September 11 Digital Archive






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September 11 Email: Body

I can see why you've been so freaked out. It seems like everyone is either in some stage of denial or fright. The only way to not be scared is to pretend like none of this is happening.

I have to admit I am seriously terrified now that the FBI has issued that statement saying that other terrorist attacks in the US are indeed possible. Earlier this week someone in NY sent around an e-mail that Joe R. got forwarded. It basically said, "My uncle is in the military in Albany. He says to GET OUT OF NEW YORK NOW, because he knows for sure that something is going to happen on October 11!" Well, of course nothing did, but the way I helped Joe decide to dismiss the e-mail as nothing but a rumor was to assure him that if the military knew of a threat to New York, and they couldn't stop it, they would issue a pubic statement. Joe and I kind of laughed it off, rolling our eyes about people's paranoia. And then a couple days later the FBI does exactly what I was talking about: issue a statement saying that something is going to happen, but they don't know what, and it's up to us to try to stop it. George W. himself, who has been so vague since this whole thing started, was saying on television last night, "If you see someone getting into a crop duster who you know isn't supposed to be flying that crop duster, report it to your local authorities." It so frightening to think that even our own government isn't sure what's going to happen to us next.

It's been relatively easy, I suppose, for me to try to convince myself that what happened in New York on 9/11 was just a nightmare or a hoax, a la Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds." Even though I still know about 100 people living in New York City, I only communicate with them via phone or e-mail. The people I see with my own eyes on a daily basis are much more removed from New York City, literally and figuratively. I got my hair cut last weekend and the stylist was shocked to hear that the twin towers were only about 20 feet shorter than the Sears Tower. "Yeah, it'd be like two Sears Towers falling down in the middle of downtown Chicago," I told her, and she was shocked. How can people not know how big the World Trade Center is? Was.

Bit by bit, the national trepidation has crept 700 miles west to Illinois. My daily walk from the train station to my 60-story office building takes me past the Sears Tower, the Chicago Board of Trade, a large post office, and the Dirksen Federal Building. Early on the timeline, large concrete barriers went up on the sidewalk around the Dirksen Building. "What are those for?" a coworker of mine wondered as we walked to the train one night. "To prevent car bombs, I guess," was my reply. I added on the "I guess" to try to tone down the fact that the barricades' purpose had been immediately apparent to me. A week later they had multiplied to circle the post office. The post office is bordered on one side by a plaza with a large red Calder sculpture called "The Flamingo," and an open-air market was held in the plaza once or twice a week. The market was canceled indefinitely and three police cars have been sitting in its place ever since.

Two weeks ago -- or maybe three -- the concrete barriers were added to the block the Sears Tower is on. That block was rid of newspaper dispensers and mailboxes almost immediately after the terrorist attacks, and police were stationed on every corner. But it seemed as if security doubled overnight, with the prevention of cars stopping anywhere near the Tower, and the observation deck being closed. This morning the cops patrolling the area weren't just cops, they were the SWAT team police. I walked past them and thought, "Jesus, this is really happening." Two out of the three entrances to my office building have been closed and everyone must pass through a security checkpoint. Employees have been given "key cards" to swipe, visitors must sign in and leave photo ID at the security desk. There are no metal detectors installed but something stopped me from bringing a knife along with the quiche I baked for our company pot luck. I just didn't want to be caught with a large kitchen knife anywhere outside of my kitchen.

I don't blame you for being scared of drinking the water or of getting Anthrax. To answer your question, "I'm crazy. What's up with u?" I'd have to say, "I'm crazy too."


September 11 Email: Date

October 11, 2001

September 11 Email: Subject


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