9/11/08: September 11th, 2001

Dear Dick Wolf:

Where were you when it happened?

It’s the question you now hear every year on this date. Me? I was sleeping soundly in my apartment in North Hollywood. My mom’s phone call woke me. She told me to turn on the television. At that point I’d never been to New York. In my mind, it was this indestructible, almost mythical place that, had someone told me it was the center of the universe, I would have believed it. (Now that I have been there, I’d swear to it.) And to see it attacked, to see our country attacked in such an arrogant, horrible manner, was devastating…I took solace in my journal. Looking back, I don’t know how therapeutic it ended up being, but I’m glad I did. Once a year I pull out what I wrote that day and reread it. Maybe it’s the actress in me wanting to get all sappy and emotional. But I like to think it goes deeper than that. That I read those words so I’ll never forget. So in my own way, I can honor the people whose lives were taken that day.

What follows is my account of September 11th, 2001.

7:55 a.m. PDT
My God. I’m watching the television right now. New York is completely under terrorist attack. Or should I say, the U.S. is. United Airlines flight #93 has just been reported to have crashed into Camp David. An anniversary of some sort. This is insane. American Airlines flight #11 from Boston, on its way to L.A., crashed into one of the Twin Towers at 8:48 this morning, Eastern time. At 10:30 a.m., the second tower collapsed. Everything is shut down.

Bin Laden is said to be responsible for this – a response to U.S. support of Israel. It’s so hard to believe that religion can cause this much destruction. All of the government buildings have been evacuated, airports shut down. Union Station evacuated.

8:20 a.m.
In 40 minutes, it will be 9 a.m. in Los Angeles. Apparently, some of the hijacked flights are (were?) headed to L.A. I have no idea what is going to take place here at the start of the business day. An estimated 50,000 people work in the Twin Towers. SO MANY LIVES. People jumping from the buildings. So surreal. This is hysteria. Something from a Bruckheimer or Cameron flick. Oh hell – listen to me. Mass devastation and I’m talking movies. Typical.

Four airlines have reported hijackings. They’re trying to confirm which flights. Supposedly two on the way to Los Angeles right now. One to San Francisco. I work right down the freeway from the Federal building. My guesses for the planes, should they attack L.A., are the Federal building and LAX. Who knows – maybe the Staples Center. Home of the world champion Lakers. Madonna is playing there tonight. The biggest world tour happening right now.

September 11, 1978. The signing of Camp David which has apparently been a sore spot for the Islams. The anniversary. Mom and Dad’s anniversary, too. TV is saying the number of Trade Center casualties could reach the thousands.

Just reported: a plane headed to San Fran has crashed in Pennsylvania. President Bush was evacuated at 9:40 a.m. EDT and is on his way to an undisclosed location.

Twin Towers, 110 stories each. I feel completely astonished. Never before has the threat of an impending WWIII been so real. Yet so surreal. I don’t know if anything will happen in L.A. All planes have been grounded or diverted to Canada. Poor Canada! Yes, that’s it. Send the danger to our Canadian neighbors. Military bases across the country are on alert.

8:45 a.m.
It’s remarkable how people pull together in times like this. I want to call {ex who shall remain nameless} to see how he’s handling all of this. What he’s feeling, but I can’t. Pride triumphs over reason. Again.

9:00 a.m.
No L.A. reports yet. The news is recapping the morning’s events in NY. I’ve calmed a bit. I think we’re safe, but what now? Send our men and women to fight in another war? No! But how can we not respond to this?

9:50 a.m.
Just got off the phone with Matt. I was worried that he might be in the air, but thankfully no. He was, however, en route to the airport in Denver to take off for, of all places, New York. He said they call him “Mr. Lucky.” Goofball. He’s now home safe.

They just reported fatalities at the Pentagon. Not sure how many. So many bits of information are being thrown out that it’s hard to keep things straight. From what I understand, there are still 50 planes (domestic) in the air. I’m not sure whether or not there’s any way to tell if the passengers are safe, or if any of them are in hijack status. Also, I’m not aware of destinations. LAX is closed, of course, and Los Angeles as a whole is on high tactical alert.

The National Guard has been dispatched. I’m thinking of people I haven’t considered in ages. Sean B., who was in the National Guard when we dated 10 years ago. Dan H., Mike. My friends in the military. Jenny B., Marty G. who must, as a firefighter as well as a human, be viewing this with great rage and disbelief. It’s almost as if, in the wake of something like this, your life somewhat flashes before your eyes, so to speak. I’ve been on the phone with mom twice this morning. She’s fine but emotionally sickened, as I’m certain so many of us are.

I keep thinking about the people on the planes. It’s one thing to be on a plane, dreading a crash that doesn’t often happen. But to be on a HIJACKED plane…?? To know that you probably won’t get out alive. If a crash does occur, absent of a hijacking, it’s usually over quickly, mercifully. But to be on a plane for an extended period of time knowing that your life is probably going to come to an end because some idiot is trying to make a political or religious statement? Those poor, poor people. And the families. Such a massive tragedy.

Henry Kissinger is on the TV right now via telephone from Germany. Former U.S. Secretary of State. That’s all I know about this man. He represents to me a figure from U.S. history. I’ve heard his name all my life but I’m not aware of his accomplishments. How ignorant is that? It just adds to the surrealism of all this.

They’re comparing this to Pearl Harbor, although stating it’s worse. Hospitals are inundated with casualties. The red cross is calling for blood donors.

11:26 a.m.
53 injured (Washington). 3 more on the way. This is certainly not a complete count. I don’t know what exactly these numbers represent. I’m guessing the majority of the victims (fatalities) are still trapped in the Towers. Bush is enraged. Of course he is. No matter what our views or how our opinions differ, as Americans we have to come together at a time like this and offer our leader our unconditional support.

There is a gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon.

2:30 p.m.
Building #7 at the World Trade Center just collapsed. I have been cleaning the apartment for the last couple of hours and not paying strict attention to the happenings, so I’m not sure why the latest crumble has occured. The Pentagon has just reported about 100 fatalities. Star 98.7 is cross-casting with KFI. I don’t know what we’re going to do with the show tonight…

11:47 p.m.
What a day. Devastating, surreal…so many adjectives to describe it. I’m in bed, about to drift off. My prayers are with my countrymen. Let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of this anytime soon. Scratch that – EVER.

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is incredible, Gina. What a gift you gave to yourself, and through your remembering, to humankind.

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