It’s 9/11 Once Again
So here we are on September 11th. Many things have happened on this date in history. Perhaps some of you were even born or got married on this date. But I think we all carry with us a very powerful memory of September 11th, 2001.
Let’s send up a prayer for all whose lives were forever tragically altered, or ended, by the terrorist attacks of that day.
And if you want, let’s share our own memories of that day. What stands out the most in your mind? Where were you when you first got the news? Who were you with while you watched it unfold?
And how did you change because of it? Did those changes last?
Let’s talk about it.
You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.
Do you mind if I quote your writing in my uni report? I would think this article suits my topic perfectly. Thanks for posting this article
>I was in school to be a paramedic. I walked down the hallway and saw a bunch of journalist students crowd around a tv, so I went in. It took me about 5 minutes to realize that what I was seeing was actually real.
And in all selfishness, I was grateful that we didn't live in NY and that my husband, a firefighter, was not there helping anyone. Even more so after I heard about all the firefighters that died trying to help others escape.
My heart goes out to all the families…I can't imagine.
>In school we talked about it on Friday. I was only four then so I don't remember anything. I'm not sure if this is true but I learned that they saw that the planes were going off course but didn't act and that the military planes that were sent didn't know in which direction to go.
>I had no idea my comment would be so much misundersdtood. To anyone angry with me; please realize I have the 100% absolute same deep sorrows concerning ALL to do with Sept.11., just like you. Furthermore, I do NOT blame you for your mistaken ASSUMPTIONS. I understand how easy it was to assume wrong. One more thing, I sincerely hope you do/will use the same fervent efforts (you did to answer my comments) to tell others about Jesus, to help them get saved. Nothing else could be equal in importance.
Thank you, Writer Jim
>This is a day I think we'll never forget. I hope we don't.
My family and I were living in Zürich at the time. My husband called me from work to turn on the TV, saying there'd been an accident in NY—a plane hit a tower.
I turned it one and as I watched, a second plane entered the screen and hit the other tower. I told my husband another plane had crashed. He said no, they must just be replaying it. I told him no, it's another plane and this is no accident. The part I will never shake is seeing people leaping to their deaths. It was horrible.
The American Embassy told us to stay home as much as possible and close the American Women's Club downtown. We braved shopping one day and ran into a group of Muslim women who seemed immediately antagonistic of me and my daughters, but I wonder if they were as frightened as we were. Our small community showed us so much compassion though. They grieved right along side us.
>Rachelle, I respect your choice to delete — please also go ahead and delete my critical post, to avoid further unneeded controversy. I'm the first Anon.
>Would everyone please stop commenting about WriterJim. He's a regular reader and commenter on this blog and often contributes valuable thoughts. I deleted his comment to this post for his protection and so that people would stop focusing on it. The comment was stirring up unnecessary controversy and anger on a day when I really wanted us to be respectful, and focus on our memories and lasting impressions of 9/11. This post is not a place for self-promotion nor a place for criticizing other commenters. Thanks.
>These events, nor the memory of said events, has changed me in the slightest; though my perception of the dangers of working in tall buildings has been influenced. It happened very far away and nobody I know was involved. It might as well have occured in a movie, for how little it affects my life.
Those Writer Jim comments you mentioned that were let stand. Are they on another date blog? I can't find them here. I do find mean comments about Writer Jim. Why do they talk about him when his words are no where to be found? It seems unfair to not see the other side of this controversy. Please help. Thanks.
>I used to wait until October to have my students participate in the VFW's annual patriotic essay contest. Now I do it right before Sept. 11th. It's a great opportunity to remind teens (who were wee little tikes in 2001) about the importance of patriotism.
FYI if there are any other English teachers out there, my blog offers links and info about patriotic essay contests for teens. (I hope I'm not imposing by sticking this info into my comment, Ms. Gardner.)
>I was in Reno Nevada attending a emergency medical services conference on trauma care. Two hundred EMS and medical professionals in one room, watching our counterparts in NY deal with the tragedy unfolding on TV. Our hearts sunk, we were scared for our friends and our country – but we knew our training to provide care during these type of events was vital. We lost part of the EMS community that day and it has touched us all.
>anon 9 pm;
That writer jim guy said that our country has pushed God out of schools, and things like that. The angry comments from others seem to be people letting out their frustration, and are assuming that wj was saying things like falwell said. From my take, i expect wj would blame falwell and those like him; rather than those falwell blamed. wj did not call individuals bad names, or stuff like that. I think his position was that America , as a antion, needs to repent. I myself, am very surprized and sad that his comments were deleted; so that you could decide for yourself. Hope this helped.
>My middle daughter is in 2nd grade (born in 2002). Yesterday I struggled with how to convey to her the enormity and the sadness of what happened 9 months before she was even born.
She came home from school and said her teacher had talked to them about it and couldn't stop crying. "We were all crying too, Mommy."
We talked about it as a family. Thanking God for her teacher.
>We were scheduled to fly on 9/11. Instead we decided to fly a day early and drive from Dallas to our conference location in Houston. When 9/11 happened we had already flown, rented a car, checked in to our hotel room, and prepared for a weeklong conference.
As planes were pulled out of the air and routed to the nearest airport, Houston quickly ran out of rental cars and hotel rooms. Our conference hotel filled up with stranded passengers from literally all over the globe.
