Friday, September 11, 2009

Shadows of 9/11 eight years later

Do you remember what you were doing eight years ago today? I remember clearly.

At that time I wrote everything long hand and then typed my work into the computer. I sat in my recliner with my pen and tablet. I had retired from teaching in July and was still pretty much house bound because of my health.

The phone rang. When I answered, my son Randy, usually so unflappable, yelled, with tears in his voice, "Do you have the TV on? Turn it on."

I grabbed my remote control and punched the power button. What met my eyes shocked me. The network replayed the plane plowing into the first tower before going back live to show the bellowing black smoke. Seconds later, the second plane hit the remaining tower. My son and I sat and watched and cried, physically miles apart but emotionally together. We shared our fears when we watched the damage caused to the Pentagon.

When the account of the plane crashing in Pennsylvania, due to the courage of passengers willing to give their lives to avoid the terrorists hitting another target, we both felt a deep sorrow and loss because of the people on that plane, but a sense of pride in them, too. Their bravery left a different kind of mark on history.

The memories of horror, terror, and outrage, a pain so severe that I could feel it physically pierce me left scars that will never disappear. I don't know how anyone could forget how vulnerable we were at that time, how easily terrorists could attacked us and destroy our sense of safety. They shows us that idea we were safe was an illusion.

I pray for those intimately effected by the events of eight years ago. I also hope and pray that we are never in that position again. I hope and pray ...

The ground where Flight 93 crashed has healed;the Pentagon's damage rebuilt; the remains of the Twin Towers, removed. However, the shadows still loom over our country and always will.

Let us never forget, and may we always remember the lesson learned.

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)



LK Hunsaker said...

I was 15 miles from the Pentagon with my child in school 7 miles from it. My husband was supposed to be on a military flight home that day. Needless to say, that didn't happen but at least he was able to call that night and say he was safe.

I have personal photos in my blog. I'll be 95 years old (God willing) and will not forget that day.

Helen said...

Like you, I was at home. I had the TV on and sat glued to the TV all day. In shock. Going back to that day, I can still feel the pain in my stomach when I think about the people in the buildings and in the planes. So, so, awful.

Straight From Hel

Katie Hines said...

Poignant post. Thanks. I remember 9/11/2001 very well, too.

Aidana WillowRaven said...

I think I will write about that day too. Like you, I remember that day so clearly. Odd. I knew no one from either locale, but it still felt so surreal.

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

I live about 30 minutes by car and about 20 minutes by train from the Twin Towers area. I was watching the news, crying and praying my daughter, who worked in Manhattan at the time, would get home safely. My husband, who worked nights and about a block from the Twin Towers had just gotten home when it happened.

Not being able to contact loved ones by phone was unnerving. One of the most terrifying days in my life.

We should never forget what happened! All those lives lost...


Vivian Zabel said...

I noted on Facebook that I don't understand the people who want everyone to forget 9/11 happened, to act as if it never did.

Of course some folks send out propaganda that the holocaust didn't, either.

But I can't forget. Much as we wish we could, we really can't rewrite history except in words. We cannot change what actually happened, only learn from the past so that we don't make the same mistakes again. Hmm ... guess we aren't learning, are we.

Karen Walker said...

Yes, I remember that day. I'd just brought my Dad home with me to live because he was ill and my Mom had died on August 9. He was watching TV in his room, I was in the living room and I went into shock. Dad was too out of it to comprehend what was happening. I remember thinking that was a blessing.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I'm curious as to what "lessons" were learned.

For me, there were a few:

- Out of horrendous disasters can come shining moments of kindness and compassion that surpass national, cultural, racial, and ethnic boundaries.

- We should smile at strangers, say hello, and ask, more often than we do, "Are you okay?" We shouldn't wait for disaster to bring out our better nature.

- Any "lessons" terrorists would teach with their actions are not the ones that they intend to teach; such attacks do NOT turn world opinion in their favor.

- Holding grudges is pointless.

- Living in fear is not living.

- We must defend our rights and our cherished freedoms from OURSELVES, sometimes. Fear can make us forget how important they are, and that others were willing to DIE that we might live free and confident and reasonably fearless.

- Silence and a sky without planes flying overhead is eerie. We don't realize just how used to them we've grown, until they're not there.

- Ordinary people can be amazingly heroic. Or amazingly stupid and petty. This doesn't change, due to disaster - but disaster casts these traits in a sharper light.

- Our allies don't cease being our allies, our friends don't cease being our friends, merely because they disagree with us, give us constructive criticism, and refuse to support us when they believe we are dead wrong.

