« Volunteering: Causes, Passions and the Salem Lit Fest | Main | Changes »

September 11, 2011

This Day to Remember.

Where were you on September 11th? What do you remember?

Peace-1
From Margaret:

  I was awakened earlier than usual to be told that a close relative was in the hospital with a broken hip, so when I flipped on NPR to catch the morning headlines and heard that a plane had crashed into the Trade Center, I immediately turned on the television and was shocked to watch as that second plane went in.  The first could have been a weird accident; the second was clearly deliberate, but who?  why? The horror continued as I flashed on the few times I'd taken an elevator up to one of the towers' high floors.  How long it took even on the express.  To think of trying to walk down through smoke and fire . . .? Ghastly. In addition to all the people who died that day, there were even more deaths to come.  Of the two close friends who lived in lower Manhattan, I'm convinced that  breathing those contaminants for months caused the death of one and hastened the end of the other even though neither was in the building itself.

Peace-dove-web
 
From Nancy Martin: 

 I was living on a mountaintop in rural Virgina--alone because my husband had already moved back to Pennsylvania for a job. Between writing the last chapter of my first mystery, I was packing boxes that morning and watching the Today show.  With packing tape in my hand, I heard Katie Couric's incredulous voice saying,  "We don't want to alarm anyone, but it looks as if a small plane may have crashed into the World Trade Center." And while I watched, the second plane hit.  I thought, "My daughter is in New York," and you know that expression "my blood ran cold?"  Well, that's how I felt---as if a terrible block of ice hit my chest and spread through my veins all the way to my fingertips. 

An instant later, the phone rang, and the voice of my great friend (and backblogger!) cried, "Are you seeing this?"  It was just like our mothers telling us about Pearl Harbor.  We couldn't believe it.  The sky was so blue and perfect. For hours, I kept trying my daughter's phone, but of course it was out. Thank God for Ethernet.  When she got back from class, we emailed, and she begged me to phone her boyfriend's mother in DC.  Her boyfriend had been on a plane from New York that morning, but I couldn't make the call. I kept thinking he'd been in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.  I couldn't call a mother whose son had died.  But he was already on the subway in DC when the plane went down, and he reached my daughter by email within a few hours. 

My mother called from Pennsylvania.  Her voice shook.  "An airliner flew over the golf course.  It was so low, we thought we could reach up and touch it." That was minutes before it crashed. When I phoned my husband--already at his new banking job--he said in amazement that the guys he'd been doing business with the previous day weren't answering their phones.  They worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. My sister, in Brooklyn, said her front steps were covered in burned bits of paper with the Cantor Fitzgerald letterhead.

That night, alone in the house on the mountain, I heard a tremendous roar of powerful engines down in the valley.  It went on for hours, and the concussion rattled the windows of the house.  I was afraid to go outside to listen by myself, so I took the dog, and Dolly and I stood on the lawn, listening in the dark. Dolly leaned against my leg. I remember how warm she felt, and comforting. Turns out, all the east coast railroad companies had sent their locomotives to hide in the old coal yard in the town below. To be safe from terrorists. Terrorists!  What was a terrorist?

I remember how we all felt in the weeks that followed--joined in a common spirit.  Makes the current Congress look so self-absorbed and petty. If nothing else, I'm glad we have so many stories of heroism and patriotism and unity from that terrible day.

Peace
From Barbara O'Neal:  

I had been on a very challenging hiking trip in Provence, and made it home on September 11 at 3 am Colorado time.  I awakened to the phone ringing, and it was my grandmother calling to be sure I was home. She said, "Oh, thank God you are not on a plane. I didn't know when you were coming in. They've bombed the Pentagon."  I thought she was being alarmist, but turned on the television to see the towers smoking after the first plane hit.  The calls continued all morning--my family calling to make sure I was actually home and not on one of those planes.  I have a lot of friends in NYC, but my thoughts that morning were for the friend I'd gone hiking with.  She was stranded in Paris, alone, because she'd taken a later flight than I did, and didn't get home for two weeks.  

