I Fuckin' Love You Guys....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembrance of Things Past

On the night of September 11, 2001, I was a single, childless, carefree slob enjoying a few drinks at my local pub in North Sydney, talking shit with the usual crowd and basically enjoying myself.

As the only American in the place, everybody suddenly seemed intent on making me aware of what was on the television - one of the towers of the World Trade Center was on fire. Nobody knew what or how it had happened; we just assumed that a nasty fire had broken out. The sound was down on the TV, and the jukebox was still blaring away when the second plane crashed into the other tower. Suddenly the music was off, and the US morning news presenters were telling us what was already painfully obvious.

I remember walking home in shock, and I called my brothers in the US as soon as I could, just to make sure that they and their families were ok, and I sat in front of the TV for the rest of that night. I was a zombie at work the next morning. All of my Australian co-workers and friends checked in with me constantly to make sure that I was ok, that my family were alright. I don't think I slept, or did any actual work, for three days or so.

I had been in the US for a total of maybe 3 days in the 5 years before that; and suddenly I was very, very homesick. I love Australia, and it is definitely my home now, but at the end of the day - I'm from Chicago. There will always be things that I'll miss about the States. Sitting in the bleachers in Wrigley Field on a spring afternoon. The bite of the cold wind blowing in off Lake Michigan in Autumn. Decent pizza. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. The burritos they make at this little Mexican shack on 10th St. in Long Beach, California. My brothers, my sister, my Mom & Dad.

In the weeks and months after 9/11, I was aware of all the memorials, and vigils, and tributes, and moments of silence, and other remembrance events that were going on in the US, but life here went on as normal. I watched on TV as the crowds stood up to sing "God Bless America" before the baseball games I'd stay up to watch on ESPN, and I'd feel all patriotic, but I never stood at attention in my lounge room waving the flag or anything. I wasn't a part of what was going on in the US anymore.

My relationship with my older brother sort of deteriorated pretty quickly after that day, as we both tried to make sense about what it all meant. I've always had lots of Muslim friends, and I know that Islam teaches peace, and that the fanatics who perpetrated those evil acts did not represent a majority. But he seemed to feel strongly that this was an "us against them" sort of war, and as I didn't even live in the US anymore, my opinions weren't really relevant. We still talked, but there began to be a lot more unsaid. Since my other brother died, we just have that much less to talk about anymore, so we seldom do.


At 8:22 PM, Blogger Steph said...

That is really sad.
I really hope one day you can reconnect with your brother. You've already lost one.


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