This year marks C-VILLE’S 25th anniversary, and as such, we’ve been spending a lot of time poring over our archives. For several weeks, most of us on the editorial staff have spent part of every week with our noses buried in the giant hardbound books of newsprint that date to the late ’80s—before some of us on the staff were in grade school, it’s worth mentioning—which has led to a lot of mirthful reminiscing. The hairstyles in two and a half decades of Bristles ads alone would be reason enough to go through those old issues.
But all the digging has also led to some solemn moments, among them going through the issues that came out in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The words of local residents reacting to the fresh horror of images from Manhattan and Washington, D.C. and contemplating a world changed are painful to read, but worth sharing on this, the 13th anniversary of 9/11. Here—in a decidedly low-tech collection of reproductions—is a little of what writers, readers, photographers, and cartoonists captured.
From “Terror strikes home,” (September 18, 2001) an essay by John Borgmeyer:
At the Blue Moon Diner, young people lined the counter and watched the horrific images—the dark shape of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center, both towers crumbling in a fiery avalanche, Palestinians in the West Bank celebrating in the streets. That morning, Blue Moon owner Marcus Hahn decided to cancel the Diner’s usual Tuesday night music.
“Nobody’s in the mood for happy bluegrass,” he says.
Around Charlottesville, stores and businesses closed so employees could try to contact loved ones, or simply out of respect for the thousands of dead. Jackie Harris, registrar for Albemarle County, says she heard snippets of news before she attended a morning meeting. When the meeting ended, she found her staff huddled around radios.
“A lot of staff have relatives in New York and Washington, D.C.,” she says. “We released them so they could call their families.”
Charlottesville is full of former New Yorkers and people who have relatives and friends there. But as calls poured in to New York from around the world, many people here found it hard to reach their loved ones. Mike Rodi, a manager at Rapture who lived in New York for 23 years, was relieved to hear that his uncle, who works near the World Trade Center, was safe in New Jersey during the attack. But when he tried to call his mother in New York to relay the news, he says he got a recorded message.
“It said, ‘Due to the tornado in your area, we cannot complete the call,’” Rodi says. “I guess they didn’t have a message for terrorist attacks.”
Tom Tomorrow’s “This Modern World,” (September 18, 2001):
“In a poll taken shortly after the events of September 11, two thirds of Americans professed a readiness to exchange civil liberties for an increased sense of security…it is an understandable reaction, but it does mean that in some small way, you can chalk up another one for the bad guys…”
From “The view from Park Slope,” (September 18, 2001) an essay by then-recent Charlottesville expat Liz West, who had just moved to Brooklyn:
The white, dusty fallout continued to drift in until around 1:30. It is not falling anymore, but the smell and the film lingers over everything.
When I stepped out into my back yard again, around 2:00, there was a check on the ground by my back door. The check was from a business called “ASTDC.” Its address was:
1 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048
It was dated Nov. 19, 97.
It is made out by an old-fashioned typewriter, and has the markings on the back of it which confirm that it did clear. The check was clearly returned to the company which owned the check, and probably filed within the company’s office on the 46th floor of the World Trade Center. I have this check on my desk as I write this, and the smell of burnt rubber is now in my room.
Photographs by Jen Fariello (September 18 and 25):