The story I think about the most is one from an editor I was working with at the time. She lived in the village and couldn't get to her apartment for quite some time. When she finally got back, she said the smell was awful in the neighborhood and she commented to her boyfriend that it smelled like rotten garbage all the time. He said gently, "Honey, that's not garbage."   

34971_vans-peace-01

From Hank Phillippi Ryan:

It was a beautiful, beautful day on the East Coast, as you remember, too, Nancy.  And chillingly, as it turned out, that's one of the reasons the plot could work--because it was so clear that it allowed the terrorists to see the towers.

I was--crazily--at the hairdresser, getting a hair cut. That night was my station's preview party for the upcoming TV season, and we were all sprucing up.  Someone came running in, saying something incomprehensible, and then the news came flooding in. I had wet hair.

I knew I had to get to work, GET TO WORK as  soon as possible. As a reporter, this was...well, it was work. Separating the journalists from everyone else. I called Jonathan, yelling over the sound of the blowdryer. Yes, he knew.  Are the kids okay, in Park Slope? Our step-son works in the city...yes they're okay. I don't know when I'll be home, I said. (And I will admit, what I really wanted to do was go home.)

I walked to work, maybe 4 blocks, in that beautiful day. The bars were all open on Congress Street, all the glass fronts wide open, all the televisions on. I remember, so clearly, deliberately walking slowly. Thinking, so clearly, so clearly, "this is the moment our lives are all changing. When I get to work, our lives will never be the same."

(Ridiculously: I'm the investigative reporter, you know? And my boss came racing into my office. "How did this happen?" he yelled. "You and Mary (my producer) have to find out how this happened!"  As if we could do that. I think we stayed in the office for the next--three days? And every time we started to   complain, we'd look at each other and say: "We're not dead. Not dead." And then go back to work.)

Imaginepeace

From Sarah Strohmeyer:

Yes, it was a beautiful September morning and I'd just sent the kids off to school and sat down to write. We'd recently redone our computer system and installed a New York Times news alert. So many ways to procrastinate! Oddly enough, the first message that popped up was from my childhood friend, Connie Jordan, whom I hadn't spoken to in, gosh, ten or more years.

Connie is a smart, beautiful woman, a Swarthmore/Harvard grad and Presbyterian minister whose husband survived a nasty bout of cancer early in their marriage. I've often thought of Connie as being deeply spiritual - though we occasionally butted heads over different interpretations of Christianity. Anyway, I'm still moved by the randomness - or not - of hearing from this woman of God just as my New York Times news ticker started firing bulletins about a plane crashing into the twin towers.

The bulletins were confusing. First it was a small plane. Then it was a jet. Wait, something was going on in D.C.? Was that another plane in New York? Or the same one? I remember thinking that it was probably a joker pilot. About a month before, a single-prop plane had flown precariously close to high rises in Manhattan and in flying from Manchester to New York, our little commuter flight often followed 5th Avenue. You could even see people working in their offices. 

But this was different.

Finally, I wrote Connie this: "Something's going on."

Connie wrote back. "I know. But what?"

"It's bad," I wrote back, getting chills as the bulletins became more alarming. A missing plane in Pennsylvania. Reports of a small plane flying into the Pentagon. More planes missing.

"I have to pray," Connie said. And that was it. I've never heard from her since.

I called Charlie at work and he was just getting the news. I flipped on the TV and there was Peter Jennings, smoke swirling from the twin towers in another frame. I told Charlie to come home immediately, that the towers were on fire. I thought of all my friends in New York, of the husband of my daughter's godmother who worked at Merrill Lynch. Like Connie, I prayed.

And then the unthinkable. The first tower fell, just crumbled like a house of cards. Peter Jennings went dead silent as Charlie came through the door and I looked at him and said, "We'll never be the same."

All those people. Gone.

76064-think_peace_one_day

From Elaine Viets:

 Silence.

That’s what I remember most after 9-11. Don and I lived in a beach condo in Hollywood, Florida. After the attack, the airport was closed for weeks, silencing the constant drone of commercial flights.

Instead, the skies were patrolled by sinister black helicopters. Warships cruised offshore, some with the ominous bulge of nuclear weapons.

