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Written on September 10th, 2011 by | 15 Comments

A Social Media Memory of Sept. 11th

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A Social Media Memory of Sept. 11th

We all talk about social media whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, our blogs or other platforms, and always it is about the dos, don’ts, how to’s, and how we analyze social media to help others learn. The one point that I believe many of us can agree on is that social media is about sharing, and today instead of lessons lectures or even debates I would like to just share with you some momentous memories that I have had.

These are not just any memories but memories that others have also had and who impacted others…

There have been four times in my life where I can say the world stopped and cried. To philosophers and sociologists the term is called a collective memory, where events of the world shatter your everyday life and have such a profound effect that years after the happenings, one can remember in detail what they were doing and how they impacted one’s life.

Image of family and friends in funeral procession of President John. F. Kennedy

The first event was on  Friday November 22,1963, when at 12.30 Central standard time, President John Kennedy was assassinated and I was 12 years old.  I was at school at the time ( having an english exam) when after seeing the principal coming in and talking quietly to my english teacher, and seeing that man bow his head and cry we all knew something momentous had occurred.

We were sent home (but not until after the alloted time for that exam) our teacher said very simply.  ”School is being let out early today.  I need you to go straight home and be with your family. The President has been murdered.”

We all just sat there and stared at him because we did not really understand, and being in Canada (Ontario to be exact) we were confused.  The principal’s voice came over the intercom and explained how John F. Kennedy the American president had been assassinated and that in respect to the event, school was being closed early.

As we left the school, my friends and I were walking together trying to make sense out of what was happening and we were a little scared because we had been hearing about Russia and the US being so at odds with each other and we didn’t know what was going to happen.

I remember the sky was grey and it was cold while we walked. I know for myself I was both “excited” about what was happening and also sad, because he looked like a nice man and his wife was so beautiful.

For days my family kept the TV on watching the events unfold. I remember watching the TV and seeing Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby and we were shocked … how could this be?

We sat together, my family and myself, and watched in tears the funeral procession .. and I remember watching Jackie Kennedy walking behind her husband’s hearse as he was taken to his resting place.  I recall my mother saying “what a strong woman she is”!

Harry Truman from Mount St. Helens

The second event that has stayed with me was the day that for some reason I woke up to a strangeness in the air. I looked in on my infant daughter and she was lying in her crib eyes opened and looking around.  I was living in an apartment at that time in Burnaby B.C and could not shake this weird feeling, so  I went outside.

I noticed other people out on their balconies and on the street looking around, and we were all commenting on the stillness of the moment as all the animals were quiet. The silence of the birds was so deafening and we (all of us) were filled with this “pending” feeling .. when all of a sudden there was a loud ‘boom”.

Within moments (it seemed like hours) the birds were back to their chirping, some dogs howled and I could hear a few cats. Many of us called out saying “what was that” and I recall one person shouting “there must have been a crash somewhere”. I went inside, turned on the TV and found out that Mount St. Helens had just erupted and like so many others I was in shock at the devastation.

My concerns turned not to just the people of the area, but to the one man who swore he would never leave his beloved mountain - Harry Truman and I wanted him to survive .. but he was buried under the mud as were others in the area. Many of us over the coming days watched the TV as events unfolded and listened to story after story of people surviving and people dying.

Princess Diana

On September 1st I woke up to the morning paper telling of the death of Princess Diana the night before - August 31st, 1997.  It was a very warm day where I lived in Port Coquitlam, B.C and all any of us could talk about was the life and times of this lady who quietly and not so quietly affected so many lives.

Day after day, between the tabloids and their sensational stories, to the TV reports that accompanied her funeral -  we watched, we read, and for many of us we cried.  I remember watching that funeral, the silence of the people and then the clapping of thousands of those same people while she passed by in her coffin to her resting place, and I felt like I was right there with the tears falling down my cheeks.

I also remember the look of the Queen (Elizabeth) who ordered the British flag on Buckingham Palace to fly half-mast and I sighed as though a wrong had been made right. I also remember stores closing in respect this young woman, something that in a commercial world was just not done. I still have a copy of all the newspapers of Princess Diana death. My eldest daughter felt they should be saved.

Tribute to those of the World Trade Centre

I come to the last event that has affected our world, our freedom and has created a lasting effect on our relationships with others. It was such a beautiful day and I had been outside tending the garden when I got a phone call from my partner. He was “excited” and told me to turn on the TV, that something terrible had happened in New York but was waiting for more details from “control”.

I remember turning on the TV set and seeing the World Trade Centre and a plane flying into it. I remember saying, “hold on .. checking another channel. There is a movie on this one”. But every channel had the same images. I went “oh my god, what is going on” and stayed on one of the channels. In horror I watched as the second plane came and flew right into the other tower.