We were able to minister, serve, counsel, comfort, console families and couples and individuals from many places. The conference paused for a few days and we stayed busy as "open-air" counselors in the lobby and meeting rooms of a large Houston hotel property.
We were grateful to be safe and able to serve.
>This was a great idea, Rachelle – it let a lot of people – including me – put some emotions out there, feelings that we've maybe kept inside for a long time.
And I, for one, am glad that you let the initial post from Writer Jim, and the somewhat uncomplimentary comments referring to it, stand. You've upheld the First Amendment in a way that should make every participant in this forum, whatever his or her opinion, proud to be a part of it.
9/11 has changed our culture and our country…and some of these changes are mighty inconvenient…however…
I happen to do a bit of research work in a field that deals with some of the technical issues involved in terrorism. To all of you out there who might be annoyed at the airport delays and TSA hassles – please know that the work being done to protect you is being done well, and the threat is still very real, and even more frightening than it was eight years ago.
That we have NOT had a major terrorist incident since 9/11 is a testament to the hard work, intelligence, and sacrifice of a lot of very bright, dedicated people. The tools that the bad folks have are terrifying – and so far our defenses have held.
When you pray, please pray for TSA and HSA and the various spooky agencies. Their members often feel unwanted and unloved by the people they work to protect…and it is they who ensure that the airline trip you take will be a safe one.
>I was still a federal government manager, and I was in charge of our agency for the entire state. All federal buildings nation-wide were evacuated, so I had to coordinate that for my agency, the last to leave. I sat in a sports bar with a fellow manager, stunned, a dozen televisions playing the scenes over and over. I didn't want to go home and be alone. A day later, when no one was around, I bawled. I could not write for two weeks. Just seemed too trivial under the weight of all that tragedy. I changed my outlook on life. I made a plan to live my life a little fuller. That's when I made a financial plan to leave the job, a job I wasn't enjoying. I requested an early retirement, and once year later, the following September, I walked away from the job and began writing fulltime. 9-11 made me realize life was too short.
>I was watching the Today Show with my little ones toddling around me, and I was absolutely stunned, as was everyone, when they cut to the trade towers that had just been hit. And then another cut to the Pentagon. It was incredibly shocking and I just wanted to grab my babies and shelter them. There was a sense of, "What's next?" that was very eerie. What a sad time for our nation. Thanks for letting us reflect.
>I watched everything unfold on TV, in my home 30 miles west of NYC.
We used to be able to see the tops of the Towers from my neighborhood.
That evening, my husband and I went for a walk, streaks of smoke in the sky, miles wide, like a thunderstorm hovering over Manhattan. The rest of the sky was empty.
We passed children riding bikes in a driveway, bickering with one another. One child said his Daddy wasn't home yet and another shot back, "Well, my Daddy is home!" Other children joined in and it sounded like they were having a contest, to see whose Daddy got home the fastest.
22 people from our town perished on 9/11. I don't know if any of them were the Daddy who hadn't made it home yet.
On that walk, my husband and I decided it was time to start our family. What were we waiting for? Life felt so fragile that day…and yet, never quite so strong.
Our first child was born in early 2003.
>It was my sophmore year in High School. I was sitting in English class and a teacher came in with the news. Our teacher, who was also the theater director, ran into the art closet and pulled out an old black and white TV. We watched the news for the rest of the hour. After that, my mom picked me up from school and we sat in our kitchen and watched the news. I remember the reporter couldn't keep the tears from her eyes and I'm glad she didn't…I don't think that she could have.
Thanks for this post.
>May I ask, what are those angry comments about writer jim concerning? I can't find a word from writer jim. Those commenters calling him a buttkisser, don't seem in line with your blog rules:
•Differing opinions are welcome and valued.
•I expect all comments to be respectful of me (as your host) and of the other commenters. If you disagree with another commenter, please do it without being rude or your comment will be deleted.
>The aftermath of Sept. 11th was the first time I felt pride in our nation, and it's a feeling I still have.
>I remember my family calling me at my office in Philadelphia, begging me to leave because Washington and D.C. had been hit and they thought that Philadelphia would be next. So I did leave the office, and made it across the bridge to NJ before it was closed.
The first thing I did was go to the bank to withdraw the money we needed for closing on our new house the next week, because we thought the banks would freeze everyone's assets.
I remember watching people on TV jumping from the towers, their bodies plummeting for so long.
I remember my neighbors at a vigil I organized that Friday in our cul-de-sac, singing America the Beautiful and the National Anthem together, people whom I didn't even know, who gathered in solidarity and prayer. Just as we finished, a military fighter plane zoomed overhead on patrol in a perfectly timed punctuation.
I remember the dead silence in the sky with no planes over the Northeast Corridor for something like a week (other than the fighters patrolling.) I never realized how many planes fly over every day – they circle here to land at Philadelphia International. The silence was completely eerie.
Whenever I hear a low plane, or sirens in the middle of the night, or something that sounds like an explosion, part of me suddenly gets very wary.