Three of the terrorist leaders moved to Florida in 2000, near our home. South Florida is an international community, and they blended in. They used our local library, where the computers are free to all. They made one of their last appearances at Shuckums Oyster Bar in Hollywood, where at least two "holy warriors" drank forbidden alcohol – screwdrivers and rum and Coke. You can make what you want of this: They ate chicken wings.

Twelve hours after the attack on the World Trade Center, the FBI flashed their photos around the bar. The Shuckums’ server remembered them – and their lousy tip.

Peace-dove

From Heather Graham:

9/11

The very words will, for everyone old enough on the day, be horrible and poignant. And no matter how much time passes, we all know where we were and what we were doing on that date. 

For me, I was mourning, and cleaning out mother's house with my sister; we had lost her just weeks before. And one of the things that kept running through my mind was at least she doesn't have to see this.

But my mom's passing became back-burner; I hadn't seen a TV. I was driving to a store to buy cleaners when a friend called me and frantically told me not to go to downtown Miami. At the time, I never went downtown, and I thought she'd spiked her morning diet coke. Of course, when she told me that two planes had hit the towers, I immediately started trying to reach my third son--he was going to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn at the time, and the kids there were always on the Path train to reach the store where they bought their art supplies. I was frantic, trying to reach him. His cell went straight to a dull tone. 
I rushed back and got on my computer and I was amazed when I got an instant message. He was on the roof at Pratt and miraculously, his Internet was up. He was alright; he was feeling his gut wrench as he and fellow students watched the towers burn. Suddenly he wrote, "OMG! It fell, it fell!" And I didn't know what he was talking about, until he explained, "It went down; the whole damned tower went down. Oh, God, oh God."
The day that travel was allowed again, Dennis and I got on a plane and flew to New York; I had to see him, and friends in the city who had lost loved ones. If I didn't get on a plane, I could never suggest that anyone else ever do so again. I was terrified getting on that plane. It turned out to be Dennis and I, a few scattered people, and about ten pilots heading up to start commercial travel again. I'll never forget flying by the place where the towers had been--and the ground was still smoldering. 
I'd considered myself a student of history, and I had thought I'd known something about terrorism; my mom and her family left Dublin because they were "mixed" and the "troubles" continued. But I had never understood the kind of hatred that could make anyone massacre so many people so blindly. I'd been to Egypt, I had friends who were Muslim. And I had to make myself realize that while their was a culture of hatred--quite possibly the result of poverty and misery as so much hatred was--was not the culture of everyone. 
Today, I know that we often wonder what our men and women in the service are accomplishing because it's true that you can't kill and ideal. But I was with a young serviceman the other day who told me, "You don't get to see the good very often on TV. I was there when we opened a new school, and the parents and the children were grateful and wonderful. Building and giving, yes, we can make a change."
So what do we do in our world today? We defend ourselves. We learn how to do that through intelligence. We suffer, because we can't stop everything. We keep trying to be the country we began to be after the Civil War, seeing all people as equals. It's so easy to hate. And I hate fanatics of any kind who would do harm to others; I pray that I never do so blindly, and I always judge a person for the person they are. And because I really have no control, I pray for our men and women in the service, and I pray for all who are caught in the violence brought upon them by others. Most of all, I pray that we stop being such a party-determined society, and that our law makers can stop following party lines, and work hard to defend and strengthen out country, and show others, through our united front and efforts to benefit all mankind, that we should be emulated, and not alienated, assaulted, and attacked.
Normal_peace

From Joshilyn Jackson:

I went downstairs to get coffee and I turned on a little television I had on the kitchen counter. There was the first tower, with the plane going into it.

I immediately called my friend Lydia Netzer and said, Turn on your television, because I didn’t want to be watching alone. They showed it over and over.  It seemed crazy and impossible. We began coming up with explanations for it, back and forth, two fiction writers constructing implausible scenarios, looking for a way it could have happened. We were like children telling each other fairy tales ---- pilots having strokes and electrical instruments going haywire, anything to keep ourselves from understanding.

The second plane came. We saw it happen.

Then we knew. There wasn’t any way to not know. This is on purpose, we said back and forth to each other, but only because there was no other explanation left. We had tried so hard to make it be Fate---God---Accident---Error, anything at all. Anything except a deliberate, human choice.