I went over to my neighbor Kathy who was an American and told her what was going on, and together we watched the TV as the events unfolded.  The day was still beautiful but we both noticed the absence of planes overhead, something we were always aware of and later found out that all planes had been ordered to land.

Over the days, the weeks and years, this one event has affected so many people in so many ways.

I cried for the loss and was angered like so many that any person(s) could do such a thing, and I did not and still do not blame any race or religious belief for the cause of this terrible happening.

This Sunday is the anniversary of what has become known as September the 11th and to all the people who lost their loved ones, to the country that suffered this loss and to the world who has and are still dealing with the aftermath of this terrible, terrible tragedy … I give you my thoughts and respect.

Social Media is about sharing. Sharing our thoughts and feelings. It is not only about the how to’s or commentaries, so I leave this song is for you:

..edited by BLOGBloke.

Editor’s Note: Why not join the collective and honor our fallen friends by sharing your September 11th memories with us? I wrote a piece called Death by Stupicide shortly after 9/11. I knew in my heart the hell that was to come and felt compelled to write down my feelings. I hope you will read it and let me know your thoughts 10 years after.

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There are 15 Comments so far to “A Social Media Memory of Sept. 11th”

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  1. Well Diane, I have been reading Blog posts from my twitter feed all day today where every body is writing about where they were on 11 September 2001.

    Writing eases our pain and is a great way to empty our thoughts and help us be at peace.

    But as for me, it makes me sick. Just as I was 10 years ago, learning which community (mine) as a whole was blamed.. And they continue on till today.
    I don’t think I’ll ever be over it.

    That day I was in university. I was here less than a month in Canada. And this was my first time in University. I was so stressed going class to class. And never I never paid any attention to anything around. There were TV sets set up all over the university showing pictures of a General. That is all I could remember. But I never stopped to listen what he had to say.

    Only when I reached home at 7 or 8 that evening, I learned what had happened. Then for the first time I began watching the news of the day.
    They were clips of people ‘celebrating’.

    In 1996, A Saudi Arabian Airliner collided with a Kazakh airliner in North India.
    I was in school and I noticed my best friend hadn’t come that day. I remember it was a very dark and cloudy morning because such weather was rare around were I grew up.

    I learned later that my friend’s grandfather was in one of those planes.

    I survived the 1991 Persian gulf war. We were in the region but however, my family decided not to leave trusting reports that we were secure.

    The rest of my friends left. They had even secured and sealed their places fearing a gas attack.

    The city was deserted except for military personnel. And Fighter jets over head and air-raid sirens - I still remember how they sounded.

    My father was glued to the TV and Radio. Absorbing every minute of the war. When the power would go out, he’d run out to his car and listen from the radio there.

    Thankfully the war had lasted only a few months and I was soon back in school.

    Things changed dramatically when the war was over. The economy bounced back and beyond. From then on our lives were modernizing by the minute.

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    Reply by: Diane at 8:37 am said...

    @Jaffer, Just as I responded on your blog post, I now reply to you here and it is fitting that I say these words to you on this day of the anniversary where so many people were killed…no murdered by a bunch of people who felt that they could take human lives and tried to give a name to it.

    Terrorists can be of any color, can be of any belief and can be of any political persuasion and that is the honest truth. To blame the many for the actions of the few is just as wrong as the deed that was done and the effects long lasting.

    I believe that we need to heal and to stop letting those few murderous people win with their divide and conquer attitude…I for one will not let any murderer or thug rule how I feel nor how I think!

    I believe there have been victims some so very obvious and others subtle and my heart hurts for each an every person who lost their lives, lost their families and lost their ability to live life as it was meant to be lived.

    Our world changed that day… let’s learn something positive and move forward with a hope and a prayer that we can create a lasting peace and where men of good will can join together, build and live their lives with dignity and honor.

    As my personal belief would say -

    So mote it be

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  2. After watching the horrific images over and over on TV, I remember saying to a friend the world would never be the same. That comment not only became prophetic, it was an understatement.

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  3. I remember that day so well. I was working as a cart girl at a country club in Duluth, GA and yes it was a beautiful morning. I was making my rounds when I began to notice that the guys (usually my regular customers) were not playing. Hole after hole everyone was huddled around a phone. Finally one member came to me and said do you have any updates? I was clueless. That’s when he said, a plane just flew into the world trade center. I was stunned and immediately headed into the men’s grill just in time to see the 2nd plane hit on the big screen.

    That day seemed to slow down. That evening after i called home to make sure my parents kept my then 4 yr old son away from the TV, a coworker and I sat out on the balcony both contemplating the empty sky. No planes.

    I have talked about what 9/11 means with my oldest son (now 14) and my younger children. It is so hard to explain what you yourself can barely comprehend even 10 years later.
    Thanks for letting me share.

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  14. […] Diane sets out to detail 4 specific events in her life that stopped her world. I highly recommend that you read about it at Social Media – A Collective Memory of Sept. 11th […]

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