>I am not a TV person, so I was going about my day in blissful ignorance when I got a panicked call from my oldest son (20 at the time). He wanted to know if his father was all right. Huh? So he told me that terrorists had crashed a plane in Pennsylvania and he was afraid for his father who was in PA. So, while turning the TV on, I explained to him that no, the town his father was in was far too small to interest terrorists and there was nothing to worry about. I calmed him down, hung up, and watched in horror. I spent the rest of the day, first contacting my husband so I could confirm to the family that he was, indeed, all right, and then trying to get news of my brother in Manhattan, and phoning various members of the family to exchange the news we had, my other kids at school so they wouldn't worry. I became a temporary TV junkie, and had a very hard time laughing or smiling about anything for quite a while afterwards, even though we weren't affected directly. My brother in Manhattan was too far away to be in any danger (although some of his co-workers lost family members) but he will never forget watching the streams of ash-covered pedestrians fleeing under his office window. He managed to get word out to my parents before they'd even got out of bed and turned on the TV, so they had no time to worry, which was good.
Despite the horror of that day, I am concerned that its importance has been exaggerated and that governments of all stripes are using it to whittle away at essential freedoms. That may be the most lasting legacy of September 11th, and not a good one.
>Changed? Not so much as my love of country and my patriotism are much more reinforced. I am also less apologetic about my unabashed admiration and support for our armed forces. I personally thank any member of the military I come in contact with. Hokey? Maybe a little, but maybe a little appreciation is what they needed needs.
On 9-11, I was on my way to work at Legal Aid. Our offices were sandwiched between the county courthouse, the police department, and the federal courthouse. Witin 2 hours every intersection was guarded and blocked by police cars. We closed the office at noon for fear of being trapped downtown in case anything else happened.
That evening, my husband asked me if it meant war and what I thought would happen. My response was:
"Ask me again in five years when this is an open and oozing wound on the side of our country and our economy."
I really wish I had been wrong.
Bless America on this day of memories. Terri
>As silly as this sounds, I was at work doing research on the internet when I felt a tremendous pain in my chest and stomach. The internet went down and all went quiet. I turned to my colleague, and to this day I don't know why I said this, but I said, "a lot of people are gonna die today." Then the phone rang, it was my wife telling me that the first tower fell.
I have never felt a pain like that since nor have I had any sensory perception like on that day and I hope I never will.
>Therese, I also believe this should be a Day of Forgiveness, as well as a Day of Peace. And I too blogged about it on http://elisalorello.blogspot.com
>9-11 changed my perception of others–I realized that hate and anger and revenge would never change things for the better. Love would, and since then I've resolved to love. NO, my response isn'talways love, but the need for it is always on my mind.
I proposed making 9-11 a Day of Forgiveness, in a post on my blog:
>I was at the redlight one block from my job at a national christian ministry. My boss was the head guy and already in the radio broadcast studio taping future programs when I arrived, so I decided that I needed to give him a message with the details. Then the second plane hit, all taping was stopped and broadcasts went live for a week.
Personally, the grief that had been buried deep in my soul and covered over nicely with a sweet smile began to rise and pour out through tears. I remember sitting in department devotions when the weeping began . . . The grief and the weeping sprang out of the pain of a husband who lost his way when we were missionaries in Russia five years prior. He had abandoned God, me, his family, his ministry, and his whole life. A human tragedy silently endured.
>I'm a young one. I was in sixth grade when someone came into our class and whispered something in my teacher's ear. She started crying. We turned on every TV in the school and watched the planes crash into the towers over and over as the news stations looped the footage.
As eleven and twelve-year-olds, we didn't understand what was happening. At first, I thought someone had bombed the Towers. I didn't know the definition of the word "hijack." And then, everyone got really scared. Students were afraid the terrorists (another word we didn't quite know) would attack our town next. We live in the middle of cornfield-y Illinois, but when you're a little kid, everything seems like it's going to happen to you. It also didn't help that the teachers were visibly freaking out.
My friends and I talked about this over lunch today. I guess I was the only one who went to a school where we were actually told what happened. A lot of schools kept it from the students. That might have been a better idea, in retrospect, because none of us really knew how to behave or feel about the whole thing. Our parents had to explain it again when we went home, and a lot of us had serious misconceptions about the attack.
I don't think anyone will ever forget where we were when the attacks happened. God bless.
>It was my first day home from the hospital with my baby boy. As soon as I heard, I cried non-stop and became very fearful and depressed for my children's future. I got better but there were several weeks of feeling terrified.
I remember many people holding vigils at churches and I would love to think it brought a lasting faith and return to religion to our country. I'm certain some people were brought to faith from the experience.
>Today, tears cloud my vision as half mast flags clear my memory and God bless America prayers slip from quivering lips.
My whole life I could get watery eyes during the national anthem out of love and respect for my country. Now,it's bitter sweet.
>I feel sympathy for my Muslim friends who are still being punished and discriminated against for the hateful and destructive actions of a few crazy Saudi Arabian extremists.
So many people have suffered as a result of 9/11–not just the WTC victims and families but the innocent American soldiers and Iraqi civilians still fighting a war that had nothing to do w/ 9/11.
>I am a mom. I think 9/11 hit me really hard because I realized immediately that the world will never be the same for my kids.
That morning I was doing the usual getting-ready-for-school routine when my husband called to tell me something strange was going on in NYC. I turned on the TV and saw the second plane hit. I tried to think of what to do with my kids–should I take them to school or should I just keep them near me? I opted to try to keep things as normal as possible for them, so I dropped them at school. Then I immediately took my youngest (not in school at the time) over to my best friend's house. The minute she opened the door we both fell into each other's arms and cried for a long time. I spent the morning with her, watching TV and crying together. As a mom, the impact has been profound.