Peace2

From Brunonia Barry:

I worked at the World Trade Center for several years in the mid-seventies, soon after it opened. I was in the accounting department of Toyoda America, Inc. on the fiftieth floor of the North Tower. It was one of my first jobs out of college, and I loved the whole experience. But most of all, I loved the WTC. It was like a small community. I was there when Phillippe Petit walked the tightrope between the towers.

Windows on the World had not yet opened, and, for a short while, we were allowed to take our lunches up there and enjoy the view from the top floor. A small group of us representing many different companies lunched there most days, until the construction crews put an end to our visits. After that, we all continued to meet for lunch at the restaurant on the 44th floor.

I was our company’s fire marshall, and used to lead the employees in monthly evacuation drills, things they sometimes participated in and sometimes refused to take seriously. Thankfully, my friends at Toyoda had relocated their company offices a few years before the towers came down, but there were others I knew there who remained, friends who were lost.

Ten years ago on September 11th, I was in the hospital undergoing emergency surgery. I remember the television and everyone huddled around staring. I remember hoping that I was hallucinating from the medication, and then realizing that it was not a dream. In the ten years that have passed, I have not visited the site. It’s still difficult for me to think about, as it is for many of us.   

 

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c57f753ef014e8aea1f06970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference This Day to Remember.:

Comments

I remember blue sky and panic. My brother worked in the second tower. We were so lucky that he not only survived, but that he was able to contact us within about 4 hours of the murders. I still have the e-mail string.

There is a wonderful documentary series on Rebuilding Ground Zero on the Discovery Channel - I watched it yesterday and am clinging to the story of the Survivor Tree today.

They found a tree buried in the pile in the weeks following 9/11/01. The branches were burned and torn off, but there were still some roots and some leaves. It was the last living thing removed from the site. People have been tending to it and healing it for the last ten years and it now stands next to one of the waterfalls at the Memorial, which will be dedicated today.

One thing that is so wonderful about this tree is that it blooms earlier and more fully than all the other trees at the site. Strength through experience and rebuilding through love.

I was a sophomore in high school walking into Algebra 2 after the class change. The teacher had left the TV on after the morning announcements and when the closed circuit was turned off, the news popped up about the first plane hitting the tower. I don't think we realized what was happening and it was so far away from our city outside Atlanta, GA but it kept our attention.

My senior year, I went to NYC twice for school trips and though only 2 months apart, went to see the Memorial twice. It was so sad and honestly, still had a raw smell to it even though 2 years had passed.

My little brother was 8 at the time and when the war on terrorism began after 9/11, he said he wanted to fight. He is currently at Parris Island, SC in the Marine Corps boot camp. Ooh rah!

I was working for a small engineering firm, revamping their network security. Got a serious case of the Hungries, so headed for the small cafe on the first floor for a bagel. As I walked down the hallway, one of the guys said, "Did you hear about the plane that hit the World Trade Center?" Knowing him, I patiently waited for the punch-line. None came. A horrible accident was my first thought.

The cafe had a small B&W TV up on a shelf. News reports were coming in left, right, sideways. Several of us congregated around it... and stood there watching as the second plane hit. To this day, I clearly remember thinking, "We're at war... this is NO accident."

Everyone was dismissed for the rest of the day. Got home, flipped between CNN and CNBC, stared in disbelief, and tried to keep up. Me being me, in a small corner of my mind, I was wondering, "Okay,now, where's Bruce Willis and his T-shirt and machine gun? Where's Ah-Nuld swooping in with a bazooka between his teeth? THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS DOES *NOT* HAPPEN HERE."

Yeah, well.... it did happen. And there are moments when I still do not believe it did. But it did.

Those of us of a certain generation will always remember:

11/23/63
09/11/01

It happened, though. It did happen.

Damn them....

Horrible, horrible tragedy. And not just for us Americans. 12% of the nearly 3,000 casualties were from other countries.

