How the Tragic Events of September Eleven Motivated My Decade of Personal Transition

September 12, 2011

Photo of September 11 Lights Flickr Creative Commons SlagheapThe tenth year anniversary of 9/11 motivated me to recall my personal remembrance of the tragic events of the day.  Fortunately, time has passed, wounds have healed and life has moved on.
In September, 2001, I was living in Washington, DC and working at a veterinary hospital situated three miles from the Pentagon.
When the planes struck the Pentagon, toppled the World Trade Center, and crashed in Shanksville, PA, I had taken a fortunate trip San Diego, CA with a former significant other to visit his family and evaluate the job market for a potential move west.  That fateful morning, I stayed behind while my ex left early in the morning to drop his uncle off at the San Diego airport.
It was a beautiful southern California morning and a cement platform perched above a scenic valley served as my personal yoga practice space.  The tranquility was broken when my ex’s mother emerged from the house and sounded off a string of news headlines about terrorists and a plane having hit the World Trade Center.
Although I was shocked by the horrific nature of the tragedy, my immediate reaction was to remain calm and finish my practice.  As I suspected that the events were just unfolding and would be the topic of ongoing media coverage for much time to come, I elected to stay on my mat.  Feeling better emotionally prepared for the intense nature of the impending visual images and stories, I then set myself in front of the television.  
Upon returning home to the East coast, I witnessed the enormous hole in the side of the Pentagon and heard my frightened coworkers’ recollection of the thunderous sound the plane produced upon impact. Over the next few weeks, DC transitioned from a place of intellectual and cultural intrigue to a hostile police state.
Months passed and the alarming presence of fully armed police guards constantly swarmed my Red Line Metro.  Anthrax filled envelopes were sent to the Friendship Heights post office shortly before I set foot in the facility.  After my nasal passages were swabbed for culture, my doctor started me on a course of stomach cramp and diarrhea inducing Ciprofloxacin.  My culture was negative and the “Cipro” was stopped, yet I still have the bottle as a medicinal keepsake.
Although I did not suffer any tragic or personal loss in the 9/11 crisis, life as I knew it in DC was forever changed.  After the umpteenth Code Red (Severe) Homeland Security Advisor System warning to tape shut my windows and line them with plastic, I felt the strong urge to gracefully exit the United States Capitol.
So, I briefly moved to the west coast Washington (state, that is), before landing in Los Angeles.  Southern California appeals to my sensibilities for personal quality of life and professional goals more so than anywhere I have previously lived.  Although I realize a terrorist attack could occur in my seemingly perpetually sunny home, I feel safer and more at ease here.
In this time of reflection of the past ten years, I again found myself on my yoga mat.  Life has nicely progressed and granted me the familiar deck space of my West Hollywood home as a personal yoga studio.  Many of my yoga practices are accompanied by my partner with whom I am happily forging a future (yoga is great for couples).
Every movement of our yoga sessions and daily lives is monitored not by police, but by a canine companion, who also lends a certain sense of security.  Even during his occasional naps, Cardiff is quite the watchdog and always strives to keep his dads safe.

Photo of Cardiff Watches From Mondo Grass

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Photo Credit Flickr Creative Commons Slagheap

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

CHo Meir September 14, 2011 at 5:56 PM

The police presence here was really scary. It reminded me of when I was a child watching troops and tanks move down the streets of DC after the riots in ’68 when Dr. King was assassinated. I though I’d never see that again, but unfortunately I was wrong.

Thanks for sharing.

Patrick Mahaney September 14, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Thank you for sharing your perspective on the police situation in the post-9/11 time and during your childhood days post-MLK assassination.
I hope that things have improved for you in terms of leading a more peaceful day to day existence in the DC area. I like to go back for brief visits, but I would never live there again.

CHo Meir September 17, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Despite the police presence that is still here, despite fear of terrorism and all the horror human inflicts on human, if my time in the military and my life after has taught me anything is that to run from what scares you makes you a prisoner of that fear. I’ve been all around the world and though there are some places I think I’d rather live, I know for sure that I’ll be no safer there than here. People here are petty and indifferent, people here are kind and giving. You’ll find that everywhere you go.

I hope you do come back for a visit and maybe you’ll let me show you what great about DC.

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