Also, I live in Wheaton, IL and attended Wheaton College where Todd Beamer also attended. I still think about his family and how this day changed them all forever. Not long after 9/11, Lisa Beamer came to campus because they were dedicating a building in Todd's honor, and I remember thinking that she was so strong. What an amazing woman.
Every year on this day I cry. Even though I didn't lose anyone close to me, I still cry for the loss of innocence for our country and for the future (or lack thereof) for my children. It's truly a sad day.
>I can't even think about this without crying.
I was out of the country. My coworker called me into a room and said, "Look what's happening in your country right now!" I thought it was a movie. Only one building had been struck. I watched as the second one got struck and thought my legs would crumble. I thought, "My country is under attack. There is war at home."
I got a lot of sympathy from my students and coworkers that day. They all thought I would go home. It was a heartbreaking, scary day.
>I blogged about my perspective at http://www.lilyrobinson.com
We will never forget.
(Words can't even begin. . .)
>I was in college, walking through the business building which always had CNN on monitors. "America Attacked" it said in red. It took me about five minutes of watching to understand that it was real.
It took me a while to process this event. In many ways I'm still trying to understand it.
The hate is what got to me. Oddly, I compared myself to the terrorists. Was it possible for me to be so consumed by my convictions that I was willing to hurt others in defense of them? Maybe I wouldn't throw a bomb or crash a plane, but I could hurt people with my words and actions, snub them, judge them, in the name of my beliefs. Or maybe I could miss out on a really great friendship because I wasn't willing to listen and see another point-of-view.
I decided I needed to focus on kindness and worry less about what others are thinking politically, socially, or religiously. Reserve judgment, focus on what we have in common.
Has the change lasted? Well I haven't become the world's most thoughtful and loving person by any means but I am still working on it. 9/11 always reminds.
>I’m an ironworker. I was working on the Manhattan Bridge at the time of the attacks. I spent the next two days looking for survivors and clearing debris. We found one woman who was in her office near the top and hid under her desk. She rode the collapsing tower down. If there were any miracles that day, this was one. There was not a scratch on her. She inquired about her co-workers but all that was left was parts. Obviously, a sad day.
Some things that disgusted me that I won’t forget…
Firemen stealing rings off of loose fingers,
Members of the National Guard looting electronic stores.
A lot of “heroes” died that day and are remembered warmly, and rightly so. I do not knock them, but some people just plain suck.
Rachael, you run a classy blog and I enjoy reading it, and as a newbie writer, I soak up whatever inside information I can get, like most new writers do (or should). I would never be disrespectful to you but I need to get this off my chest.
Anon is correct to be angry. This latest comment by WriterJim is just a self-serving book promo. I doubt he’s a believer at all. He’s just another buttkisser playing the God card to an agent who is a believer. He has every right to push his book, fine, but whenever I hear people claim that God has conversations with them, it makes me question their sanity. When policy is dictated by people who speak to, speak with, channel, or play golf with God, that’s when wars start and people die. That’s what happened on September 11, 2001. Think of those individuals that planned the attacks on this day eight years ago; what was their message? Thank God WriterJim is not in a position to sway anyone.
>At 8:46 ET (7:46 here), I was sitting at my desk. I remember a couple of co-workers walking past my desk saying something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I figured it was some small plane and the pilot had gotten confused or something. They were going to a conference room because they had heard someone had a television on in there, but I had work that needed to be done and I stayed at my desk. I heard about the whole event that way, sitting at my desk.
Our company spans the United States, so I kept hearing about people who were on travel opting to drive home rather than wait to see when the planes would be flying again. The skies were so quiet after that. Around here, if you look up, you will probably spot a plane, but there was nothing. The fighters were up flying around, but not much else.
>I was in AP US History when everything started to unfold. Talk about a bit of irony in the day. So we talked a lot about what the buildings hit were and such. Watched a lot of news in the classrooms that day. I was a junior in high school at the time. I remember the group of us who didn't know what went on in the Pentagon and no one but I was brave enough to actually ask the question. By third period that day, which was probably after noon because we only had four classes each day and they alternated, the principal instructed teachers to turn off the televisions and resume normal instruction. I could understand it but at the same time it irked me because we could all tell this was something bigger than any one of us and it seemed wrong to ignore what was going on in the world.
>On 9/11, after I internally processed what was going on, I started to notice a curious trend in the way some people talk.
I found it depressing.
Thus, I remember 9/11 as a day where words matter. They matter a great deal.
>Thank you for the invitation to connect around this important day. I love the prompt: "And how did you change because of it?"
9/11 was a fulcrum of awareness for me. I realized just how much I hated–and loved–this Nation. Here's an excerpt from a piece I wrote:
"9/11 hits home for me. World War I & II, Korea, Vietnam Nam, the Persian Gulf- these are the stuff of history lessons and television. But I lost someone I knew on September 11th. He had two kids and a wife."
For Love of a Nation: http://kellysalasin.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/for-love-of-my-country/
>I was at my office several blocks away from the Capitol Building, listening to newscasters say that they thought there was another hijacked plane out there that might be heading for Washington.
