Thursday, 18 September 2008

"If I Could Say What's On My Mind" - Temprees, 1972

I realize that I'm one week late with this post, but I wasn't able to write it on the day it happened.

One week ago today, as everybody knows, was the anniversary of "September 11th" in the US. This year's anniversary found me heading to London to run the afternoon session of one of our training classes in a hotel near Tower Bridge.

I wasn't thrilled about being in London on the 11th, to tell you the truth. And then I realized that I was just being wimpy and silly - we never know when something could happen. And we can't put our lives on hold as a result.

So I headed off to London in the morning, on the Chiltern Railways from Banbury to Marylebone Station in London. From there, I took the Bakerloo line on the Tube system, connecting to the District or Circle Line at Embankment.

And it was on a packed Tube train that something interesting happened.

The events of seven years ago had nearly overwhelmed my thoughts since I woke up that morning. I was listening to a shuffle of favorite songs on my iPod Nano just to keep myself occupied during the trip to the venue. And I was glad to have the distraction, too, when I realized how crowded the southbound Bakerloo Line was that morning. I jammed myself on, ending up almost in the doorway. I turned down the iPod's volume a little and took a big deep breath. Well, at least I was on the way.

And when you'd think that nobody else would fit onto the train, a few more jammed into the Tube car at the next stop. We were about halfway between stations when I finally noticed who was standing right in front of me.

It was a United Airlines employee. He was in full uniform, and there was his "United" name badge on his coat. The badge identified him as part of a flight crew.

I so wanted to say something. How sorry I was about the loss of so many of his colleagues seven years ago that very day. How awful it had been. You know, something like that.

But I just couldn't. I felt paralyzed. I just didn't have a clue what to say, so I said nothing.

Perhaps if the train had been less crowded, I would have been more assertive. I don't know. Maybe it was just too painful to talk about.

But I didn't have long to think about it. He was gone at the next stop.

I still feel terrible that I didn't speak up.



At 18 September, 2008 16:42 , Blogger Expat mum said...

I think they were all American Airlines flights, so it's just as well you didn't. Altho' he would have appreciated the thought anyway.
Imagine being thus trussed up on the tube back in the 80's when we were still living with the threat of IRA bombs. Every time a tube train came to an unexplained stop in a tunnel, everyone would start sweating and wondering what was going on. Very scary.

At 18 September, 2008 19:19 , Blogger Janet said...

Expat Mum,

Actually, two were American flights but two were United.

United Flight 175 hit the South Tower of the WTC, and United 93 is the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

So there were indeed a lot of United personnel killed on the that day. Now you can understand why I wish I had said something.


At 27 September, 2008 01:36 , Blogger Jannie "Funster" said...

Janet, this post proves you to be an even finer human being than I'd already realzed. A great sensitivity in you.

I may not have said anything to the United man either.

I was pushing Kelly out of my body 4 hours after the first plane hit. We watched it on the t.v. in my maternity room.

Keep the woderful post coming - you rock!.



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