Thirteen (13) has ever been an ill number, and I feel sick in the pit of my stomach, in the depths of my soul, on this the 13th anniversary of the 2001, 9/11 terror attacks. Those Satanic attacks wreaked havoc on The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, the US economy and most importantly took the lives of more than 3,000 of our fellow citizens and foreign workers, and terrorized the larger numbers of their extended families. The martyred US citizens and foreign workers, came from every walk of life, truly representing the multicultural “melting pot” that is the United States of America. 9/11/01 changed everything and ushered us into a truly apocalyptic era; we are no longer post-modern or even post-ironic, we are post-everything…and we do post everything. We post it here, on the web. Here then is my post, in memoriam.
On 9/11/01, I arrived at my relatively new desk at WebEx, Sacramento, (now Cisco Systems) at 6 AM PST, to begin remotely calling on my sales territory…to begin calling on The World Trade Center. I was specifically chosen for a tough, New York sales slot, because I was, and am, a “big mouth”. I was brash and brazen in the interview process with my superiors at WebEx, and they correctly pegged me to sell web conferencing to similarly, loud, no-bullshit New Yorkers. I was honored! I was finally selling at a level that merited my first six-figure salary! My superiors were proven correct, as I maintained a 102% of quota figure for the year leading up to the attacks. That ill morning, as I stirred my coffee and muddled around, while firing up my 2nd PC, a co-worker, with another “early” and East Coast territory, emailed me something like this: “Hey Jenkins, a good reason to call into your territory?…attached was the earliest AP news report, indicating that “It appeared that a small plane has crashed into the side of the North Tower of The World Trade Center” The time stamp on the story indicated 9:04 AM EST, but we would later learn the first plane hit at 8:46 AM EST. I was nonplussed. I couldn’t imagine what kind of inane pilot was flying so low in the City. I quickly scanned web radio and found continually updated news reports. Almost immediately came the report of a second plane hitting the South Tower, and I knew our country was under attack. A small crowd of reps had gathered around my cube, and those of my neighbors, as more people became aware of the breaking news. We listened in horror, and then saw the first pictures of the damage from the planes. (I have included a link to a 10th anniversary pictorial story by The Atlantic at the bottom of this post) We were all dismayed, and all work came to a halt, as we began to pray and consider what was happening in and to our country.
We were not content to take our reports from the web, so a large contingency of us left the office, crossed the street and entered the lobby of a Marriott Residence Inn, where there was a TV in the lobby. The buildings were already on fire and great plumes of black smoke-filled the morning, New York air, darkening the skyline. I stood in rapt attention, in deep and unsettled prayer, and something like dismayed awe as we watched first the South, then the North Towers fall. I remember that I began to cry, finally, as I watched the South Tower slink down. In my memory, it simply gave up, rather than exploded, and it seemed to never stop descending down, down, down, in it’s sinewy death.
I cried because people I had video-conferenced with and sold software to were dying in those moments. I cried because I was unsure how much of a sustained attack our country was withstanding. I cried because I knew with prophetic certainty that the entire world was changing in those very moments. I cried as I preemptively mourned the lost naiveté our country was surrendering, along with security, along with the age of American Empire. We were losing all of this in the City of Empire! We lost it in a moment. And surely we had lost Empire in countless moments leading up to that one. We lost Empire when the hippies and gurus hit the scene in the 60’s, we lost it when Roe v. Wade declared an open season on unborn Americans,