September 11, 2001

The Europeans use a different way to state the date: 11 September 2001. But since this is a date which will forever be associated with events in the United States, the date is stated the way those of us in the United States use it. As of this writing, the those events are still being hotly discussed, summarized, and debated daily on all the SWC lists. Some of us, because of our hearing losses, experienced this day differently from the rest of the nation. Here are some of their stories.

Peggy Stewart
Copyright 2001

The flag: Long may she wave

Oh, friends the sadness just grows.

Today was to be a day of remembrance where we reflect on that which we lost. I can think of so many things that are gone. I grieve for the loss of all those who died on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001. I pray for their families, who must go on without a loved one.

I wanted to be with my fellow Americans today at noon to pray, reflect, and remember. I went to the local Community College. There may have been 75 to 100 of us standing around, when the Dean of the college joined us, and asked them to form a circle around the flag pole. I didn't hear him, but I did what I usually do: I followed the lead of the others. He started to speak, and a woman that I have class with broke in between me and the man I am holding hands with. She placed her chin on my right shoulder and told me what the Dean was saying.

It seemed that between noon and 5 PM yesterday some one stole the school's flag right off the pole. He was of course shocked by this behavior. This morning he came to the school with thought that surely the school has another flag that they can raise to half mast for today. There is no back up flag. That was the back up flag, no one replaced it when they retired the last one. You can't get a flag here they have all been bought up.

One of his office staff called her husband, and he said that he'd get a flag. I noticed that it looked new, and much too small for that pole. You could see all the wrinkles that were in it. It was stored for a while. A small piece of red, white, and blue cloth. It was nothing to behold, not big and beautiful like many we've seen the last few days. Just a flag.

You may wonder why I chose to share this with you. That flag came with a story. That flag was in the cockpit of a military jet, the night that the US bombed Iran.

Leslie Cotter
Copyright 2001

On this tragic morning, I felt my hearing loss in a way many can relate with, but too many can't. Early that morning, my cube neighbor came over to my desk, looking a little dumbfounded, dazed. I asked her what was wrong. She listens to the radio all day on earphones. She stated, the country is falling apart. I had no idea what she meant by this, many have been saying the same thing in reaction to muggings, riots, stock markets drops, elections.... you name it. Never did I dream she would next say, "someone has bombed the pentagon, flown planes into the WTC and blown up the Sears tower!" Still not quite grasping what she was saying I asked for clarification, she was pretty shocked and couldn't really give it. I logged onto the Internet for info. What I saw there reminded me of a movie advertisement, but the accompanying article was way too real.

Everyone turned on their radios and got live reports. Except me. I had a meeting in HR, they were watching a TV, a very small one with no captions. I had not seen video coverage, but still had little facts. As far as I still knew, the Sears Tower was also gone. They had TVs in the lunch room and
front lobby, no captions on the old equipment and a broken remote. While all my co-workers got their up to the minute reports, accurate and inaccurate in all the madness that was that day, I relied on very difficult to reach Internet news sites for my infrequently updated information.

I am a social studies major, studying to be a social studies teacher. I am a proud, involved citizen, I am a news junkie. I have stayed up all night watching live coverage of events such as the Olympic bombing and the death of Princess Diana. It was killing me to not have immediate and complete access to news because I could not hear a radio. I considered going home, but I need the paycheck.

I rarely get frustrated by my hearing loss, I was on Sept 11, 2001. The frustration was muted by my terror, my shock, my grief, my fear and my sadness. It was not until nearly 5:30 that evening that I saw any meaning full coverage of the day's horrors. Then it became almost too much and I had to switch to light hearted reruns on cable for a while.

In the days following, I found my hearing loss preventing me from getting information when I wanted because all the networks and cable news stations had gone lax with their captioning. I watch a lot of late night, several stations don't caption after 11 pm CDT.

Amidst all the huge emotions of the day, my little frustrations were negligible, but very real.


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