Thursday November 29. 2001
a guest entry by John

the spectator

Monday I got my New York Times, and there was a small, glossy insert, like a little magazine tucked into the folds of the paper. I almost threw it away, thinking it was advertising, but then I looked at it more closely.

It was the Spectator. My high school newspaper. A much fancier one than we used to have, that's for sure, with color photographs.

It was a special issue, all about 9/11.

Stuyvesant High School is now on the north end of the landfill which holds Battery Park City and the World Financial Center. When I went there, back around 1970, Stuyvesant was somewhere else and its current location was part of the Hudson River. But it's now only a couple of blocks from where I work, and only about three blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.

The Spectator had articles and photographs by both students and staff. It was intense to read it. It brought back a lot of what that day was really like. I had been standing less than a block from Stuyvesant when the first tower had started to fall.

The students had been kept in the building, for their safety, since the rescue workers had assured the Principal that there was no chance the towers would fall. They were evacuated after the first tower collapsed, and walked north as I did, but somewhat later. Some of the students reported seeing panic and people running, which I didn't see. I guess it was because it was a few minutes after.

I certainly don't blame anybody for panicking. For the freshmen, they had only been going to that school for a couple of days, and most of them probably had no idea where they were or how to get home with the subways not working.

The newspapers reported that Stuyvesant was closed, but in fact the building maintenance and custodial staff were working. 24-hour shifts at first, then 12-hour shifts. They were coming home with burning eyes and bleeding noses, and they were being told that it was psychosomatic.

A friend of mine (who wasn't there, though it did result in his losing his job and he remains unemployed) reports that he's very angry. He wants revenge. He wants the U.S. to go and punish whoever was responsible. It's kind of surprising, really. I mean, his favorite musician is Arlo Guthrie, for goodness sake. :-)

But he's really angry, and apparently his wife is at least as surprised by this reaction as I am. She's having trouble dealing with it, and I can understand why. But different people react differently, and there's no way to guarantee how somebody will react when nothing like this has ever happened before.

I haven't felt angry about this yet. I'm pretty sure I never will.

John's Second Guest Entry, 1 August 2000

John's First Guest Entry, 16 March 2000