Wow, nice turnout for the 9/4/09 Friday Challenge, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation." As of the deadline, we have received the following entries:
Vidad, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation"
Torainfor, "My Summer Vacation"
Arisia, "What I did on my summer vacation"
Passinthrough, "Summer Vacation"
Topher, "Che cosa ha accaduto questa estate"
Henry, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation"
Al, "Nicky Weird's Summer Vacation"
As always, even if you haven't submitted an entry this week—even if you never submit an entry in any week—you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorite. Don't be shy about leaving feedback on the authors' sites, either. Writers thrive on knowing that someone out there is actually reading their words. The winner will be announced on Sunday.
And now for this week's challenge.
I was supposed to be flying to Seattle on business on the morning of 9/11/2001, but fortunately the trip was canceled and rescheduled at the last minute. Instead I wandered into the office at the usual time, and remember how panicked Carol the Editor was at the morning's news. "An airplane crashed into the World Trade Center!" My initial reaction was, big deal, it's New York, something is always crashing there, and besides, Carol was always in a panic about something. But as long as it kept her glued to the TV in the conference room at the other end of the hall and out of my hair, I didn't much care.
Until the second plane hit. And then we knew the first one wasn't an accident, and the world changed.
Good Lord, was it really eight years ago?
I clearly remember that the first day was all about the panic, the hysteria, the wild rumors. Planes were dropping out of the sky all over the country. There were five—ten—no, twenty more hijacked planes up there, radio-silent and racing towards their targets. Crazed jihadists were hijacking gasoline tankers and planning to crash them into schools, and any unfamiliar truck was a potential car-bomb. The National Guard was called up and rolling out, and guys with machine guns were taking up defensive positions around the airport and the refineries.
Equally clearly, I remember that the next few days were all about the silence: the terrifying silence. My office was near the airport, a mile or two off the end of the major east-west runways. I'd gotten used to the constant aircraft noise, so when it suddenly stopped—except for the intermittent roar of the F-16s flying combat air patrol over the city—the silence was more frightening than any amount of noise.
How about you? What are your strongest memories of that day, that week? Eight years later, what sort of sense have you made of the events of 9/11/2001 and the days following? What lessons, if any, have you drawn from those times? How did your world change that day?
As always, we're competing by the loosely enforced Official Rules of the Friday Challenge, and competing for whatever is behind Door #3. The deadline for this contest is midnight Central time, Thursday, 9/17/09.
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