God bless the heroes of Flight 93, and everyone else who lost their lives that day.
>I had been at my new job with a CBS affiliate in Minnesota for only a few weeks.
Minutes after arriving at work someone burst into my department (Creative Services…the people who make commercials) telling everyone that the first plane hit. We carried on with our normal activities (breaking news is nothing new to tv people and it was thought to just be a horrible accident). Then when the second plane hit I went into the newsroom.
When the plane hit the Pentagon and returned to my department and urged everyone to come into the newsroom…since there was still a plane in the air (the one that would ultimately go down in Pennsylvania)
Television stations get live feeds from New York and I'll never forget standing in front of the wall of screens watching everything unfold. Alarms from New York were going off all morning with updates, and because New York took control of the airwaves we had nothing to do but sit and watch.
I got to see all the live feeds from photogs on the ground (things that weren't let out to the public) and it was horrible. As crazy as it sounds, what you all saw on your tv's was the "sanitized" version of what photogs were capturing on the ground.
God Bless everyone who was directly affected, and never let us forget the events of that horrible day.
Thank you Rachelle for allowing us to comment on this day.
>Six months pregnant, I sat at my desk and began work, just like any other day. A breathless co-worker shattered the calm of the peaceful morning. “A plane hit the World Trade Center.”
“What? How could that happen?” My brain could register nothing more than a horrible accident.
Her next words chilled my soul. “They think it was a terrorist attack.”
She moved on, to spread the news, while my mind whirled. No, surely it was an accident. Who would do such a thing?
After several minutes of absorbing the scope of the tragedy, I connected to the Internet for more details. Fearing a reprimand for non-job related Web surfing, I got the gist of the story, then tried to get my mind back on data entry. My fingers fumbled across the keyboard.
Hearing numerous voices, I realized everyone, including the bosses, began to congregate in the break room in front of the television. No one seemed to care if we stopped productivity. Making my way down the hall, I still thought surely it was all a mistake, a tragic accident.
When the newscaster announced that another plane had hit the other tower, an audible gasp spread over the room. As the news unfolded, it became apparent that no, it was not an accident. Still optimistic and with little knowledge of architecture, I fervently prayed for the people on the floors directly hit.
Another gasp sounded, when the first tower fell. Then only moments later, the second went down. With the understanding that hundreds, thousands would not escape, my tears began to flow. In rapid succession, we heard about the Pentagon and the flight in Pennsylvania. All due to an evil man, who hates Americans.
I pressed a hand to my abdomen. What kind of world am I bringing this baby into?
The next day, a few of my co-workers organized a prayer circle, held in the parking lot of our workplace. People came from all over the building, even the owners, as we prayed for our nation. I felt a sense of unity and pride.
Eight years later, the horror remains with me. Although not paranoid, my optimistic outlook is gone concerning world events. When I hear of tragedies, accidental causes never enter my mind. Instead, my first thought is: terrorist attack.
I’m grateful for my rural community, where there are no skyscrapers, which keeps my family out of the line of fire. I’m thankful to live and raise my child in such a small town, where Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein’s followers won’t think it worth their efforts.
In the end, the events of that day made me prouder to be an American, but it also stole some of my optimism for the world.
With the war against terror still raging, it hurts my soul for born and bred Americans to protest our soldiers, who daily fight for our safety. We owe our brave volunteers allegiance. It seems the terrorists have succeeded in dividing our nation, at a time when we need to be the most unified.
>From my blog:
Commentators crying; congressmen praying; a nation gripped in fear. A full range of emotions and events that we have put into two words. Nine Eleven. Today I remember when terror and unspeakable evil moved us from unsuspecting to "on alert". A day when the whole nation looked to God and each other. It was a place where evil and love faced off to see which would come out the winner. I think everyone has their own view of the winner of that match. But for at least a day, I believe love reigned. Fear will always be with us. Unspeakable sadness will prevail. But if we allow it, love will hold us up through it all.
>I was homeschooling my two daughters when my husband called and told me to turn on the news; that he had heard a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. We watched in horror as the chaos erupted, and the planes crashed into the World Trade Center in real time and then the towers fell to the ground.
One of the things I always notice now is the absence of those twin towers from the New York Skyline which was always a favorite landmark to me. I have a photo of it from a visit I had at the Statue of Liberty. That photo has taken on a whole new meaning.
Life will never be the same again.
>I was in my third? year of medical school on an internal medicine rotation. Everything was proceeding as normal until I walked into a patient's room and saw the TV coverage. Everyone was in a sort of trance-like state, but we kept working. Patient care goes on. We just suppressed any emotions we had.
>Rachelle, you may end up deleting this, but I can't let it slide. Writer Jim's post made me ANGRY.
The terrorists thought they were doing God's will. They thought they were punishing America for "mocking God" and "surrending to evil" and engaging in "sin, sin, sin." Apparently Writer Jim agrees that 9/11 was a well-deserved punishment.
I am disgusted. You think God spoke to you? Why didn't He speak to someone who could DO something about it? Because we had it coming? Then I guess the radical Islamists have the one true religion, because they're the ones who performed the act, so maybe God WAS speaking to them! Hooray, I'm off to convert!
This is like the Jerry Falwell quote: I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen." Pointing blame like this is SICK and WRONG.
I am so, so angry. I don't even know what else to say.
