Remembering Six Years Later
Today everyone remembered the terrorist attacks six years ago. They talked about where they were when they heard the news. They discussed the invasion of Iraq, but not the invasion of Afghanistan for some reason. Osama bin Laden came up, but no one cared about his latest video (it'll never go platinum.)
Work kept me too busy to do too much reminiscing. I was working back then too. The only real danger to me was from other traffic on Interstate 80 through the eastern half of Iowa. Still, there were things that stood out in my drive and still stand out in my memory.
One of the things that stood out was the number of plain, white vans. As I drove back from Des Moines these plain, white vans drove by. They had their windows darkened. They had Nebraska license plates. The guys driving wore t-shirts and dark glasses.
I probably wouldn't have noticed, but it was just a paranoia-inducing day. How often do you see such a large number of ignorable vehicles? How often do you get a convoy of nearly-identical, non-descript vans? There's no proof that there was anything going on beyond my imagination. Still?
All aircraft in American airspace was immediately grounded that day. By late afternoon, all the contrails that normally cross the Midwestern sky had faded away. The skies were clear.
I took the 80-380 interchange to go south on Highway 27. Looking up, I saw the contrails of a large aircraft that seemed to be escorted by a couple of smaller aircraft. They flew eastward, away from the setting sun. The radio said something about not knowing where President Bush was. I knew where he was.
Other things I remember about that day have to do with the ignorance of various people. I'll be nice (for a change) and not talk about them. It's sort of a solemn day, in its way. It is history.