Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare," ("Incubus") 1790, Goethe Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
"It was the relief of waking up from a nightmare played in reverse," writes Evan Coyne Maloney, most evocatively, of that awful day five years ago, when what Theodore Dalrymple calls "the enjoyment of cruelty, that lies latent in almost every human heart, then allies itself to a supposedly higher, even transcendent purpose," had its day in the sun of a perfect fall day on these blessed shores beside the golden door, ever sought by huddling masses yearning to breathe free:
That night, I had a fitful sleep. Every so often, I'd wake up, not quite aware yet, and then I'd feel the memory of the day's events wash over me like warm water. Each time, there would be seconds of consciousness where life as I knew it was exactly the same as it was before the first plane hit. And then memory would creep back. It was the relief of waking up from a nightmare played in reverse.
Re Maloney's forced walk back home that day from his office not far from Ground Zero:
Along the way, an occasional lone person stood crying, wandering the street broken and in no particular direction. I could only guess who they had lost. Dear friends, close parents, beloved sons and daughters, siblings that seemed like extensions of themselves; these people had just had love ripped from their lives irrevocably. From now on, their lives would always be measured in two parts: the part before September 11th, and everything after. Each time I saw someone crying, I wanted to go over and be of some comfort, but didn't know how. I walked by with an exhale and tears welling up in my eyes . . .
All bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan were closed. Manhattan was once again a true island for the first time in well over a century.
People talked in a low murmur. Watching people interact during this morning mass exodus, it occurred to me that this was one of those events that made all New Yorkers equal. I'd seen hints of it before, under much more benign circumstances: The 3-foot blizzard that shut down the city for a week. Hugging fellow fans in the Yankee Stadium bleachers when Jim Leyritz hit the 15th-inning homer against Seattle in '95 . . .
We saw smoke rising from the black gash sliced into the side of the tower by the first plane. We saw the second plane glide into the tower with no apparent resistance and the explosion it forced out the other side of the building. We saw people jumping from the towers by the dozens, their bodies doing slow cartwheels in the air as they hurtled towards the ground. We heard the screams of the crowd reacting.
Our oh-so-politically correct gateway MSM, who know better than we what's best for us -- Tom Brokaw's "all you need to know" comes to mind -- determined to spare the delicate unwashed from too much reality, quickly decided post 911 to stop airing the horrific footage of that day, leaving the mushy middle of the voting population to sink back down into forgetfulness. Enter stage left this very day a cabal of Bush-Derangement-Syndrome sufferers determined to speak truth to power:
Around 75 top professors and leading scientists believe the attacks were puppeteered by war mongers in the White House to justify the invasion and the occupation of oil-rich Arab countries.
Don't you love "leading" academics? This particular Daily Mail article used the adjective three times, never deigning to explain exactly whom or what these self-appointed speakers of truth to power were leading.
Update: Pajamas Media links.