My husband heard about the first plane on his morning radio show he likes to hear in the AM, so he called me to turn on the TV. That's why I was watching when the second plane hit. My thoughts as I watched the thousands in the streets ran to "Where would you go, if planes were coming down from the sky?" They were running, but they didn't know where to, or from what. Especially after the dust clouds began rolling down the streets. I just cannot imagine what my own terrified response would have been.

I keep seeing exhortations to "Never forget". There's no danger of that happening, is there? I still remember the horrified shock of watching TV the day after Kennedy's assassination and seeing Lee Harvey Oswald shot to death by Jack Ruby--on live TV. Not so many of us saw Kennedy's death, but many of us saw Oswald's, and many of us saw an actual death, live, for the very first time in our lives.

I was at work and had just turned on the TV when the second plane hit. Students started calling and emailing. All were frightened. Each caller had a parent or other relative in NYC. Two had friends or family member flying to New York that day. A few had relatives who worked in the Twin Towers. One had an aunt no one could locate. We kept in touch until finally her aunt was able to get through on her cell phone the next day. She was late getting to work. The first plane hit before she arrived.

I remember that Boston was quiet in the middle of the day. As I walked down the street to Starbucks to meet with a group of students, the only sound I noticed was a plane circling the city - over an over. The planes that crashed had left from Boston, and we didn't yet know what these planes were doing. Were they part of another attack, and were we next? They were Air Force, maybe Navy planes guarding the skies. It surprised me that I was not comforted by their being there. There sound, and flying low, only scared me, just because they were planes.

The most wrenchng part of it all for me was counseling the Muslim students amd doctors who were just as devastated - at least - as the others. Many were afraid for their safety and went everywhere in groups. They were afraid of the backlash. One woman wore an American scarf for her head cover.

Muslim students and doctors from the middle east were especially fearful of retribution and did not understand how people could blame their religion or culture for this horror. One student's mosque, some distance from Boston, was shot at. They prayed and talked and I joined them for friday prayers to show my support. We had school-wide meetings and gatherings of students from all backgrounds meeting and talking openly everywhere in the medical area - just trying to heal.

xo R

I was at work. My boss was my uncle, and he has a very dry sense of humor. He came into my office and said, "Did you hear that a plane flew into one of the World Trade Center towers?" I thought it was the beginning of a joke, so I waited for the punch line. We ended up in the back room of the florist who shared our building, standing around a television. We wondered what happened, concerned and sad for the people at the point of impact but not afraid. Then, as we watched, a second plane flew into the other tower and we realized absolutely that this wasn't an accident. We watched the towers burn. We watched, horrified, as they collapsed.

I went home and wrote. I type quickly and by 2001 nearly all of my writing was done on the computer, but this was different. Writing on paper feels different, and I could do it in my bed, wrapped in a blanket made by my great grandmother. I even used a fountain pen - because it took me back in time, maybe? I just read through those pages, and a few things stood out. Oddly enough I recorded the current gas price because stations were caught gouging. That morning on my way to work it was $1.72. I also wrote about fear and hate and freedom and confusion and anger. I wrote about hope and pride as well, as I talked about the people who were giving their time, money and blood. I wrote about arguments with co-workers who were returning hate for hate.

Today my aunt returned to Washington state, and I admit, I will be nervous until her plan arrives safely.

I was working on our local high school's parent newsletter and telephoned the principal to go over some of the articles he wanted placed in the newsletter. He told me a plane had hit the first tower. I hung up the phone and turned on the television just in time to see the second plane hit.

My daughter had moaned and groaned that morning about "how she didn't feel good and can I not go to school today". I caved and let her stay home. I rousted her from bed when I realized what was happening and she came down the stairs to watch in horror with me. Soon she said to me, "I have to go to school". In fact she insisted she needed to go to school. Thus we were on the road when the Pentagon was hit and the plane crashed in Shanksville.

My brother was in DC (before he moved to the area) to teach a contracting seminar. We were all worried about him, but he called later in the day and asked if he could come for a few days as his seminar was postponed.

It's funny how we all remember the beautiful clear blue sky of that day. It's seared into our memory along with all the horror and fear of that morning.

