Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Skyline I Never Saw

"September 11, 2001

Today is a day I will remember until the day I die. I, along with the rest of the world watched as terrorists bombed The United States of America. It truly feels like armageddon.

This morning Casey and I turned on the television to see the World Trade Center on fire. Before our eyes, this landmark, this staple of the New York City, skyline came crumbling to the ground. Terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two flew straight into the twin towers of the trade center and then as people - fifty thousand people - tried to escape the rubble the buildings collapsed to the ground on top of hundreds of rescuers.

Thousands of beautiful, innocent people.. all dead. I sit here tonight watching the video from today's events. My children will watch this video forever. School children will watch this video as I was raised watching grainy black and white video of the attacks at Pearl Harbor.

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, all these cities are closed as America watches and waits. America will never be the same. All flights and trains have been suspended. Wall Street is closed. Words are worthless. This, I believe is the beginning of World War 3. America has never seen anything like this. We have never been attacked like this. I am mad! Keep your fucking war in your own country. Leave my country alone!

People continue to be pulled from the rubble tonight. Clips of video show citizens of the Middle East celebrating our loss. In my shock I have not yet mentioned that as Casey and I rushed to get to our respective news stations word came in that a commercial airliner crashed into the Pentagon. The heart of our nation's defense under siege. I have seen no video from movies that even compares to this. The fourth airliner was also hijacked and crashed in Pennsylvania, reportedly on it's way to Camp David or the White House.

Thousands dead in the Pentagon, thousands dead at the World Trade Center. I truly can't write anymore but I will sum up my day. I went into work at nine in the morning - I work with some amazing people. Thirteen hours later I put down my headphones after producing an hour and a half long newscast without commercial breaks and cried. This day has passed in a blur. Images burned into my brain forever.

America's innocence and carefree days are gone, buried forever in the ash of the World Trade Center."

So. I realize the reasons behind the attacks on the trade center are complex.. and that America wasn't entirely innocent of wrong doing. The fact remains, those folks who died that day had nothing to do with that. What can be said about 9/11 that hasn't been said before? Today I wandered around downtown Manhattan. It's strange - the World Trade Center was a part of a skyline I have never seen. I only know New York post 9/11. But what I know so far makes me proud as hell to be a New Yorker. This city is like no other. It's the stuff of dreams, the heartbeat of the world.

The mood near the trade center today was a potpourri of circus and somber. The crazies come out to play on days like these. Aside from stumbling through a protest (click here to check it out) about some conspiracy theory or other it was a fairly somber affair. As the eyes of the country are on New York City I thought I would let you view today's events through my eyes

Reader Comments (10)

It goes withouth saying that this was the background music playing in my head throughout the day...

"Tall building shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
Tuned to chords strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around"

Wilco - Jesus, Etc.
September 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChicagoDave
I find it so sad that you never knew that skyline. I grew up with that, you can see it from my town. We used to take our visiting relatives to the best viewing spots and proudly point it out. I spent quite a bit of time in the World Trade Center, meeting friends, taking people to see it, taking the subway and cutting through to get to my friend's apartment, just shopping at the stores there.

That day, hours later, I finally got on a ferry to take me off the island. As we rounded the bend, I stared and stared. I couldn't believe what I was not seeing, even though by that time I had heard over emails and Blackberry from my friends who witnessed everything. I knew it wasn't there anymore, but I didn't believe it. For months, I didn't believe it.

And while I am so sad for so many things today, I am also so sad anyone knows NYC only post-September 11th. It's not anywhere near the greatest or biggest "wrong" out there, but it's not right.

(I hope this post makes sense.)
September 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
I was hoping you'd write about today. Awesome photos! I especially like the ones of you in the mirror that says World Trade Center Path Station.
September 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Today is a hard day...I cried on the way to work listening to a NYC firefighter being interviewed on my local radio station this morning and I have no connection at all to the events of 9/11...but it really haunts me...I can't really say why.

My father went down to NYC from Vancouver to over 50 services after 9/11 *he is a firefighter in Vancouver* and he has never been the same. When he talks about it, he clouds over...

I love NYC.

I am not American but I believe that day effected North America in a way we weren't ready for or thought could exist.

My thoughts are with all of you. Those who lost friends, family and neighbours. For those who didn't. For those who miss that skyline. For those who protested today. For those who just want to forget and for those who just want to remember.

Monica thank you for the photos.

September 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
September 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
..."America will never be the same": I think Monica, world will never be the same... it was unimaginable, unjust harm on all of us; I feel so so sorry for all these innocent people, their families, friends...

The war, wartime was/is the worst thing could happend in the world, caused by fanatic people to innocent country sustained the wartime twice at beginning of XX century and it went by nearly 70 years after it and we (I'm third generation) still carry that hard time more or less but it will be forever in our soul, that's our history...5 years ago, late afternoon, after work, I was looking at tv news, far away and couldn't believe all this happend for real, at that moment i was watched people passed on in such unearthy way, and it's not movie...couldn't believe the (our) world wasn't learnt anything from its (our) past experience and the harm on innocent people happend again because of... what? thank you for shareing yesterday atmospher with us.
September 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterana
Thank you for sharing your pics Monica.
Feels weird, yesterday just came and went, it seemed as if no one around me even remembered what happened that day. Yes, we all discussed it at work for about 5 minutes, that was about all.
The only connection to it is the posts you guys left, and made me cry.......thanks for that, thanks for helping me remember.
September 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Thank you for not only the post but for the pictures as well. Like you I never knew the skyline of NYC until after Sept. 11th, the day it happened was actually the first day of my sophmore year at a school pretty close to the city. I rememeber it like it was yesterday, the kids I went to school with were crying and worried and all I could do was just sit there because I was naive and didn't know where the WTC's were or that so many of the people I went to school with had family memebers or friend that worked there.

That day changed my life forever and I am glad that you wrote about it, because like Jen it wasn't even mentioned in my office and I work for the Gov't. if it wasn't in the paper or a date that I hold dear to my heart then it would've passed by like so many days do.

So thank you for writing about it and for sharing your pictures, you are a very nice candid photographer and those pictures captured alot of different emotions.
September 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTiffanie
Not only are you a talented writer, but a talented photographer as well. Nice job. Beautiful, raw, pictures.
September 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
It was sad how this day, 5 years ago, seemed to last forever. And, this day, 5 years later, seemed to come and go. Funny how life continued. Funny how it seemed, 5 years ago, that it would never resume. Funny how reading your blog only makes me tear up... it might be the vodka, or the whole "my husband is in Iraq, again" thing... but whatever. It's still weird to me.
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

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