>Good morning, Rachelle.
Yes, Sept. 11, 2009 continues to be a good morning. Today, just as on that other Sept. 11th eight years ago, God is working in our lives for good.
I grieve for the suffering of all people that comes as a result of the actions of evil men. Each person suffers in a unique way. None of us will ever be the same.
Yet life goes on, hurricanes Rita and Katrina happens, the banking system collapses; each tragic event brings suffering to millions of people. And, by the grace of God, we find the courage to take a step away from our grief, trust God to heal our hearts, and continue to do the work that He has prepared for us to do.
All the actions of violent men cannot move us when we take our stand on God's Word and live in obedience to Him.
We who keep going in faith and hope proclaim with our lives that, as the old hymn says, "Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
Our hope in Him will never be disappointed.
>I was a junior in high school. I remember first hearing about it in my English class when my teacher came in all frazzled. Needless to say we didn't really get anything done that day, not that anyone would.
I also remember a few callous students laughing–yes, laughing–at the whole thing. Looking back at it now, that's probably how they dealt with it, but at the time I remember being so appalled by the lack of remorse that I broke down crying in class. That shut them up really quick and I think that's when they realized that it wasn't a joke.
We had a half day that day (it was already planned–it was teacher conferences or something) and I remember running out to the car to meet my mom. We just sat there in the parking lot and cried while we listened to the radio as they were reporting it.
I remember coming home and Mom turning on the TV–within moments of that, they had shown the footage recorded of the second plane hitting the tower. I hadn't seen it yet and I was so taken aback by it I remember just collapsing on the floor and crying hysterically.
Everything plays back so vividly when I think back on it. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been eight years.
>Thank you for posting this! Most folks who know me, know I love to laugh. I love irony and good word-play, but today is not a day for laughter. Today I choose to pause and remember those who died on September 11th…
My thoughts are posted on my blog:
God bless you all,
>I was at my high school in Texas, four days away from turning 18. We watched hours of news coverage in classes that day…my eyeballs felt stretched from being so wide open for so many hours. I traveled to D.C. on a student diplomatic team trip the week after Thanksgiving, 2001. We toured the Pentagon with an Air Force brigadier general, and as we stood outside in the cold, gazing at the missing chunk of the building, he reminded us – charged us – to live every day of our lives.
I also have a little cousin, born Sept. 11, 1998, who died in a car crash in March 2005. This day is about her, too.
>My first daughter was born less than three weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing. I spent the days loving my wonderful new baby while watching the tragic details unfold on TV. I'll never forget the image of the firefighter carrying the limp body of baby Baylee Almon away from the wreckage. It made me hold my little girl just a little bit tighter.
My second child — my youngest daughter — was born less than two weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Once again, I spent my maternity leave shedding tears for the strangers who lost their loved ones while I held my precious child close to my heart.
I remember thinking about how unfair the situation seemed; twice, I was blessed with new life while others were enduring their darkest hours.
I remember the fear I felt about bringing new life into such a scary world.
I learned not to take each day for granted. I learned that not everyone comes home at the end of the work day, so it's important that your kids and husband know you love them when you part ways in the morning.
>I was in the middle of the jungle with no news outlet at all, only shortwave radio for communication. we were hosting a missionary medical team from the states who ended up stranded, awaiting flights home. We would not see footage of the towers fall for two weeks. I wrote about it here.
>Where was I? From a million miles away (Tennessee)to Ground Zero in a heartbeat. My oldest daughter had decideded to go to Pace University In Manhattan. She had been in city 8 days, freshman year. She was in her dorm room, 14th floor, some 2,000 feet from the WTC when the first plane hit. I couldn't get her on her cell. I watched the news – literally with a magnifying glass on her building. Updates were sketchy. The coverage bounced from NY to DC, and my heart bounced from my throat to my stomach.
More planes – more explosions. More cell shots – no score. Anxious? Are you kidding? I asked God to give me a new language, or at least a new vocabulary to pray, knowing that I had spent all the intense words on previous requests that now seemed petty. You know how theologically dufuss it is to Cut a Deal with God? Me too. So What?
I finally spoke to her at 2:45 PM and learned she was fine – had been evacuated from the dorm to the basement of another building and got out long enough to call. My wife and I collapsed.
My daughter stayed in the saddle 5 weeks but determined that it would take most of her college life to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. She transferred to the College of Charleston, graduated, and moved back to NYC for 2 years to finish the drill. She's in Atlanta now. We'll probably talk at 2:45.
>Am I the first New Yorker to post in the comments?
My office at the time was in midtown Manhattan, but I was part of a group of attorneys doing document review in NJ. My train went under the WTC pretty much moments before the first plane hit. I arrived at the NJ location to see people glued to a tiny t.v. that was black & white, and full of static. But we were just over the river and could see the towers out the floor-to-ceiling windows in the back of the NJ office. We kept on the radio, and the t.v., and we saw the towers collapse as we watched through the window.
My then-boyfriend-now-husband relayed messages between myself and my parents as we confirmed everyone was safe. NY-to-NY calls wouldn't go through (too many local cell phone towers down, I guess), but my husband was out of state, and we could call him.
One of the attorneys on site that day had a boyfriend in NJ, so we stayed at his place overnight. I wanted so badly to get back to the city, but even just across the river, it couldn't be done until the next morning.