I was on my way to a very early appointment with the acupuncturist, trying to get pregnant with a second baby, when I heard the news on NPR. After that, it seemed strange and pointless to get acupuncture, or try to have a baby, or do anything, really. All I wanted to do was get on a plane and fly to New York. To help, somehow. To be there.

Instead, I stayed home with my toddler and watched TV 24/7 and she watched too, in her high chair.

Now she's in middle school, studying 9/11 in history class. And she has a brother and sister, born 9 months after that day in September.

Harley, it just makes me cry - good crying - that your children were conceived on that day. Hope and innocence, you know?

I find myself reading every word of all these stories. Is it healing? I don't know, but we're all re-lving it.

And, yes, I remember watching--live TV!--when Jack Ruby shot Oswald. The shock on Oswald's face. Then my mother rushed all of the kids out of the room, and we spent the next several days playing awful pretend games in the basement where nobody could see us. Theraputic, I guess. I saw a story on TV the other day about a nursery school teacher in NY who documented the games her students played in the weeks after 9/11---building block structures and knocking them down with airplanes. Spooky, yet compelling play for children trying to make sense of what they experienced.

One of the men who worked with us was the owner's brother's son. He got to have a TV in his office and got to watch it which he did in the mornings. Irked me but that morning as I walked by his office other people were standing around his desk so I looked in.
He said a plane had hit the World Trade Center tower.
I commented that there were probably some air traffic controllers jumping out their windows.
And then the second plane hit and it was obvious it wasn't an accident.
Horrible, It was just horrible.
A few years later I went up to the top of the Empire State Building with my boyfriend. As we looked out over where the towers used to be he looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked me if I would have jumped.
I still have the black tape around my "I've been to the top of the world" button.
My boyfriend had gone to New York the week after the disaster to help find homes for the children who had been orphaned. There will always be pain in his heart.
When the subway was finally opened we went back up to NYC to see the hole. A reminder of how fragile our lives are.
All I could think about was a line from Star Wars when the Death Star blew up the peaceful planet. A thousand voices crying out in terror and suddenly silenced.

I'm about to fly across the country. I admit to being nervous. But, I sincerely believe that living our lives is the best defense. If we allow ourselves to spend every day terrified, they have one--that is the definition. We need to be smart, and it's a slippery slope we're now on. Intelligence must be managed while we hold dear to what makes us Americans.

Sorry! That's "won."

As William mentioned we we will never forget those two important dates in history.
A prayer for those who died and lost loved ones.
God Bless America!

Nine months before 9/11, on a beautiful snowy January day, my neighbor's daughter was hit by a car while sledding into the street in front of my house. I was in my kitchen, baking cookies and listening to music. A flash of red reflected on the face of my radio and I turned around, and through the window saw the flashing ambulance lights. My street was filled with police cars, an ambulance, a fire truck, and cops, EMTs and firemen stood in my yard. All I could see of Jen were her legs, in puffy pink snow pants, kicking against the snow in the street.

She died four days later. She was 8 years old. During those days of waiting, our neighborhood came together, called each other, got close in a way we never had before.

Nine months later, on the morning of 9-11, I was watching TV. I never watch TV in the morning, but my neighbor and her husband were scheduled to appear on a talk show. They were going to talk about their sudden loss, and handling grief, and about Jen.

The segment never aired. The first plane struck the first tower. I was watching when the second one hit. I didn't move from the TV all day, except to call people. Like Hank, my husband (a journalist) was absent for days. My sons came home from school early. At five o'clock, after flights had been grounded for hours, we heard airplanes overhead. It was an utterly chilling moment, until I realized the planes had to be headed to Dover AFB.

The next day, Sept. 12, I ran an errand and saw American flags everywhere. Every house that had one flew it, and every house that didn't have one, seemed to acquire one fast. For a while, it felt the same way our neighborhood had felt that January, bound together in grief, and not knowing what to do except try to comfort one another.

These are such beautiful, touching stories. They honor the victims of 9/11.

I was living in Michigan, working as a proofreader for a family-owned printing business. I remember one of the designers say something about a plane hitting one of the towers. One of my co-workers got online just as the second tower hit and the news websites crashed due to traffic. We turned on NPR radio and listened to a phone interview with someone in the Pentagon when we heard over the line, over the radio, a commotion, and then the military individual stating, "I have to go. There has been an explosion here, and we're evacuating." We all turned to each other in disbelief.

