9/11 Attacks Posts

9/11, on the 20th Anniversary of ten days after the events

It’s a week or so since 9/11, and the special issues of magazines unsold in the checkout lane are being reported unsold, stripped of their covers and reported destroyed. The television guide on my Roku is no longer choked with 9/11 documentaries and “looks back.” In fact, I can barely tell it happened.

I remember how difficult it was to return to normal after 9/11 — how many days it took before the late night shows could broadcast, for example. It feels like we snapped back awful fast this time.

Well, I didn’t. Here’s my last post on 9/11 for Perfect Duluth Day, looking at some writings, some poetry, after 9/11, talking about what life is like after.

Attack on America

It’s Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, 10:30 a.m. I’m standing in my kitchen munching on an apple. Suddenly, a huge man who looks like the professional wrestler Razor Ramon comes thundering through the front door announcing that he is an employee of the Water and Gas Department and needs to read the meter.

Without asking for identification or taking any security precautions whatsoever, I show him to the basement stairway and resume chomping on my apple. Soon, my basement housemates greet Razor Ramon and he starts talking to them about how the country is at war.

“We’re at war, dude,” I hear him say. “Haven’t you turned on the TV or the radio yet?”

I turn on the television in the living room and see a huge cloud of smoke and debris where the World Trade Center once stood. The news anchor explains that two hijacked passenger jets smashed into the towers, causing them to collapse.


I’m still talking around 9/11 as I write this series of posts. I am worried that any effort I put into converting my experience into words will diminish that experience.

Perhaps that’s what I see most of all in the Congressional records one year after 9/11. Below are bits and pieces from a joint session of Congress, held in New York, on the one-year anniversary of 9/11, where most everyone, except maybe Paul Wellstone, talks around 9/11.

Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks


After 9/11, I taught a class in the World Trade Center collapse, looking at it as a trauma but also as a failure of engineering. Mostly, this reflects my mental state in the years after the event:

How did this happen?

If it seemed a miracle to me that there could be two towers, reaching 110 stories into the sky, it seemed even more unthinkable that they fell down.


In retrospect, the weeks before 9/11 are almost better defined by the things I didn’t know. I didn’t know, really, how much people in the Middle East disliked, hated America and Americans, sure. And then there are smaller knowledges that I didn’t know — details of events and of governmental decisions that would become clear after the fact.


Port Authority Bus Terminal

Photo by Hudconja

I started visiting New York City while I was still a kid in Milwaukee. I used to hop the Greyhound at 10 p.m., catching the connecting bus in Chicago, to a layover, bus cleaning, and reboarding in Cleveland, where large numbers of Amish would board, too. From Cleveland to Pittsburgh to, I think, “King of Prussia” (avoiding Philly, I think).  From there into New York City, landing at the Port Authority.

Local Perspective on 9/11

Tomorrow (9/9)  at 10am KUMD 103.3 FM will air a panel discussion called “Reflections of 9/11.”  Hosted by Northland Morning’s Lisa Johnson, the program includes Paula Pedersen from the UMD Psychology Department, Dan Martin from the UMD Sociology Department and Nik Hassan from the Twin Ports Muslim Center.

The show will re-air on Sunday morning at 7.

KUMD will also be airing songs inspired by 9/11 throughout the day tomorrow.