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My own small reflection on September 11th is probably vastly different from the rest of America. I was due in at the office for my Baltimore job, but after 5 months we'd lost 2 contracts and gained none, and the outlook was not too inspiring. My face was sunburned and peeling from a long weekend of soccer refereeing for a big Labor Day tournament, but it was more cash than I was actually receiving from my real job. They were already behind on paychecks. In fact, the rest of my office had been laid off already and my boss was bringing his son in after kindergarten. I dare say I interacted with his son at the office more than he did. I was playing a lot of Diablo II in those days, and my wife was still "the babe" and my roommate at that point.

Life was weird enough on its own at the time. I awoke late that morning as a very conflicted man. The night before had not been too friendly to my psyche. Like everyone else, I turned on the television after word of the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. I still remember the few minutes of wonder at the smoke pouring out of the building, and the shock I felt as the second plane came on screen and hit the neighboring tower. I didn't know what to think, or what was going to come next.

My neighbors from downstairs came up and knocked on my door. They used the downstairs apartment as an office and had no TV to watch the day's events. I never saw them before or again, but that morning we were silent company staring in amazement as over a hundred floors of concrete, glass and steel crashed down into the biggest cloud of debris I had ever seen. I heard about American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon and I counted myself lucky that I wasn't still working in DC or I would have already been on my way south and trying to drive while figuring out what was going on. Reports of the fourth hijacked plane over Pennsylvania came in, and I couldn't help but think there would be more, or that anywhere in the eastern seaboard was no safe haven from above.

That day, I was stuck in shock. Nothing seemed real or greatly important. After all the planes were out of the air I turned off the television. I didn't want to know what came next, and all I was hearing was either speculation or repetition of what little the public and news media did know. Later came despair, anger, and resignation. Later came a ring I had already been anxiously awaiting and an engagement that had been years in the making. Later came three months of unemployment before a job I started with the new year. Later came so much else.

That day I could only watch, and eventually not even that.

- Pookah

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