Monday, May 2, 2011

The Day It All Changed


Before this job, before banking, I was employed as a customs clerk and worked in a company’s shipping department. On that day I was on Queen’s Wharf, the main shipping port in north Trinidad. I was the main administrative building. I had just paid some storage rent for the cargo the company I worked for and was killing some time while one of my coworkers was coming to meet me. The TV was on and it was some boring local talk show that I wasn’t paying too much attention to. I was too focused on getting a new high score on Snake on my old Nokia 5160.

Soon I noticed a commotion going on around me. I looked up. Everyone was gathering in front of the television that was fixed to the wall. I looked at the screen to see what was going on. On it, a building was on fire. It took me only a few seconds to recognize that it was one of the World Trade Centre towers. I heard the reporter saying something about a horrible accident with a plane.

He had hardly finished saying it before the second plane came flying into the other tower.

“It good for dem!” another customs clerk shouted when realized that this was no accident, “Dem blasted Americans always interfering in other people business.”

I wanted to hit him. I don’t care what your opinion is, this isn’t the kind of thing you said was “good” for anyone.

“Aye, boy!” another clerk shouted back at him, “You can’t say dat! It have Trini’s there too you know.”

“Well then dey deserve what happen to dem!” said the first clerk, “Why dey leave sweet T&T to go up there? Ent dey look for what dey get?”

I left. I couldn’t stand listening to that conversation any longer. What was happening? Everything was normal up till that moment. In my mind, I knew everything was going to change. The world wasn’t perfect but at least, right up until I saw the news, I could fool myself into believing the world was a safe place. It had happened so far away, but I knew everything had turned upside down by this event. The game had changed and nothing was ever going to be the same. I hated whoever was responsible. My sense of safety and security was gone.


Today I, along with millions of others, heard the news that the man responsible for those attacks almost ten years ago was killed in an assault on one of his compounds. Just like that, he was no more. I don’t celebrate his dying but I’m not going to mourn his death either. Of course, it isn’t over. My naive sense of safety was long since diminished since those days. At the very least, there’s one less instigator of fear and hatred in the world.

That will have to do.


  1. Just thinking about that day makes me slightly dizzy. It was my son's 17th birthday, and I almost fell over thinking about the young men who would, no doubt, be going to war...


  2. I so wish that this would mean that many soldiers would be able to come home to their loved ones now but I doubt things will change much. Still I am glad to see justice done.

  3. Yes. There's a huge divide between celebrating and mourning...

  4. I'm with you: not celebrating or mourning.

  5. Glad they finally got him. Nothing to celebrate they I wish they would have got him years ago.

  6. It won't bring the lives lost back.

  7. Well put Vinny, very well put.

  8. @ Oilfield: I guess that is as much of a silver-lining as these types of situations will allow.

    @ Nicole: Thanks.

    @ Pearl: That day affected so many of us in so many different way.

    @ Hsiu-Chen: Agreed. As much as I’m not throwing a goodbye party for him, maybe I’ll be able to breathe a little easier now.

    @ Elly Lou: I’ll just settle for relief at this point.

    @ littlejohn: In the end, maybe our apathy is really what he deserves.

    @ Greg: He got off for way too long.

    @ AC: Sadly, no, it won’t.

    @ Random Girl: Thank you.

    @ Dr. Cynicism: I, for one, won’t miss him.

  9. It's hard to know just how to feel about it. So many conflicting issues, being thrown around about the whole thing.

  10. I lived on a military base on the east coast when 9/11 happened. I saw it play out on the news and got the phone call to come to the school to pick up my sons. Many speculated that the weapons station we lived on would be one of the targets. None of us knew who or what would happen next. I will never forget that day. My first reaction when I heard he was dead was to post on Facebook that I thought people should be dancing in the streets. In my opinion, he deserved to die. The way the media is making a big deal out of how he died or where he was buried angers me. He is responsible for the deaths of thousands. I just can't feel bad that he's gone.


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