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Two Years Hence | blog.deanland.com

Two Years Hence

As of 3/11/02, six-months to the day after the attack on the WTC, New York began a month-long nightlight tribute to the Towers, the heroes, the memory of those lost in the madness, and a stark blue light in the place of where the towers had stood.  The blue lights beam out to the night sky, visible from all about the metropolitan area.  This is the same visibility the Twin Towers had, up until September 11, 2001.

Unsettling Artistic Omens

It was September 10th, 2001, the day and night before the 11th, a 24 hour period during which an incredible unrest troubled members of various artistic communities. The forces or vibes of nature, perhaps premonition, or possibly reaction to the initial hostile forces of action underway, resulted in an uncanny number of reactions.

These reactions, seen in retrospect, are unsettling. Not so unsettling as the events of the 11th, but in and of themselves, these various incidents offer a chilling prescience. The nature of things, the connectivity of vibes (for lack of a better word), the way it all looks in retrospect, add to the chill.

Here are some examples:

Many blog readers and bloggers are aware of Halley Suittís weblog, Halleyís Comment. On September 10th Haley began writing some fiction. She posted about it in her blog this past April 29th. This was a day or two before the NYC Blogger's Dinner at Katz's. I spoke with Halley there about reading it, and wanting to include it in this post. Halley also had been in touch with others who had experienced odd and unsettling premonitory sensations just before September 11th.

From Halley's Blog:

On September 10th, 2001 I wrote a story .... just a short story about a couple having a marital spat. For some reason, in the first paragraph, I used the language,

"She amd her husband Jim had been fighting all morning, one of those perfect terrorist bombings only a married couple of a dozen odd years could pull off. They had masterminded the thing, blowing to smitereens whatever conjugal peace had been in place for the last few weeks, both of them left bleeding and battered by 10:30 am. At least she had some place to go that morning. She'd pulled herself together, dressing very quickly in her best wool suit, dousing her wounds with perfume, wrapping herself in a Hermes silk scarf, as if such bandaging would speed heeling."

I saved the story, half finished that morning under the title "September 10, 2001" as I often do when I'm just starting a new story. I didn't look at it for nearly a month -- you can imagine why. My family and I were shaken at that time, but suffered no direct losses. Thank God.

I didn't even remember writing it. Then one day, I was looking through my writing on my hard drive and came across it, began to read it and nearly fell off my chair.
Why am I mentioning it? Well, I have a strong sense of intuition. A friend pointed out I've been writing in the past few days about disasters. I hadn't even noticed. So here's what I think. I feel something's cooking. And I feel like we can all do a good job of being AWARE and VIGILANT in the next few days. We can do the excellent job of trusting our intuition just like the flight attendant did on the shoe bomber flight. I don't mean to freak you out. I just feel something and I know it's a good time for us all to be aware and connected and help one another out. I hope I'm completely wrong.

Notice the wording; the references: terrorist bombings, masterminding the thing, blowing to smithereens, leaving them bleeding and battered by 10:30 AM.

My reaction: chilling.

Halley refers to intuition. Intuition, prescience, capturing or seizing a sensation of events . . . all of these are ethereal. Perhaps in artists this is more easily accepted, as they must interact with the creative spirit in order to accomplish their work. In others it is just coincidence, or an oddity.

Similar, perhaps, to the way a twin can sense the emotions, even the physical sensations of the other twin. Twins. Twin Towers. Sharing feelings both physical and emotional.


In the case of the non-creative personna, this can be easily dismissed as some confluence of ESP and happenstance. There are more examples, though, in both the artistic world, and in the world of communications, based as much on passion as anything else.

This picture is one of many stunning works that can be found at <font color=www.theartproject.net It has a series, from which this picture was taken, entitled "Artists Respond to Terrorism."
This artwork is by Corine Borgnet.

Plase note: this is NOT the artwork referred to in the September 11, 2003 DeanLand blog entry.">

Another example:

A friend of mine is an artist. She works in many media, recently concentrating on fabricwork, quilting. The night of September 10th she was alone in the house. Her husband, my very close friend of something like 30 years, was away on a business trip. Thankfully, this was not a New York trip for him.

That night she was seized with a peculiar energy. Not a positive energy, not a good feeling one. Yet one of such magnitude that she felt compelled to go to her studio. She would work out this energy in there, put something together, to harness or interact with this energy. There was a compelling sense that if she created or pieced something together, drawing on the energy and sensation of the moment, it would somehow calm or relieve the feeling.

