Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Remember ...

I remember ... the sadness of hearing that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. What a terrible accident.

I remember ... the shock when the news announced that another plane had crashed into the other WTC and realizing it was no accident.

I remember ... feeling numb when the announcement was made that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.

I remember ... as the first tower fell a coworker whispered, "What about all those emergency people who are still inside?"

I remember ... hearing that a fourth plane had gone down in Pennsylvania--perhaps brought down by its passengers--and I felt a surge of pride for the people inside who'd realized what was planned for them and that they'd decided to take their destiny into their own hands.

I remember ... watching the second tower fall. How much more could we take?

I remember ... crying all day and for a long time to come. I'm crying as I write this.

I weep for the innocents who were injured or died. For the people forced to choose between being consumed in the fire or leaping to certain death. For their families who still grieve them.

I cry for the children growing up who won't know a time before September 11th and have only experienced a world where people who don't even know them could harbor such hate that they would strike out to maim and kill them, where their supporters could cheer and dance in the streets at the images of death and carnage.

I grieve that mankind cannot seem to be better, that we don't live long enough to learn from our mistakes, to see what's really important in life.

Yet, the fact that the events of that day in 2001 filled--and continues to fill--the hearts of so many people with horror gives me hope.

A noble heart cannot suspect in others the pettiness and malice that it has never felt.
~Jean Racine

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to share their experiences from that day ten years ago.


  1. At the risk of making myself feel super young and everyone else super old...I had just started first grade when it happened. We watched it on the news briefly before I went to school, but I never wrapped my head around the concept until I was much older.

  2. McKenzie, I was a little older than you--I'd just started fourth grade. I remember I was out of school that day (we had a year-round schedule) and my mom pulled me and all my siblings into her bedroom. I didn't really know what the world trade center was, but I remember watching as the second plane hit. I thought my mom had accidentally left one of her 'grown up' movies on, and it wasn't until I saw the horrified look in her eyes that I realized it was real. I remember sitting on her bed for hours, even after my other siblings left, just staring at the TV screen and trying to understand why anyone would do something so horrible. And I remember my parents holding us close that night and praying together as a family for the families of those who had died. I will never, ever forget that day.

  3. I was in high school when it happened.

    It started off as a whisper in the hallway--a friend rushing up, eyes wide, asking, "Did you hear?"

    We made our way to class, where everyone had gathered around the TV. I don't think anyone really grasped the implications at first. We just sat there, numb and staring, trying to make sense of what had happened.

    What was still happening.

    I remember how surreal it all felt. Some people were crying, others lost in unblinking denial. We grieved that day. I think we're all still grieving, but you're right.

    There's still hope.

    May God bless the victims' families, our nation's heroes, and everyone involved. Thank you for sharing this tribute with us, Donna.

  4. I remember placing flowers on my husband's grave it was the third anniversary of his passing when someone told me what was happening in the US.
    I remember visiting Ground Zero whilst I was in New York in May this year and the atmosphere around me as the silence of all there was deafening. I felt so humble .


  5. Thank you, Donna, for a very touching post. I am surprised at how emotional I *still* get when I really think about that terrible, terrible day.

  6. i cant believe it's been ten years. i was at home with my babies and got a call to put on the news. it didnt seem real. it didnt seem possible.

    thank you for your tribute!
    wish we could do more than give money.

  7. I was just working last night on my September 11th post for Monday, and like you, cried the whole time writing it.

    It was an entire lifetime ago for my children, who are 11 and 14, and seemingly just a moment ago for us adults.

    I think we all knew, when the Towers fell, that our lives were changing forever, right?

  8. Donna, I used to live in NYC and I still feel the loss every time I see the new skyline. I remember going to the WTC and seeing just how amazingly tall they were. They were surrounded by 30-something-story buildings which, normally, would be impressive, but next to the giant towers they looked small. I remember seeing the news and wondering about my friends, that was the worst part. Thanks for this tribute.

  9. It was a day that forever changed our nation. We are still feeling the effects of that day.

    Not a lot of work got done that day because everyone kept calling their families and watching the TV in the waiting area. I had a friend working in DC at the time and my uncle was doing contract work at the Pentagon. I couldn't get a hold of either one until late that evening. So glad each of them were safe that day.

    My husband is a medic and we family members deal with that uncertainty every time they leave for a shift. NYC emergency personnel are a separate breed and I'm glad they are. I'll always remember the attacks, just like I'll always remember when the Shuttle exploded.

  10. I think the people who brought down that flight over Pennsylvania will stand for my whole life as the bravest people I've ever heard of. It amazes me every time I think of it.

  11. Donna ~
    You have touched on such a powerful subject in your post, naming the emotions and lasting impressions so well.

