of the spot!
Mundane died that day. Mundane became something unknown after the events that unfolded seconds after this ad..
You could almost conjecture that the McDonalds ditty was the final whimper of the 20th century. Innocence, if we really truly even had it, was gone only seconds later when the “we love to see your smile” spot turned into a live stream of terror attacks in three separate locations.
x x x
While terrorists were plotting and buying porn the night before 9/11, others were simply going living the final day of what could be considered normalcy. Also the same day, a small snippet appeared in the Boston GLOBE about Osama Bin Laden. It is very possible that people within airport and on one of the planes hijacked, people were potentially ready this article that described how the United States government was given out matches with Bin Laden’s image on it to remind people about the bounty on his head:
There were hints of what was to come on 9/10.
Front page headlines couldn’t been more dull, but a few interesting tidbits showed up in a few places that now seem to be prophetic.
Like this headline from the Allentown Morning CALL running an AP dispatch on September 10 about violence erupting in the Middle East:
Or this headline of an editorial that ran in the Pottsville REPUBLICAN HERALD on 9/11 written by columnist Jim Hoagland:
The 9/10 Thunder Enlightening in the Republican HERALD could not have been more dull! One caller saying Bush should resign and move to Mexico, a North Schuylkill student complaining about rules at the school, and someone angry that Mahanoy Area’s school band didn’t play at the Friday night football game:
The headline on NEWSDAY on 9/10 included a above the fold “wave of terror” bold statement about the Middle East. Little did anyone know what the terror headline would be the next day on the front page of tjhe same paper:
A victim of 9/11, David Kocalcin, could not sleep the night of September 10, 2001. He was a passenger on Flight 11 on 9/11, but the nights previous he woke up at 3am pacing the house, unable to sleep. The morning he left home he wrote a note for him family saying he will miss everyone very much. He said he would see them Friday night, and stated he fed the dogs but not the fish.
David Kovalcin had a habit of drawing smiling portraits of the whole family — his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughters, Rebecca, 4, and Marina, 1 — on the steamy glass in the bathrooms. Now Rebecca draws her own, with only three people. Mr. Kovalcin, 42, was a passenger on Flight 11, on a business trip for Raytheon, where he was a senior mechanical engineer.
Mrs. Kovalcin said they had carved out a “Father Knows Best” kind of life, with him coming home at six every evening, choosing to know his family well rather than to work longer hours for more money.
She remembers that her husband had trouble sleeping two nights before his departure. “He woke me up at 3 a.m., and said ‘I’m pacing the house. I can’t sleep,’ ” she said. “I rubbed his head and tried to calm him down. He was very distressed, but had no idea what it was. Then three days later I remembered, and thought, ‘Holy cow, I wonder what that was about.’ ”
The morning he left home he had written a note for his family: “Rebecca, Marina and Mommy, I will miss everybody very much. See you Friday night.” At the end he added, “I fed the dogs but not the fish.”
A few days before 9/10, and 9/11, I went to the movies with friends. On September 6 to be exact! I was reminded of this when my friend, cleaning out his house, actually found the ticket stub from the screening of JEEPERS CREEPERS.
After the movie, the obligatory midnight Perkins breakfast ensued. I recall us meeting and talking to a group of women–we were 21 and dumb at the time so the amateurs we were failed to even get a phone number! But one of the girls told us she was joining the army only a day or so later. The thought at the time, which still sticks out in my brain these many years later, is how she joined an army that was devoid of war only to be most likely thrust into Afghanistan months later. To quote a Green Day song, I still wonder whatever happened to old Whatshername?
For some, it’s been very difficult smiling ever since.
9/10/01 .. may serenity rest in peace. Killed by the events 24 hours later that will repeat in our brains until our earthly conclusion.
The headlines on the Horror Report on 9/10/01 were as follows:
May God have mercy on the souls lost that day and the families who were effected by the tragic events.. by first responders who died slow deaths to cancer.. and the military men and woman who sacrificed so much–including Whatshername.
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