Sept. 11, 2001 marked my first official day of classes at the University of Winnipeg. I had a 10 a.m. intro to sociology course that day, so I woke up at eight to get ready. I sleepily remember watching a smouldering office tower in New York on a cable business news channel, thinking it was an interesting accident. For some reason, it didn’t register in my mind that people could have died from something like that. And the last thing on my mind was terrorism.
I walked the one block to the number 16 bus stop and headed off to the school. I got off at The Bay and was met by Evan just in front of what now is Booster Juice. “Did you hear what happened in New York?” he asked.
“Yeah! How cool was that!”
Evan was taken aback from my unfiltered excitement of the morning’s events.
“No, Garr. Not cool. It was terrorism.”
I’ll never forget his eyes when those words left his lips. It gives me chills just thinking about it now. I’ve debated with myself for years as to why I couldn’t make the implied connection to terrorism right away.
Off I went to Sociology, where Dr. Cheal barely made an utterance about the attacks.
Right after class, I walked over to Portage Place mall to grab some lunch. Or maybe it was to walk around. I can’t remember.
Normally, the mall walk way is bustling with people walking to and fro. Not on this day. The image of what looked like 100 people with mouths agape, staring at the TVs in the Radio Shack window in utter disbelief and sadness, will forever be burned in my mind.
Live footage of black, billowing smoke puffs whirling out of what seemed at the time every major monument I’d ever heard of were displayed on those screens.
I don’t remember what I did or what happened after that.
In the days, weeks and months following, what I do remember was heated debates about American foreign policy on the bus. I remember having mini heart attacks each time CNN had a “Breaking News” graphic flare up on its screens.
(As a side note, I’m a child of the CNN Generation. I remember watching the footage of the LA race riots. I remember skipping school to watch the O.J. Simpson verdict. I remember the David Koresh compound. I remember Oklahoma City. But I don’t remember CNN ever using their acclaimed BN logo throughout those events. I obviously could be wrong.)
For what it's worth, that's what I remember.