My dad was already retired, but his company had an office on the 100th floor in the South Tower. Some of his friends got out. But he went to funerals for about 3 weeks straight.
There was an earthquake in Manhattan not too long after 9/11, and that vibration was the most horrifying thing I'd ever felt. And a few months later I saw a low-flying plane disappear behind the Prudential Center Tower in Boston, and I screamed.
For months after, whenever I had a formal lunch, I went downtown, because our office asked us to spend the company money in the WTC area whenever possible. Our company also donated office space to lawyers displaced from downtown.
I wasn't going to, but I think I'm going to have to post about this on my own blog today. Dang. I'll end this (long! sorry!) comment by saying that although there was much unity and love in the wake of 9/11, not everyone showed their best side after this crisis, and that I don't think there's any grand message to learn from it. People can be evil. Life can be short. And, we already knew that.
>I lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, right across the Hudson River from New York City. The World Trade Center was a ferry or train ride away and so an extended part of our neighborhood—people shopped there and worked there. It is in so many of our family photographs—kind of a lodestar. When we were driving home, we saw it in the distance and knew we were almost home. The hardest part of the day was taking my sons (11 and 15 at the time) to the waterfront, where we saw the pillar of smoke where the towers had been. We lost 57 people in Hoboken: friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. It still hurts. Every year, a beam of light shines from the Ground Zero straight to Heaven. I can see it from my backyard and I honor, remember, and pray for the people who died that day–and for their families. It did change a lot of people I knew—-they quit their meaningless jobs to do something to help people, and many other changes. I’m not certain how it changed me, except that I didn’t start writing seriously until after 9/11.
>I was a college student with a baby, waiting for my mom to come over and babysit so I could go to class.
I had the televition on, and I watched the second plane plow into the tower while I spooned Gerber's rice cereal into my baby's mouth. I had a desperate, crazy internal dialogue as the moments unfolded:
"I wouldn't have had a baby, if I thought this was how our country was going to be. I wouldn't have brought any more people into the world."
My husband had only left the military a few months before, and was recalled within hours. I was so terrified.
>My heart and prayers are with the families of lost ones.
>For a long time after 9/11 I could not write fiction. It seemed too frivolous after such a serious event. But I now realize that we often need fiction to make sense of life.
>Thank you for this post. It seems as years go by, the remembering gets less. Here in DC this year there are almost none of the memorializings we've had in the past.
I was in Austria at the time, one day away from coming home (I thought – although that turned into 4 days). While the Austrians were very sympathetic and nice, it struck me how easily and glibbly they went on with their lives… continued to eat and talk and laugh while the carnage played out on the TVs over the bars in restaurants.
But walking through the city, I passed through the Judenplatz, the Jewish area of the city, and the building, stories high, were draped in black cloth that made the entire square dark and in mourning.
That is the image I will remember.
>So many lives changed, and so many redeemed.
At age 47 at the time, I was a non-traditional college student, hanging with 18-year-olds most days. On 9/11, I was driving to school when the first plane struck. And when the second plane hit, I was still driving, only by that time, praying a LOT.
Classes were not cancelled. The history prof said, Mark my words. Nothing will ever be the same again. The sociology prof could not stop weeping, but she got through the class. I saw her later in the restroom, and asked about her situation. "My brother is high up in the military. He's told us before that if this type of thing ever happened, he'd go under cover and we wouldn't hear from him or know his location for perhaps years…." She was grieving for the loss of her brother, who had not died, but had gone missing nevertheless.
Later, at home, I called my oldest son, age 22, who lived in a town an hour away. "Scott, please come home for a few days, just until everyone gets their bearings…." He said, "I'm OK, Mom, really. The cell phones are working here. Don't worry…."
The my daughter called me. "Do you know where Scott is?" I said, "Sure, I just talked to him on his cell phone." Back then, when I called someone on a cell, I could picture him sitting on his couch. It still hadn't connected with me that they could be anywhere!
My daughter had heard it through a short grapevine of kids: Scott and his best friend, at the time I talked to him, were on the road from Kansas City to NYC to "help people."
They made it there. They wandered the streets at Ground Zero and tried to bring comfort to those in shock. I've never been prouder of my son.
>Standing with coworkers glaring at the TV in our office. Five month old fetus in my belly. Gorgeous cloudless crisp blue sky day. Calling my family dozens of times knowing full well no one lived in New York. Wondering if the attacks would go on for years. Seeing the wrinkled confusion and heavy burden in Katie Couric’s face as she expressed news of each tragedy. Leaving work early to go be with my husband. Crying. Not hearing or noticing an airplane in the sky for days following. Wondering what the world would be like for the baby unaware, playing octopus inside my womb. Crying.
>My husband and I were missionaries in Uganda on 9/11. He had just flown back to the States for meetings 12 hours before the towers were hit. My kids and I spent a week reading the papers and trying to figure out exactly what happened (early news reported that the Pentagon had been completely destroyed) and wondering if and when my husband would be able to fly back to us again.
We had encountered some dangers on the field, but it was always a comfort to know that if we had to flee our area, we could always go back to the safety of the United States. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness when I realized that the safety and security of our homeland was no more.
>I was on the first flight out of Austin, TX, after 9/11. There were two Arabic-looking men on board, and the flight attendants seated the largest male passengers around them. I was directly behind one of these unfortunates, on the aisle, and they were without a doubt the most unhappy passengers I have ever seen.
