“World War Three” by Tracie Pascoe, Australia

September 11 October 26, 2011 03:55

topic: 9/11 medium: TEXT

as submitted for the “9/11” Open Call

“World. War. Three.”
Those were the three words that I heard as my radio alarm clock cut in to my sleepy state at 6:30am on 11/9/01. It took me a few minutes for the words to register with my languid brain. I ignored the radio conversation, fumbled for the snooze button, and then rolled over in my bed pulling the blankets up over my head.
The snooze alarm came earlier than expected because mum came rushing in to my room and quickly withdrew me from my slumber.
‘Trace, Trace. America’s been attacked.’
It all finally registered, what the radio announcers were saying on their morning radio program. I flung the blankets off the bed and followed mum out in to the living room where I plonked myself in front of the television.
It was surreal. There on my television was a plane flying in to the twin towers. I kept trying to reach for the remote to switch from the movie channel but my eyes would always become drawn to the Sky news logo in the corner of the screen.
I sat watching the footage over and over until I was forced to run to the bus stop where the bus was already waiting for me. I had Vegemite toast in one hand and my school folder bearing pictures of my friends, squashed in the other.
There was a lot of talk on the bus, especially amongst my fellow Year 10ers; sometimes about who did it and other times about who heard about it first. But the bit that we spoke about the most was how the people who were standing of the side of the building just jumped off. We discussed what we would do in that situation. I can imagine how the people on the home front during the Vietnam War instantly disliked it. Because of the television. They saw the raw side of war for the first time. They saw what the soldiers saw. If only they didn’t blame and dislike the soldiers for what they saw.
That day in history class, we were excused from learning about the television war because we had our own now.
Our class sat in the library, speechless, watching that plane fly in to that building, until it was revealed that another plane flew in to a different building so we watched that over and over again.
Even when I wasn’t watching the television, I still had a video on replay in my head. It was those people in suits jumping from the sides of the twin towers.
As I wrote my essay on the Vietnam War for homework that night, I wondered whether there would be another debate for conscription, more anti war protests or more propaganda. I wondered whether I would ever see my self or my loved ones staring at the next generation from a photo with the subtext “Source 4.1” in a textbook titled “World War Three”.

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