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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of September 11 - 17, 2002

reflections on September 11th

‘World was altered forever’

By Rod Tatsuno, Ketchum

Early one morning, I was wrestled from a deep sleep by the ring of my phone, and the upset voice of a friend. Her alarm had failed to wake her and she had missed her flight to Boise. After consoling her, I suggested that she try to catch a later flight and call me, so I would know when to pick her up. However, rather than my waiting for her when she deplaned, I would park, read a book, and begin driving by the terminal until I spotted her after she picked up her luggage at the carousel. Placing the phone it its cradle, I drifted off to neverland…until the phone rang again. My brother-in-law called from California and asked if I was watching TV, I answered with a "No." "Turn on your TV," he calmly replied. I did, and my world was altered forever.

The first plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers and chaos reigned. Ignoring the beautiful fall weather, I was glued to the tube, barely comprehending what was transpiring before my eyes. After viewing so many Hollywood special effects on the Silver Screen, what appeared live seemed less than real, except for the fact I know it was. The horrific idea of so many innocent human beings experiencing such a tragedy was almost more than my mind, and heart, could comprehend or bear. When the second plane hit, shock turned to fear and anger, when I realized that this was more than an accident, it was a planned terrorist act.

Needing a break from the unceasing visions of carnage and destruction, I took my dog for a walk out by Trail Creek, seeking solace in the bright and beautiful Sun Valley autumn day. I met a woman walking her dog. Though I didn’t know her, we talked a while, and inevitably, the conversation turned to the past day’s events. With the sun dancing its reflections off the rippled surface of Trail Creek, and the aspen leaves quaking against the pure blue sky, I learned that the pilot of the American Airlines plane, which had been flown into a tower, was a good friend of her husband, recently retired as a pilot from American. For decades I, as many other residents of this valley had, cherished the idea inside myself, that I was somehow removed from the vents outside our special Shangri La. Tragic events of nature and man elsewhere rarely intervened in our placid lifestyle. Now that appeared to have been wishful thinking. We are truly connected.

My son Chris had the luxury of sharing his consternation about the events with his mother, who just happened to be visiting him in Boulder, Colorado. My brother, sisters, parents and extended family were all over 800 miles away in California, and too far to hug and share the tragedies with. Through surrounded by many friends, it was the first time I felt true loneliness away from family, as I’m sure many others in the area did.

When the anniversary of September 11, 2001, is observed world-wide, I’ll be visiting with my parents in Utah, returning them for one last look at the Topaz internment camp near Delta, where we had spent three long years behind barbed wire, as a result of The Day of Infamy on December 7, 1941, when the other great tragedy occurred. My solace will be in sharing our last big family trip, though grieving for the relatives that will never share one with their loved ones.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.