September 11th, 2001

Looking at today’s date, I’m not actually reminded of anything other than the dreadful events that happened ten years ago today.  Nothing will ever erase those images from my mind.

It was a very important time in my life, as it was my first week of class at Saint Thomas University, here in Fredericton.  During Frosh Week the week before, I had the opportunity to meet a ton of new friends from all over the country.  It was somewhat surreal that I was leaving the high school life behind, in favor of a more “adult” education.

Several of those friends have disappeared from my life entirely, but I do still consider a few to be great pals to this day.  One of them is my buddy Mike.

On September 11th, 2001, I didn’t have class until 1:30 in the afternoon.  I felt like going in early, just because you never knew if you’d get a parking spot after lunch!  I hung out with my good buddy John (who was a close friend in high school, as well) and Mike at Saint Thomas, before John made the choice to go and hang out at the University of New Brunswick’s Student Union Building (UNB and STU two universities, on one campus).  It was a fantastic place to kill time, and we’d often do so for hours at a time.

Only about ten minutes later, however, John rushed back up the hill.  This was odd…  what is he doing back so soon?  And why is he jogging towards me?

He told me about the Twin Towers in New York City, how planes had crashed into them, and eventually both had collapsed entirely.  At that point, rumors were running rampant about a good ten other planes in the sky that were not accounted for, and there were reports that the Capitol building in Washington was on fire.  Not only that, but a plane had apparently crashed into the Pentagon, with one on the way to the Sears Tower in Chicago.

This was all a bit difficult to imagine.  I had to confirm with him…  The Towers are down?  Completely?  Both of them?  My mind flashed back to the Oklahoma City bombing in ’95, and I could only imagine how many people could be in the wreckage.  It was horrible.

John decided to go back to the SUB, knowing there was a TV there…  Mike and I hung back, and talked about how this was one of “those events” that would probably end up being talked about forever.  I was majoring in Journalism, so this would no doubt change our curriculum a bit.  We talked about our families, and how my dad was a police officer.  I found out Mike had a girlfriend back at home in Woodstock, NB, and he was wondering what she was up to…

Then it dawned on him – his cousin lived on residence, and just had cable TV hooked up!  We rushed into the dorm, found his room, and watched coverage of what was happening on his tiny 14-inch TV.  It was quite appalling.

After a while we left, and I ended up going to Physical Anthropology.  We went to class, and the teacher was nowhere to be found…  someone eventually opened the classroom doors and said Ms. McLaughlin was not going to be there today, as she was holding meetings with officials in New York about possibly being recruited to identify those lost.  A gruesome job, but she was among the few qualified to do it.

She ended up not going, and the year proceeded as normal.  Something felt different about the world, though.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow, even my own corner of the universe changed that day.

Back to Mike…

That day in the STU courtyard, I was inquisitive about about his girlfriend during our conversation.  I asked a very specific question about her anatomy, and he replied with “oh yes, they’re big”.

(Please note that I’m not exactly proud of this moment, but I was young and – in retrospect – kinda dumb.  Well, as dumb as your average teenager would be about girls at that point.)

Fast forward to five years later, and I’m on a “blind date”.  I ask the girl if she happens to know “Mike so-and-so from Woodstock”, and she and her friends laugh in unison.  “Uhh yeah, he was my prom date, and we went out for several months!”

So I’m now married to this woman.  She was Mike’s girlfriend when he and I had that very descriptive conversation.  Interesting how things work out…

If you’re wondering how this relates to games, Mike was the one to introduce me to the next entry’s game – Super Metroid for the Super NES.  More on that tomorrow.

This post got a bit off the gaming topic, but I do believe it’s important to remember.  I have had the chance to visit New York City since then, and it really does leave a mark on you.  It’s quite the spot, and I can’t imagine what being there that day would have been like.

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