    I was at home, having shortly before gotten my children off to school. We were living in Newport News, VA, at the time. My neighbor called - telling me that a tragic accident had happened in NYC. I turned on the television, as you, wondering what had happened to make that plane crash. Soon after, as another plane slammed into the towers, we knew. The realization was terrible. As the wife of a former Navy man and the mother of a Navy offspring - thank you for reminding everyone of why we need our military. I want them home now, greatly. But I want them ready to protect/serve/defend. To all NYC's finest. Thank you. ~ Nadja

  12. I remember arriving at the high school I taught at to find a group of teachers standing around a TV in the faculty room. The feelings of shock created a silence that was eerie. It was a day when little was accomplished because our hearts and minds were anxious for news.

    On the other hand, I had the most wonderful conversations with my students following the attacks. We shared a unified feeling of pride in our country, including some who were not citizens yet. The willingness to observe a moment of silence for days afterwards was remarkable. Everyone was unified.

  13. I especially appreciated the comments of those who were so young when this happened. I woke up that morning and it was my daughter's 7th birthday. We had our traditional birthday party in bed and ice cream for breakfast then I sent them all off to school. I had hoped her day would be so fabulous.

    Some friends of mine pulled together about 25 sack lunches that morning while we watched the news and cried together. We delivered them to the Red Cross blood donating center where people stood in line all day to donate blood. It was our little way of keeping our hands busy.

    I took treats to my daughter's class at the end of the school day and everyone was so somber, even being that young. We did everything that day to make sure we kept her day special and not spoiled too much by the nation's tragedy. She went to bed that night and told me it was her best birthday ever. What a relief that she could see past my tears and my television being on the news all day.

    I am so sad that that day has to conjur up so many sad images in our minds, especially on my daughter's birthday, every single year. I'm grateful for the hope and the unification that our country felt. The way everyone wanted to chip in and help. There was a great sense of pride in our country and that is what we try to focus on in our home. Thanks for the post.

  14. It was watching when the second plane hit the towers. I don't think any of us will ever forget that day.

  15. I still remember the feeling of shock and disbelief when I turned on my hotel tv to see the first tower crumble. . . and then the second one.

  16. I went to work early that day. The school I worked at was just a couple of blocks away. When I got there the office staff was huddled around a tv. The newsreporters were talking about an accident--a plane slammed into a tower at the World Trade Center. While we listened the second plane hit. We were stunned. It wasn't an accident. We watched the coverage showing the firefighters and police officers moving to the area and into the buildings, then they fell and the dusty cloud swallowed the city.
    Intense sorrow.

  17. A friend and I were visiting another friend, and we sat in her living room and watched the towers collapse. We said to each other, "Who hates us this much?" When I got home I put out our flag, and soon flags were popping out on porches all over town. I couldn't function, could only stay glued to the TV to get the latest information. I knew I was watching history unfold, and I didn't want to miss it. At the same time, my heart was heavy and sick for the changed lives, the individual tragedies of each person and family involved. And America has never been the same.

  18. A beautiful tribute Donna and I remember hearing about the first plane and thinking it must be like a tiny Cessna or something and on my way to work I heard some more about it but also on the radio. I didn't see any pictures until I got to work and saw what a horrific thing had happened.

  19. I was watching Rolie Polie Olie while my one-year-old twins were in their highchairs having breakfast.

    My husband was supposed to have traveled to Boston that week, and my sister called from Nova Scotia to see if he was okay--thinking he might have been en route, that he could be in danger. Because I'd had the cartoons on, I hadn't even heard of the news.

    After that, I stood in stunned silence and watched, my very-safe-and-still-at-home husband by my side, as the second plane flew into the tower.

    I will never forget.

  20. I had just dropped one of my kids off at preschool. I went to get gas with my then 2 year old. We were going shopping for fall decorations. In broken English, the attendant in the booth was very excited - waving his arms, a panicked look on his face. "A plane - hit a big building - in New York." I immediately thought, "What an awful accident," but had no real idea about what had happened.

    As we drove, I turned on the radio. I heard the 2nd plane hit and remember a terrible sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    Later at home, I sat in the front of the TV all day - trying to shield the TV from little ones, trying to explain to my oldest who was 7 at the time why mom was crying, watching the Towers crumble to the ground, watching in horror as the Pentagon got hit, then Shanksville. Because 2 planes left from Logan, Boston, my favorite city in the world, this felt personal. That and the awful news that hundreds of emergency responders were killed - someone very dear to me is a firefighter.

    "How could this be happening?" was the question that haunted me all day. I will never forget.

  21. Dear Donna,

    Thank you for taking the time to view and follow my blog, and to comment!! I am so appreciative. I knew I wanted to follow your blog, once I read through some of your posts and saw what a relevant, poignant writer you are ~ including today's post. What a dark day, indeed, which only mirrors so many of the thousands of atrocities that occur every day in the lives of our brothers and sisters, around the world. Tragedy, death and difficult to process in our minds. Thank you for this post...and I look forward to reading your future thoughts and writings! Much love ~ alice

  22. I remember when all those horrible things happened too. I was at work at the a pretty tall building. The hush that followed was collosal. I've yet to understand the cruelness that can push a group of individuals to destroy without the slightest bit of regret.

  23. Everyone has a story to tell, where they were when it happened, what they were doing, how it affected them personally, but I think there is just one message that we should all carry with us forever:

    Never forget.


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