my friends: “brian if you’re feeling restless you should try podcasts, it’s like having funny coworkers”

me: *turns on 9/11 episode of Last Podcast On The Left, stares into middle distance for much of the workday, broken*

my friends: “brian are you familiar with white noise”


 

Two weeks from now, I’m visiting New York for the first time in five years. I intend to make a solo trip to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Is it perverse to admit that I’m motivated by experiencing whatever feelings well up while standing on the site of a historic, globally-recognized atrocity? Not sure I’ve done any sightseeing at one of those before. Tourrerism.

The 9/11 museum’s absurd gift shop

I have an idea: if the government won’t fund a site meant to honor such a memorial, I guess that means we’re the ones who should! Do away with the unsettling, morbid gift shop, make the memorial fully donation-funded, and let’s see how long us true Americans keep the lights on.

The 9/11 museum’s absurd gift shop

At 8:46 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 struck World Trade Center Tower 1. Rescorla heard the explosion and saw the Tower burning from his office window. When a Port Authority announcement came over the P.A. system urging people to stay at their desks, Rescorla ignored the announcement, grabbed his bullhorn, walk-talkie and cell phone, and began systematically ordering Morgan Stanley employees evacuate, including the 1,000 employees in WTC 5. He directed people down a stairwell from the 44th floor, continuing to calm employees after the building lurched violently following the crash of the second plane 38 floors above. Morgan Stanley executive Bill McMahon stated that even a group of 250 people visiting the offices for a stockbroker training class knew what to do because they had been shown the nearest hallway. Having calmed his men in Vietnam by singing Cornish songs from his youth, Rescorla did the same in the stairwell, singing, “Men of Cornwall stand ye steady. It cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready. Stand and never yield!” Between songs, Rescorla called his wife, telling her, “Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.” After successfully evacuating the majority of Morgan Stanley’s 2,687 employees, he went back inside the building. When one of his colleagues told him he too had to evacuate the World Trade Center, Rescorla replied, “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out”. He was last seen on the 10th floor, heading upward, shortly before the tower collapsed. His remains were never found.

Wikipedia: Rick Rescorla

After seeing conspiracy theories and debates on the merit of 9/11 humor all morning, I got to discover this and remember there are things worth remembering about 9/11 that don’t make me feel horrible.

I walk past fire stations every day, but yesterday morning I took a moment to read some of the plaques memorializing those who made the “ultimate sacrifice.” Even though each plate differs only in name, the image of six heavy bronze plaques retains a lot of strength.