Working through the day was the hardest thing I ever did. But we put quietly put noses down and listened with one ear to that single radio in the department (we had no TVs). On the drive home people were crowding gas stations, panicked for fuel.

And all I could think was, I needed to get to "my people" - my friends and family in the Midwest. I was scheduled on a Northwest flight to visit Kansas City on September 13, as was a friend living in Chicago. When airports were still closed on the 12th, I called her, and we decided to call the airlines, give up our seats on the 13th for those who needed them, and just drive. I drove to Chicago to pick her up, arriving at midnight, still wired from caffeine and confusion, so we just kept driving. We drove all night, still thinking this was all surreal, couldn't really be happening. And the absence of those blinking aircraft lights in the sky was just unsettling.

We stopped for breakfast in Des Moines, Iowa, and as we left, the sun was rising and we finally saw/heard an airplane in the sky. It was the beginning of the return to "normal". But we both knew nothing would ever be "normal" again.

That visit, we all hugged more, we cherished each moment, we went outside and lit candles during the vigil, saying a prayer, our group of five women who met under various circumstances in college, just a few years previously. We didn't complain when searched going into a Matchbox 20 concert. We all put whatever donation we could afford into the firefighter's boot. We grieved. We rallied. We supported.

Then we got angry. How dare someone come into the land of the free, the home of the brave and do something as horrible as this?

To this day, when I think of the idea of someone trying to take an aircraft I'm on, I just say "bring it". I may only be 5' 2" but that means they won't expect me, won't see me coming. They underestimated the average American, which is evident by the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania. And they will always underestimate our strength, our passion to protect those we can and eliminate those who mean to cause us harm.

Many things have changed in my life over these last 10 years, but one thing remains constant.

We will never forget.

I was preparing my last final for the Sorbonne for the next day and my wedding that was to take place one week later.
I was completely in my text books when a friend of mine called me asking "Paulina, is it a war? Is it a war?" It was someone completely crazy and I thought she heard something and made a mountain out of a molehill as usually. Nevertheless I turned internet on. I couldn't even imagine what I was going to see!
Wedding and all this exciting stuff became no good and senseless . "Shouldn't we call off the wedding?" I asked my future husband. We still got married. But I remember us talking that the world would never be again as it used to be.

I have been so burnt out on all the media hype leading up to this somber anniversary. As usual, I came here for comfort. Thank you bloggers and back bloggers for restoring meaning and perspective to this day. My calloused psych is open and grieving again as it needed to be and do.

I was teaching, and our students made me proud. Still hoping for peace in this sad world . . .

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
~Lao Tzu

I have tears in my eyes. You all have touched me. I was raised in New York, and could barely take it in. I remember feeling awful, and then angry. How could we let this happen? As the stories came out, about the "chatter" warning about some sort of attack, I still wonder where the Masters of the Universe had their heads. Too many good people lost their lives. Our world became a sadder place that day; a bright sunny day in California became a day of shock and mourning.

I was a new father on 9/11. Princess One was two weeks old to the day. I came home from work at lunch time and watched the news and cried while holding my little bundle. My mother told me about the days in November 1963 when she watched the news from Dallas and cried while holding her baby, me.

My BIL worked in Times Square. The phones and email were out. His company's inner office mail was working. We got a call from their North Carolina office that he was ok and going home with a co worker. The subways were off line. He would have had a 70 block walk.

A cousin lived in lower Manhattan. Cousin Murray worked nights, he got home around sunrise and went to bed. When he woke up in the afternoon there were several messages asking if he was ok. He had no idea why so many people were worried about him. They told him. Then he looked out his window.

I was on the bus, going to work and overheard to girls talking, in a rather giddy excited manner about a plane flying into a building and wow, they were wondering how many people were dead. I remember thinking to myself, they must be talking about a movie I haven't heard of. I got into work and turned on my computer and internet to learn it was no movie.