I don't know about you, but the TERRORISTS who committed these atrocities did not teach any lessons worth learning. Whatever awareness they wanted to bring of injustice and inequity in the world were lost in the condemnation of these acts worldwide, as they ought to have been.

oximoron said...

I chose in my blog the same photo from the thousends of all.

R.I.P. all!
I always remember the day 9/11.2001.

Vivian Zabel said...

Holly, the lessons I hoped were learned were the lessons the terrorists should have learned, the lessons that people who want to erase 9/11 should learn (the ones who want to rewrite history to erase 9/11 or the holocaust or any other disaster).

We (universal we)learned, too, that we (U.S.) can take a huge, drastic hit and keep going, that we are a kind and giving people, all the points you made above.

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your memories and thoughts

Sheila Deeth said...

I was driving to work.

Cheryl said...

I wrote a bit about this at my blog today, but our first daughter was exactly a month old that day and I was home with her. I rarely watch TV, so when the hubby called and asked me to tell him what was going on, I had no idea what he was talking about.

At that time, the second tower hadn't been hit yet nor had the announcement of the Pentagon been made. Reporters still assumed it was an accident. As we soon discovered, it was definitely no accident.

By the time I heard about the fire at the Pentagon, I called my hubby back and I said, "Oh my God, we're at war!"

It was a tough day, as both the company I worked for and the one my sister worked for had offices in the WTC. My brother-in-law was supposed to be at the WTC that morning for a meeting, and at the last minute the location was changed to an office in CT.

For days afterward, the silence in the sky was deafening. It was like even the birds knew something happened. What a great sound it was when flights resumed and we could hear planes overhead again.


Chelle Cordero said...

I had been up late the night before working on a deadline so I was still asleep when my sister called to let me know a plane had crashed into one of the towers. I quickly ran into the living room to turn on the TV and watched the actual footage of the 2nd plane and all of the info about the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.

Since it was his day off my husband was also wakened with me – he had worked a financial show (AV Tech) at 7 WTC on the 10th and was scheduled to go back on the 12th.

I have been counting my blessings since.

The phone didn’t stop after that – a paramedic friend who was racing in a rig to the scene called to ask me to cancel an Ambulance Corps Youth Squad mtg – my kids called frantically needing to know the where about's of their dad because of his previous engagement – we checked with other family downtown to ensure their safety…

Then I spent the next 40 hours at my local ambulance corps (40 mi NW of NYC) treating walk-ins who were having emotional reactions & helping to support some local families who were directly affected. My husband was one of our members who went down in an ambulance to help with rescue efforts in the immediate hours afterward.

The images are still clear from that day.

Breien in Lansingerland said...

Oh yes, I know. I had brought my children to the swimming pool for their swimming lessons. Had to pick up something from a hardware store, they had the tv on and that is where I saw the reruns of the planes crashing into the Twin towers.

But now my mind is somewhere father passed away on the 4th...and to quote Johnny Seay: Now I guess it's time to cry...

Vivian Zabel said...

Thanks for sharing your memories.

Bianca, please accept my condolences. Losing a loved one is always so difficult. ((hugs))

Cindy Bartolotta said...

I work for a financial corporation
in Pittsburgh and at the time was a phone operator there. We worked in a closed room with no background noise, including radio. All conversations were to be kept to a minimum. One by one, we received calls from the outside asking if we knew what happened. The boss pulled up footage on her PC--we weren't permitted to surf the net. Eventually, the 'powers that be' sent emails informing us what happened. A dept of the corp. worked in one of the towers. We found out everyone was OK. But, we were sent home early. I was on my last outgoing bus. Often wondered how I would have gotten home otherwise...
Cindy Bartolotta

Vivian Zabel said...

What remarkable stories. I appreciate everyone who shared his/her memory of that day.

Deb Hockenberry said...

I'd like to share my memory even if it is pretty ordinary. I was getting ready for a doctor appointment that morning. I was only partially paying attention to the news & concentrating on getting ready to leave. I did see the first plane crash but that's all I thought it was...a plane crash. It wasn't until I arrived at the doctor's office that I learned we were under attack. Then the news came over the TV in the waiting room that a plane went down in Shanksville, PA. I remember thinking that it's too close! Shanksville isn't to far from me.

Jena Isle said...

The world stood still on that day. We watched horrified and unbelieving that the US of A was being attacked in the homefront.

I cried too when I saw the helpless victims of the senseless carnage.

Although I am not an American, I can feel the sadness, outrage and indignation for such a cowardly act.