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.
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”!
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.
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.
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.