I don't live in New York, nor Washington, and I wasn't there on the day in question. Like millions of people I was a voyeur who turned on the television just after the second attack, hearing that it happened while listening to a local sports radio station.
That's my 9/11 story. I'll leave it to the people that actually lived there to talk about it. Anything else, and we'll be inundated with it, is tragedy porn. "We're more moved and sorrowful than you are." Which is the tritest bullshit possible.
It's the aftermath that really compounds the tragedy.
The fact is, like Wilton Sezker in "Why We Fight", many Americans to one degree or another were conned by the Bush Administration into unleashing their desire for revenge irrationally upon a place that had nothing to do with 9/11 and deflect it from the place and people that did.
This country had luckily up to September 2001 been governed by people who usually rose to the occasion in time of crisis; Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower. But the odds caught up to us, and thanks to the most bizarre election in our history we ended up with a group tragically ill-suited for the crisis of 9/11.
The tragic course we would take should have been clear on that day itself. First he just stayed on vacation when warned, then he sat there for seven minutes -- doing nothing, just sitting there -- and finally, he flew around the country looking like a coward.
On September 11th, at least here in the hinterlands, all fucking day people were talking to each other saying "where the hell is Bush?" -- in fact it is one of the reasons that the cult of Giuliani was born, because there was such a gigantic vacuum from the national leadership. There was no real Bush moment until three days later when he climbed upon rubble with a bullhorn. Five years later, there is no more appropriate metaphor for this cast of fuckups than that.
As we know now, while most of the country went to bed in, to say the least, a somber mood, ol' Dubya & Lump were having a good giggle on the graves of 3,000 of their employers.
The Bush folks have political skill at manipulation, but they have no appropriate policies for this time in history at all. They did not choose to be uniters, but rather they choose to be exploiters. I'm in my early 40s and people my age will be paying for these things the rest of our lives.
Nothing by an American politician in my lifetime has ever made me angrier than betrayal of the American public and that day by these fuckers. I hope that nothing ever will.