She stitched together a piece, a small one, not more than a foot wide and not very long. The centerpiece of this stitched quilt fabric piece is an unsettling, almost violent-in-message, discomfiting work.

It is also captivating. Chilling.

She finished the piece, closed down the studio, and retired for the night. The next morning arrived, as did the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, then the second one, followed by news of the Washington and Pennsylvania planes.

She keeps the piece rolled up. It isnít on display, nor is it for display. She told me that in subsequent conversations with other artists sheíd heard stories of similar waves of feeling and creative expression that night, or the day, of September 10th.

A compelling, discomfiting energy consumed them, and manifested itself in works that express or react to that wave, that force.

Another example, this one from the electronic communications world.

There is an e-mail correspondent, Barry K. He and I, as are so many others, are on a number of e-mail lists. Some are mass mail lists, some are specific, some are general interest lists, whatever. Barry K. and I have sent each other some group-mail items now then and again.

I have a few different group-mailing lists, with various names, fitting various mail purposes. The closest thing to a full-fledged mass mailer came a few months ago, when I sent a one time only (and so noted!) e-mail to numerous people from my address book, asking them to make their voices heard in the public outcry against the proposed FCC rulemaking. On that one, I got a few people asking me to not spam them again, and some more mannered responses asking that I not include them in any other mass mailers I might ever send.

So Barry K. has sent me a few different e-mails, of a shared-interest nature, and I have never objected to receiving anything he has sent.

On September 10th he sent a mailer, with a petition to the UN, about the Taliban. I had actually seen this one in a similar form, a few months earlier. When I received this e-mail from Barry K., despite having already read it and being familiar with the substance of the content, it gave me a chill.

That chill, again.

Hereís what I received from Barry K.:

Dear All:

Please take a few minutes to read and act on this email.

On May 23rd 2001 the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan confirmed that all Hindus will be required to wear a strip of yellow cloth sewn onto a shirt pocket in order to identify themselves. They claim that the measure is for their "protection". The world has faced this before. In 1939 the world was required, at great cost, to rid itself of Hitler's tyranny, it is not hard to spot his child. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to relive it.

The Taliban's record on respecting other religions gives great cause for concern that their ultimate aim, upon which they are intent, is "religious cleansing". They have already demonstrated their disdain and intolerance for other religions and traditions by the desecration and destruction of the ancient Buddhist statues, our collective heritage, within Afghanistan.

Whatever your religion, or even if you have none, we hope that you will agree that this fundamentally wrong.

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

Please do not do nothing, add your voice.

DIRECTIONS: PLEASE COPY this email on to a new message, add your name to the bottom and forward it to everyone on your distribution list. If you receive this petition and you find that you are the 251st name on it, please e-mail a copy of it to:

(Iíve removed the e-mail address that was here)

It will then be forwarded to the UN.

Please then delete all the names, add your own as the 1st and pass it
on. Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not kill the petition as you will be denying your friends, and theirs, their legitimate voice.

Instead return it to (removed e-mail address as above)

To The Secretary General, Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations.

We the undersigned are appalled by the decision of the Taliban government of Afghanistan to require all Hindus to wear a piece of yellow cloth sewn onto a shirt pocket in order to identify themselves.

An individual's communion with God, however they find Him, is a matter of personal conscience and must not be the subject of intimidation or persecution. The right of everyone to worship as they wish is fundamental and inalienable. The United Nations was founded in order to
defeat Hitler and his henchmen who required the same from another religion with all it's horrific consequences. It is completely unacceptable that nearly 60 years later history is repeating itself.

We ask the following:

1. That the Taliban government is made aware in the strongest possible terms that the world will not countenance this perversion of human rights.

2. That prior to the United Nations and/or it's constituent members
granting recognition of the Taliban government this obscene policy is

3. That the United Nations widen the terms of the trade sanctions
currently in force.

This was followed by 90 names.

I reread that mail the next day, September 11th, late in the evening. Again, the reaction: chilling. More so than when I had first received an e-mail with this petition some months earlier.

Barry K. and I shared some correspondence afterwards. I told him I intended to write this post, and asked his permission to use his e-mail in the blog piece. He gave the greenlight, and asked that I be certain to protect the list privacy by removing any e-mail addresses. Then Barry K. added an interesting footnote to the story:

That was pretty odd wasn't it? To make things even stranger, in my entire life before that email and after it, I have never, ever, forwarded a political message to any one. There was something about that one and only piece of information that just got to me and made me send it to as many people as I could. I was incensed.

