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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were we on 9/11?

I remember September 11, 2001 quite vivdly. At the time I was the City Administrator in Hooper Bay, a small Yup'ik Eskimo village on the coast of the Bering Sea. The aftermath was several days of dead quiet skies with no planes coming and going, and the same shock and uncertainty every American shared.
I remember exactly where I was when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and I remember when and how I first heard the news.
This evening, September 11, 2010 on the 9th anniversary of the sneak attack by a few religious zealots who would not have given a whit nor changed theur plans if the airliners they hijacked were filled with devout Muslims, tonight familes gather around their television sets to watch documentary after documetary about a day which no school child will ever forget for the next 100 years.
And, tonight, in Anchorage, a couple of todays popular cultures biggest stars took the stage to reminisce about this day of tragedy and unbelievable herosim.
One of these stars was probably wide awake, watching it live.
The other was probably (figuratively, not literally) in the same place I was:
The only place most forturne cookies make any sense:
The place MOST Alaskans were when the planes crashed:
Oh yeah- Alaska is four hours behind time-zone wise. 8 am EST is 4 am Alaska time.
So, during these reminisinces this evening, at least according to news reports, the woman who was supposed to live in Juneau (twwwstlij) said she got a call from the Chief of Police of the fair city of Wassilla, and she turned on her tv to watch. OK, sounds fair. I called MY Chief of Police and told Him to turn on his TV.
But heres the interesting thing. She says the next thing she did was close down the City Hall and headed to church. I am not questioing that she went to church - many Americans headed right there. But unless she had her own key to the church, she would have had to wait until at least 8 am Alaska time to close City Hall (as soon as it opened?).
I set my alarm clock for 5:54 am so I can hear news first thing in the morning. That morning I woke from a very strange dream, hearing confused voices and cries, and then I was awake... a few minutes before my clock radio came on.
Then there was KNOM in Nome and it was weird because over the normal pre-6am music was the Associated News Radio feed and they were talking about one of the World Trade Center towers collapsing and planes crashing into both of them.
Well, we didn't have a tv at the time so I called my neighbor, the Chief of Police, woke him up and told him to turn on his tv...."How come," he asked...I told him I'd be over in a few minutes.
Now, as City Administrator I was responsible for the safety and well being of my community. The City Office opened on schedule and I wasted no time in checking the State Division of Emergency Services e-mail. People expected the City to be functioing, and it was. Sure, we listened to the radio constantly, but we sure didn.t shut down.
Besides, I couldn.t have shut it diwn at 8 am Eastern Statndard Time...I was still home asleep.

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