I don't think I got any work done that day, the horrors just kept unfolding. Since all planes into the states were cancelled, Canadian airports were overwhelmed with flights. It was a beautiful day in Vancouver and we could hear planes overhead in downtown Vancouver, a rare thing, the flight patterns normally aren't over downtown. By 3 p.m. they were announcing on the radio for people to stop coming to the airport. Word had gone out about all the landings and all the people about to be stranded in Vancouver and anyone who had room at home and a car were trying to get to the airport to volunteer to take in stranded Americans.

I was very very grateful to be able to leave work that day and go home to my safe apartment, knowing life had changed irrevocably.

I am on my first plane for today. I am nervous. Trying to play with an adorable baby. People are so casual. Makes me proud. I'm stil ordering a drink asap.

Nancy, the reason we were watching TV the day Oswald was shot was because it was the day after Kennedy was shot, and there was no school.

I've spent this entire day either driving my daughter 2 1/2 hours to an airport to fly home to Miami, or freaking out about her flying home to Miami on 9/11. Thank you, Heather, for putting this fear into perspective.

I just want to ad that I love the Tarts' peace icons.

My mom already said where I was and what I was doing. I don't know why I wanted to go to school after...all the parents were coming and taking their kids home...

Every class I had that day, we watched the news. I can remember the rumors flying through the air, but not specifically what they were.

Ten years later, and I can't watch the documentaries or movies, or news when it comes to 9/11 because I just start to cry.

I have a youth group meeting tonight, and want to do something with them to mark this day...I am still struggling with how to do this, and I have one hour...

Peach . . .

. . . Blossom.

You've all written such moving memories. It helps to share.

I notice that I left out an importnt word on my first comment. It should have read: One Muslim student started to wear an American flag as her head cover.

I woke up as usual to NPR's Morning Edition . . . I heard Bob Edwards' voice, just his voice--and jumped out of bed to quickly turn on the television (sound off, still listening to NPR)--something was terribly wrong, just from the tone and timbre of Bob Edwards' voice. As I was still terribly confused as to what in the world was happening, the second plane hit, and I realized that my day of seeing patients had just become even more challenging than it had been. Shocked, stunned and shaken, I owed it to my patients to give them space to express their feelings and fears while I tended not only to their health complaints but also to their wounded hearts. It's the only time I've really wished that I had a television in my office, before or since.

My biggest fear, other than a spiraling continuation of terrorist events that day and following days, was that we had a reckless cowboy at the helm, and what would happen when he took us to war, which he most certainly would do.

It was one of the rare occasions when I was sick enough that I needed to stay home from work. Achy and feverish, I tried to find something mindless to watch on TV. It seemed that all the channels were showing "breaking news" footage of a hole in one side of one of the Twin Towers. I had the impression that a small plane had hit the building. I assumed it was a tragic accident involving a student pilot. Then I watched as a second plane hit the other tower. I still could not accept that it was deliberate. It HAD to have been that the pilot was distracted by the sight of the first "accident"! When I realized that it was an act of terrorism I immediately called my sister to see if she had heard from her son. He had taken a year off from college to work in his chosen field, and was working for a company that set up ad maintained computer networks for businesses in NYC. The majority of their clients were located in the WTC. I had to leave a message on her machine. She called back around an hour and a half later, sobbing. My nephew was okay but it had taken her a couple of hours to try to contact him, with the phones being down. She finally heard from him by email. He was working in the office that morning. His employer lost a majority of their clients in the attack, and ended up having to restructure. My nephew had originally planned to extend his leave from school but decided that life was too short to put off getting on with his life, so he returned to school the following semester.

He had a view of the towers from his office. He always has a camera with him and pulled it out and started using it. When he realized that what he originally thought was debris was actually people jumping from the buildings, he put down the camera.

I spent the rest of the day glued to the TV and watched in horror as each building collapsed. I still feel sort of numb when I think about it.

Took two flights today. People were lovely, and I am home safe and sound, and grateful.

Thanks so much to our military, our firefighters, and all who sign that will give their lives.

I have never had to do that. Bravo to those who have done so, and will do so in the future.

The comments to this entry are closed.

indiebound
The Breast Cancer Site