As a follow up, I received an email from another person on the list that same day, who was angered by my sending it to him. Below is his reply to me:

"Please DO NOT burden my e-mail with your spam.

I am busy enough, and am not interested in your problems. I have enough of my own."
Needless to say, I will not be sending you his name as I am sure, if he
remembered that note, he regretted it the next morning.

There are many other incidents of this sort. Premonitions, odd confluences and convergence of activity, all with a similarly chilling effect.

This picture seems to capture the mood of the moment


It is two years hence, and in many ways most the rest of country has resumed life as it was prior to the incident. The President and his colleagues seized the moment, deciding to capitalize on it and make it a basis for an attack on Iraq. Recent news reports have once again brought to light the fact that the President assisted members of the Bin Laden family in making their hasty and safe exit from the US, almost immediately after the attacks.

Yes, even the NY Times reported this story, and hereís a link you can still use to see it, even though the story ran long enough ago to qualify for the NY Timesí ìpay the fishwrapper feeî premium charge to read news or articles more than a week since publication.

The Times, of course, would also expect you, the on-line reader, to pay to read their coverage of the September 11, 2001 coverage. Historic, sure. Worth paying a per-article premium fee? Feh.


The true pain and suffering, the sadness and loss, is what continues, two years hence. The death of children, spouses, siblings, and most of all, parents, continues to afflict and remain a daily fact. They are gone from the lives of their survivors. Gone forever.

The greatest number is in the amount of children who lost a father or a mother. And this is what was referred to in one report as ìthe Scarlet Letter of September 11th that is worn by all the children who lost a parent in the attack.î

Keith Olbermann, on MSNBC, showed remarkable poignancy in his reportage. His MSNBC Program, ìThe Countdownî reported on the days immediately following the attack.

People were all over the streets of New York, with posters. The posters would have the words MISSING in bold letters, or the name of the person pictured. And nearly all of these pictures were of a smiling person. In the early days after the attack there was much hope of finding survivors. Trapped in the rubble, caught in a location where they were clinging to life, able to have made it to some place of safety or refuge.

As time went on it became apparent that the thousands were not missing. They were dead.

I can tell you as a New Yorker that this was the most heart-wrenching period one could live through. The despair, the pain, the sadness of those who were clinging to hope and prayer while coming to grips with the inevitable is not something that can or will be forgotten.

Sometime after September 11th I had the occasion to drive past the NYC Medical Examinerís office building. There were temporary trailers on the streets, and thousands of emotional friends and relatives by the trailers and outside the office. They were no longer carrying the ìmissingî posters. At that point they were there to offer toothbrushes, hairbrushes, anything with a DNA marker, to identify ñor, at that time, to not yet identify in some small vestige of the remainder of hope and faith of survivalótheir loved ones.

Olbermann reports on the numbing and excruciatingly emotional, painstaking efforts of the New York Medical Examinerís Office in matching DNA with the many thousands scattered and remains taken from Ground Zero. The Medical Examiner is profoundly dedicated to examining every possible trace, and carrying this search into the future, when methods of identification are even more advanced than the DNA matching techniques used today by his team.

Sometime over the next day or two, MSNBC may make a transcript of Olbermannís September 11th show available. If so, it will be at this link. Check it out, it is some of the finest journalistic coverage and commentary that was offered in this day of remembrance and mourning.

The Chill, The Lights, The Anniversary

Late last night, the eve of the anniversary, one of the two twin tower blue lights of remembrance was visible in lower Manhattan. Less bright than it had been before, and perhaps merely a test run for the return of the twin blue lights tribute, planned again for this night of remembrance.

A single light, not properly reset to point straight up as though taking the airspace previously occupied ñand always lit as nightóby the Twin Towers. Knowing it had to be a dry run of sorts, testing and positioning of the lights, with less brilliance and wattage than it had displayed when the tribute was lit before . . . it gave an eerie sensation. With the anniversary of the day less than two hours away, knowing there would be ceremonies at Ground Zero and that the tribute blue lights would shine again, it once again, on September 10th, elicited the response of the other examples, above.

Chilling. Discomfiting.

A feeling that can never be righted. No vengeance nor retaliatory action can make right what was wronged.


pointing skyward in tribute to the victims, and to the icon it became