Tag Archives: 9/11

Today, Twelve Years Ago

Borrowing from Michiko Kakutani in this morning’s New York Times:

“A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now. It is too late. The Evacuation still proceeds, but it’s all theater. … He’s afraid of the way the glass will fall–soon–it will be a spectacle: the fall of a crystal palace. But coming down in total blackout, without one glint of light, only great invisible crashing.”

–Thomas Pynchon, “Gravity’s Rainbow”

1 Comment

Filed under Current Affairs, History, Literature

That Day

A semi-annual semi-tradition here, reposting an abridgment of a passage from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” that Scott Simon read on NPR the weekend after September 11, 2001:

“I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times;
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm;
How he knuckled tight, and gave not back one inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk’d in large letters, on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you:
How he follow’d with them, and tack’d with them—and would not give it up;
How he saved the drifting company at last:
How the lank loose-gown’d women look’d when boated from the side of their prepared graves;
How the silent old-faced infants, and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp’d unshaved men:
All this I swallow—it tastes good—I like it well—it becomes mine;
I am the man—I suffer’d—I was there. …

I am the mash’d fireman with breast-bone broken;
Tumbling walls buried me in their debris;
Heat and smoke I inspired—I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades;
I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels;
They have clear’d the beams away—they tenderly lift me forth.
I lie in the night air in my red shirt—the pervading hush is for my sake;
Painless after all I lie, exhausted but not so unhappy;
White and beautiful are the faces around me—the heads are bared of their fire-caps;
The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. …

I take part—I see and hear the whole;
The cries, curses, roar—the plaudits …
Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs … the rent roof—the fan-shaped explosion;
The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. …

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.”


Leave a Comment

Filed under Current Affairs, History, Literature

Tuesday Notes

Speaking of new neighbors: The New York Times reports that wildlife biologists from Cornell are doing a study of the apparently large and relatively new population of coyotes moving into Westchester County, just north of the city. Coyotes have an apparent taste for small dogs of the dust-mop variety: “… a Mount Pleasant couple reported that a few years ago a coyote hopped a four-foot fence, snatched their Lhasa apso and jumped back over — in plain sight of the husband. In June 2006, a Croton-on-Hudson resident, Herbert Doran, was walking his bichon frisé at night when a coyote lunged at the dog. ‘He tried to muscle me out of the way with his body to get to her,” Mr. Doran said in a phone interview. “I came down on his head with a flashlight. He was stunned for a second and then he stepped back. We had a stare-down for four or five seconds and then he took off.’ ”

Places not to get lost: Oregon ranks high on the list. Two or three weeks ago, Bay Area papers were reporting on two locals who had gone missing while on a trip to the Portland area. Investigators and family members speculated that the pair, a Jesuit priest and a longtime friend, had run off the road somewhere while touring the region. Well, it turns out the speculation was right — the missing people were found dead in a car wreck off the side of a northwestern Oregon highway. But that’s not all. It turns out that another motorist witnessed the June 8 crash, took careful note of the location, and then left the scene to find a phone and call 911; he reached dispatchers just minutes after the accident but he had no information on the potential victims’ condition and didn’t return to the scene After some initial confusion about which jurisdiction should respond, police arrived at the reported location. They looked around for awhile, and after about an hour called off the search. As The Oregonian reports, the families of the dead tourists are pretty unhappy: “We want to find out what skill levels and communication go on in Oregon,” said Rosemary Mulligan, [driver David] oSchwartz’s sister. “The individual who called 9-1-1 was so detailed that my 16-year-old daughter could have found the car. For adults not to find it is pretty inexcusable.”

Technorati Tags:

1 Comment

Filed under Current Affairs

That Day

Did this last year. It’s still one of the best things I’ve encountered regarding that day: an abridgment of a passage from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” that Scott Simon read on NPR the weekend after September 11, 2001:

“I understand the large hearts of heroes,

The courage of present times and all times;

How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm;

How he knuckled tight, and gave not back one inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,

And chalk’d in large letters, on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you:

How he follow’d with them, and tack’d with them—and would not give it up;

How he saved the drifting company at last:

How the lank loose-gown’d women look’d when boated from the side of their prepared graves;

How the silent old-faced infants, and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp’d unshaved men:

All this I swallow—it tastes good—I like it well—it becomes mine;

I am the man—I suffer’d—I was there. …

I am the mash’d fireman with breast-bone broken;

Tumbling walls buried me in their debris;

Heat and smoke I inspired—I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades;

I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels;

They have clear’d the beams away—they tenderly lift me forth. 

I lie in the night air in my red shirt—the pervading hush is for my sake;

Painless after all I lie, exhausted but not so unhappy;

White and beautiful are the faces around me—the heads are bared of their fire-caps;

The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. …

I take part—I see and hear the whole;

The cries, curses, roar—the plaudits …

Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs … the rent roof—the fan-shaped explosion;

The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. …

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;

Missing me one place, search another;

I stop somewhere, waiting for you.”

Technorati Tags: 9/11

Technorati Tags:

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Graphic History

911Cover

Slate is running an online version of “The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.” Ever since I came across Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” — one of the best and most chilling Holocast narratives I’ve ever seen — I’ve been a big fan of the graphic novel format as a method for relating history (another, much quirkier example: “The Fatal Bullet,” a retelling of the James A. Garfield assassination). I don’t think such treatments are replacements for deeper reading, but they can make complex historical subjects more accessible to a wide audience.

In the case of the new 9/11 comic book, you won’t learn anything new if you paid attention to the original report and other accounts. But seeing the events in pictorial form has a way of bringing them freshly to mind. Whether a lot of people want to have that day put in front of them is another matter; I tend to think the day is worth contemplating and contemplating again. (The Washington Post, which I believe owns Slate, ran a story on the book last month. Among other things, the piece mentions that the authors’ previous credits include un-revolutionary stand-bys like “Richie Rich” and “Caspar” — you know, the friendly ghost).

Knivesboxcutters

Technorati Tags: ,

1 Comment

Filed under Current Affairs, History, Literature

Re: September 11th

A day late: From a brilliant abridgment of Walt Whitman’s "Song of Myself" that Scott Simon read on NPR the weekend after September 11, 2001:

"I understand the large hearts of heroes,

The courage of present times and all times;

How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm;

How he knuckled tight, and gave not back one inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,

And chalk’d in large letters, on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you:

How he follow’d with them, and tack’d with them—and would not give it up;

How he saved the drifting company at last:

How the lank loose-gown’d women look’d when boated from the side of their prepared graves;

How the silent old-faced infants, and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp’d unshaved men:

All this I swallow—it tastes good—I like it well—it becomes mine;

I am the man—I suffer’d—I was there. …

I am the mash’d fireman with breast-bone broken;

Tumbling walls buried me in their debris;

Heat and smoke I inspired—I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades;

I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels;

They have clear’d the beams away—they tenderly lift me forth. 

I lie in the night air in my red shirt—the pervading hush is for my sake;

Painless after all I lie, exhausted but not so unhappy;

White and beautiful are the faces around me—the heads are bared of their fire-caps;

The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. …

I take part—I see and hear the whole;

The cries, curses, roar—the plaudits …

Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs … the rent roof—the fan-shaped explosion;

The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. …

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;

Missing me one place, search another;

I stop somewhere, waiting for you."


 

Technorati Tags:

1 Comment

Filed under Current Affairs, History, Literature