God Bless America

The title of this post is today’s trending topic on Twitter. #GodBlessAmerica. Today America and the world reminisce again the loss of thousands of dear ones.


I’m not going to overanalyse 9/11 and go through it all over again like thousands of bloggers, news agencies and international affairs people have been doing. You can find political and social analysis of 9/11 chewed and spitted all over the web. I don’t have anything of value to add to it. It changes in nothing what happened.


I didn’t lose a dear one on 9/11, but I feel like sharing  my memories of it.  To me 9/11/2001 was the singlemost event of my existence – I’m going 32 this year.  Nothing else that happened during my lifetime that was as memorable – in a bad way – as seeing the WTC collapsing to the ground via live TV broadcast.


And then there’s the classic question “Where were you when…?”



In the morning of Semptember 11th, 2001, I was still a medical student. I was arriving at the Pavilhão Pereira Filho Lungs Hospital to see patients and for a lecture. I entered the hospital. The waiting lounge TV was on, and dozens of people (patients and staff) were gathering around the TV, as if hypnotized. The first plane had already hit the first tower. I thought that was all very funny and strange at the same time, and asked the lady next to me: “What film is that?”, to which she replied “It’s not a film. A plane crashed into the building.” That sounded delirious, surreal, and I was kind of dumbfounded. The woman had barely finished talking when the second plane hit the second tower. Then I said ‘oh my god’ in a low voice and my brain went on in an endless “what the fuck” loop for a pretty long time until it actually got to me that that was no film and something was really happening. Then I went up the stairs for a lecture that took place only in our bodies but not in our minds, because we had our cell phone radios on and even the professor would stop the lecture to ask on updates about “the situation”.  Everyone was worried, because even though the attacks occured in the USA, the motive for the attacks and the attackers were both initially unknown, and everyone was afraid of being blown up as well.  I had to see patients in the hospital wards that day. The hospital wards are filled with televisions – every room, every corridor. Eventually my medical examination and interview would be interrupted by the patient pointing to the TV set and mumbling something. After I was done with my daily activities I went to the med school cafeteria – which was crowded with other fellow students looking at the TV and debating the attacks and American foreign affairs. And that was 9/11 for me.


Aftermath: all the bad talk and international debate about the role of American foreign affairs in the attacks and the whole war against terror thing came only weeks/months later. The shock wave of the implosion of the WTC was stronger than anything and uttered immediate revenge

and so it goes.

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