Unfair profiling? Sure.
Was I willing to take part? Sure.
Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, maybe I should feel guilty for helping to arbitrarily assign blame to a couple of guys who were overwhelmingly likely to be total innocents, as much as I was…
Guess God'll have to answer that one.
>Our son was 13 and we had just started our home schooling day when a neighbor called and said, "turn on your TV!" School that day consisted of my son and I sitting and watching our world change.
I'll never forget it and neither will he. I hope and pray that the young people, now in their early 20's and in college, who witnessed this will go on to make positive, and probably difficult, changes in both our country and our world.
>I was at a friend's house and we were about to begin the first bible study for the fall season. A couple of ladies were running late so we sat and chatted. Then the last person arrived, dashed into the room where we sat and told us to turn on the television. Two women had husbands who were in business in New York. We prayed as they tried to make contact with them but of course the phones were all jammed and they couldn't get through. (They were both ok). We prayed and all went our separate ways. I watched tv all day and recall thinking it was surreal, like a movie, that it couldn't possibly be happening. But it was.
Oh, and the name of the Bible Study we were supposed to start? Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand.
>I think what most struck me was the aftermath. Everyone pitching in to help. The sense of "community" that was felt all across the nation. We didn't care for the piddly stuff for about two days, maybe a few more. Everyone went to church that next Sunday. Kay, maybe not EVERYONE… but churches were busting out of the seems.
I take that as a sign that we are a nation seeking for purpose, for answers. And I think for that brief time, we understood that WE the people didn't have those answers, and weren't the sole purpose.
>Thank you for the picture and the call to prayer. They were both touching to see.
>This tore at me. This date in history. A proud nation humbled and united under God. For a short period of time, We stopped asking that He be taken out of schools, neighborhoods and homes. We loved our neighbor and didn't take family or friends for granted.
But it was shortlived.
I sat in the truck with my new husband as we made our way to racquetball class. My mom called me on the phone and told me something was going on in New York.
I thought she was joking.
We got to the gym and walked in. The TVs all over the building were flashing the news. People stood around staring, workout towels around their necks, shock and disbelief fighting with sweat on their faces.
They canceled classes.
When the second one hit, I still didn't believe it.
It's too bad the truth hunts you out.
I pray for those families and friends, our fellow American's who were affected that day.
And I say thanks to the servicemen and women. We owe so much to them.
>I remember the sky here in Michigan that day: how clear and beautiful it was, and how the crickets sang that early morning. I stood on our deck, breathed the fresh scent, then went inside and turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit.
Later that morning, with the defensiveness only a mother can muster, I searched that sky for jets or bombs or something–thinking I would bring them down with my bare hands to save my children, then two and four.
Later that afternoon, I went outside to listen to a sky devoid of airplanes. The silence was uncanny.
Later still, I stood on the deck and cried–for America, New York, for those lost.
That night I was afraid to close my eyes and sleep, as if watching would keep us safe. Being afraid to sleep changes your perception of the world. Those changes last even when "safe" times return.
>Though I hadn't met my husband yet, so I didn't know it at the time, my father-in-law was working in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
The events of that day impacted me indirectly at the time, but it's very different for me now.
>How did 9/11 affect me? Whoa…OK, hang on…
I was getting ready to go to my teaching job. I had the TV on for the second hit, and my reaction was to very loudly take the Lord's name in vain.
How do you deal with a classroom full of sad and angry and scared young people? They look to you to make some sense of the senseless, and to be able to answer, "Why?"
I tried. I told them about the history of pan-Arabism, and the rise of terrorist organizations before and during Israel's War of Independence. Told them about Black September, and Hamas, and Munich, and Lockerbie.
Use enough words with enough confidence and anyone will feel better.
But the real answer was, and is, that there are monsters out there, and they don't go away when the lights come on and Mom and Dad walk into the room. These monsters are real, and the hurt they inflict has to be believed to truly be seen (to paraphrase Bono).
As for me…9/11, and the images of the ensuing wars triggered flashbacks from my past that made me turn to drugs, and to drink. I lost my marriage, and almost my life.
I turned to various Eastern Religions, to martial arts, and to keeping a loaded AK-47 with me through the night as I worked…I could only sleep in the hour after dawn, because my demons came at night.
But…something (or SomeOne?) happened. I kicked the chemicals, disposed of the AK, my wife gave me a second chance, and I became a Christian. Not all at once, and it's still a work in progress…but I stress the 'progress' part!
Maybe I'll write a book about it.
(I thought for awhile before posting this. Too personal! But it's a form of Witnessing, I guess, so, JC, this one's for You…)
It's my birthday today (funny how no-one forgets it now). I don't know why but I have to watch a program about 9/11 every year, just to remind myself how lucky I am I suppose. This year I watched one about 102 minutes in video recordings as people watched the nightmare unfold. Some were in their homes, some were on the street, some were across by the river. Still makes me cry, every time I hear that whoosh as the first tower goes down.
On my wall I have a photo, taken from our national newspaper coverage, of a desk calender covered in dust, you know the block ones that you change yourself? It makes me sad that this one will never be changed again.
Tues 11 Sept. I feel a tear coming
Mel Stoke on Trent, England.