Ten years ago my brother stood at the White House and watched a low flying plane turn away

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Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, my little brother was standing in front of the White House speaking to our mother on his cellphone.

He was preparing for an early morning tour, and my mother was trying to tell him airplanes had hit buildings in New York. My mother could hear the loudspeakers telling people to leave the area. My brother said he had to go, and that was the last mom heard from him for seven hours.

As my brother was leaving he saw a plane, flying very low, and banking away. He could see the windows, and the flaking paint on the plane’s tail.

A few seconds later, as he and the crowd moved away from the White House, he heard the explosion as the plane hit the Pentagon.

Either Flight 77 or Flight 93 had the White House as its intended target. The whim of a demented madman changed the target of the former, the sacrifice of forty normal yet extraordinary people made sure the latter would never get to its target.

We both thank Todd Beamer, and all the other passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, for making sure my brother didn’t die that day.

He spent the rest of that day safely making coffee for the Australian Prime Minister, and the other refugees who had made it to the Australian embassy.

My brother was in shock for a long time after that day. He considered it not only to be a near death experience, but also a shared near death experience. He saw a planeload of people seconds before they were all murdered, he believed another planeload of people had to die so that he could live.

Unfortunately, after he finally got home, there really wasn’t anyone around who could relate to what he went through. So, for a few years afterwards, there were some dark depressions, some self-destructive behaviour. But, thankfully, there was also a recovery.

Since then my brother has lived a very normal life. He has an interesting job, a fantastic wife and a baby boy. He is also Godfather to my son.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in crazy people with no pants, Health, Mental Health, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ten years ago my brother stood at the White House and watched a low flying plane turn away

  1. when I think, and replay that day, over and over in my head… I skipping the first half of classes off of the day to finish the second half of the days classes work to be done so that I could maybe hoot out to Detroit and surprise my dad for his birthday, as his birthday is 9/11. I remember watching in horror as it seemed like a really..disjointed dream as I watched the planes hit the first tower. And then the second. The frantic newscasters didn’t even make sense to me as I was trying to make sense of why the hell someone would DO this to ANYONE… watching as people would plummet to their deaths, rather than bargain with their fates trapped inside the buildings. And I felt so sick.. thinking of their families.. wondering. What their thoughts were.. did they get to tell their families they loved them one last time? How come them? It’s so unfair. Those poor people. 😦 And then I count my blessings..

  2. Wow, that will be quite a story for him to tell his nephew and also Godson when he gets older.

    I think about 9/11 alot and my prayers are out for everyone that lost their lives, lost their loved ones and for every one of us that felt so lost that day and continue to 10 years later.

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