Five Years Ago
Five years ago I sat in the Munich office of my former boss, a German attorney with an office in Atlanta, waiting for my H-1B visa to be approved by the US Immigration Service. I worked in his Munich office during the summer and the plan was to move to Atlanta once the paperwork was finished. Then 9/11 happened. We all thought that because of 9/11 my visa would get delayed and who knows when it would be approved. But, au contraire (maybe because it was already so close to approval), I was on a plane to Atlanta on October 6. My parents were very concerned but I told them that it was probably never safer to be on an airplane. I remember that the plane was very, very, very empty. I had the 5 seats in the center row to myself.
Thinking about it - 9/11 might have changed my stay in the US completely. My boss was scheduled for a meeting at the World Trade Center that morning but his flight to New York the night before got canceled. His business partner that he was supposed to meet was down the street in a coffee shop getting breakfast. He survived the disaster, too. Two very lucky men...
As you might remember, my husband is from New York. He worked in the south tower of the World Trade Center for many years. When 9/11 happened, he had left New York years before and was living in Atlanta. We were on the phone that day because he could not get any details at work about what had happened in New York, and I tried to update him as best I could with what news we had on German TV and radio. I remember a lot of internet sites wouldn’t load because too many people were trying to get on. My husband was devastated at the time – he is a very sensitive and loving man. It just blew his mind that such a tragedy could happen at a place that was near and dear to him for so long. It is still hard for him to watch movies that take place in pre-9/11 New York City and have the Twin Towers in the skyline. But he is getting better, and each 9/11 anniversary is less traumatic.
A while back, Hubby put United 93 on our movie queue at Netflix, but I was worried that this would not be a good movie for him/us to watch. We have been avoiding 9/11 documentaries for a long time and only just recently watched Fahrenheit 911. But Hubby said that he read a lot of good reviews about United 93 and thought he would be ok watching it. So, it arrived this past Saturday – purely coincidentally with 9/11 coming up – and we watched it last night. I can only tell you to see this movie. It is superb. It is almost two hours long and it zooms by like two minutes. We were very impressed by how real the movie felt – you almost thought you were sitting on the plane. And in the bonus features there is a one-hour documentary about some of the passengers' families and how they felt meeting the actors that played the roles of their loved ones. I feel this movie gave us some of the emotions that the passengers must have felt on the plane and I am glad we watched it. I eyed my husband every once in a while during the movies but he seemed to take it very well.
There was one statement in the documentary about the families that really caught me and that keeps coming back to me. A husband lost his pregnant wife in the crash of United 93. He was asked if he hates Osama Bin Laden because he caused the death of his wife and unborn child. The man said something along the lines of "I can't hate a person I don’t know personally. I need to know somebody to know if he is a terrible person and then have a reason to hate that person".
I SO AGREE – none of the people who died on 9/11 had met before. They had no chance to know each other and/or hate each other. 9/11 happened because of this society, this world, and some people who are in charge and who think they know better. Not everybody has to have the same opinion and live the same lifestyle.
Let’s remember how good our lives are and how many good things happen every day. You might not notice them because they are minor but I believe they all make a difference. And let’s send a lot of good thoughts to the people we know that are not as fortunate as we are.