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September 02, 2006

Witness to History - Being at Ground Zero on 9/11

I have a guest editorial up at the PI for Sunday's paper entitled "Is more violence and less safety what we want?"  The piece, about my thoughts about having been at Ground Zero on 9/11, kicks off the PI's week of pre-5th anniversary of 9/11 coverage.  It's a sign of our differing roles in the NW blogosphere that I wasn't even the first one to notice it.  Both Goldy and Howie beat me to the story.  No links today, guys.  This is my story

I rarely ever talk about being at Ground Zero on 9/11.  In my personal life, it's just a world away.   It isn't until times like the approach of the 5th anniversary that it seems like it might have value to interweave my experiences that day with the reactions of our country to the impact of what happened there.  Thus the guest editorial.  Might as well use the hook of that unique experience to question the Bush Administration's use of our shock and fear to take us down a road that we will rue for generations.   

It was pretty amazing to have a front row seat at one of the defining moments of our history.  As I stood watching the first tower burn and then saw the second plane approach and tear into the second building, I knew we were dealing with bin Laden. People sometimes question how I could have known at that time but never people who know me well.  I have always paid deep attention to what is going on in the world.  I had read about who was responsible for the explosions at our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; I knew who was responsible for the Cole bombing.  I also knew that President Clinton had been hamstrung by the radical right in going after bin Laden.  There was that entire "Wag the Dog" meme going on - ridiculing Clinton for the two attempts he made to go after bin Laden and his holdings, once in the Sudan and the second time in Afghanistan, saying he was trying to draw attention away from his "impeachable offenses" with the Monica Lewinsky affair.  Of the many things I loathe the right for, that is top of the list.

For me personally, the impact of having been right there, was interesting.  Unlike a colleague who was also a witness on the scene, I did not have nightmares or feel the need to be nicer to my friends.  My personal life was in pretty good shape.  I did have to heal emotionally from the almost physical shock.  In the four days that we were unable to get out of New York, we spent most of the time in Central Park, soaking up the green trees, the lovely ponds, the surreal normality of parents and nannies slowly pushing prams and old men playing chess in the crisp fall weather.  Upon arrival back in California, I walked and hiked and had massages and cooked and had friends to dinner.  And wrote.  My kind of healing.

Over time, I noticed a big jump in my sense of my mortality.  Duh!  As my accountant said a couple months later in urging me to make a will, "a few blocks east and you would have been toast".  That sense of mortality came into my life as fearlessness and on-going questions about doing what I want to do with my life.  For me that meant, over the next couple years, ending what had been an enjoyable and relatively lucrative career in business and moving back home to Washington State to participate in politics full time.  With no financial planning and no safety net.   I was just doing what I was called to do - find a place where my efforts might make a difference.  In a place I love.  So here I am, struggling to earn a living (you know us bloggers don't get paid) and continuing to be a witness to history. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 2, 2006 at 08:23 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink


Ms. Allen, have you sought to uncover the truth about how September 11th happened? There is a wealth of credible information that suggests that the official story was incorrect and the President and his administration have been lying for the past 5 years.

Does this concern you? Would you like to do an interview for The Tahoma Activist on this subject? www.tahomaactivist.blogspot.com

Posted by: Tahoma Activist | Sep 2, 2006 10:03:14 AM

No matter what involvement they had or didn't have in the planning or possible prevention of the agony that was 9/11, it's a cinch that almost nobody could cause the aftermath to go so far in the wrong direction as the current administration.

Let's get it cleaned up and never forget who messed up virtually the whole planet, so we can keep history from repeating itself.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Posted by: Lisa | Sep 2, 2006 11:10:24 AM

Unfortunately, I believe that the Bush Administration 'Republicans' are attempting to drive a permanent wedge between the Christian and Jewish faith majority countries and the Muslim faith countries. This is an extension of the strategies of deliberately dividing and disinfransioning voters during the 2000 and 2004 national elections. They think it will work because they can put across the same uniform scary message that the alternative is to be attacked at home.

The payoff is that the military supply, the anti-terrorist supply corporations and the stockbrokers that invest in them make big, steady, longtime profits while the Bush appointees and their cronies have cushy, powerful jobs, not only in government, but also, in the increasingly popular revolving door policies that land them cushy, patronage positions in the same corporations.

Perhaps the next Democratic presidential candidate should travel with a Persian languages teacher and learn to communicate directly with the peoples of the Middle East and de-inflate the radical leaders with open and, for once, honest communication with the vast moderate disenfranchished middle class Islamic 'Peaceful Warriors'. Both worlds desperately need to put our limited resources back to funding our crumbling infrastructure, schools, and medical institutions. We need dialog with the rest of the world, not absolute decrees of 'Islamic Fascism gone wild' that is designed to divide us.

Posted by: Infrastructure Joe | Sep 2, 2006 11:32:39 AM

A very affecting piece, Lynn. Thank you. I did not know you were there that day.

Posted by: shoephone | Sep 2, 2006 4:15:13 PM

Lynn, excellent piece in The Seattle Times this morning. We all need to continue speaking clearly and unceasingly against the US administration's continued destruction of our coutnry and world.

Posted by: isabelita | Sep 3, 2006 6:18:55 PM

The words from someone, such as yourself, expressing the realities of that day always ring the bell of truth so much clearer than the 2nd hand pundits coloring in with crayons of hype. Thank you Lynn. Along the theme of getting ahead of the ABC 9/11 piece to air this weekend, there is a great post by John over at http://americablog.blogspot.com/ about the GOP response to Clinton as he tried to fight terrorism. This weekend in eastern Wash, the really terrific Ft Lewis batallion that was sent over here to help battle the wildfires has been recalled back to Ft. Lewis. They are set to now deploy to Iraq. Heart wrenching.

Posted by: mainsailset | Sep 4, 2006 11:16:49 AM

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