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no ordinary day

[When you are done reading this, please go here]

As we make our slow crawl towards September 11, 2003 and the second anniversary of that day, I can't help but notice that the media has decided to move on.

With the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks only three weeks away, TV networks have planned nearly no special programming to commemorate the horrible events of that day.

In New York, many of the Sept. 11-related events will be private and attended only by the families of the victims.

Instead of breaking into regular programming, the major broadcasters will cover the day in their regular newscasts.

nom.jpgI felt a small fist of fury take hold of my heart when I read that. The fury is mingled with sadness and fear and that strong voice that has resided in my head for almost two years now keeps repeating: We Must Not Forget.

We do not need another slo-motion replay of those enormous blades of steel crashing into the World Trade Center, for that image is surely burned on the retinas of every single person who was witness, whether physically or through the television.

We do not have to play a repeat of that day's events in order to commemerate the lives lost and the lives ruined. There are so many other things that could be said and most important of those things is how we are rebuilding; our lives, our spirits, America. We can do nothing worse than to make our enemies think that 9/11 has become an afterthought and two years later we are complacent and forgetful and perhaps we need another wake up call.

No, we should be showing progress while still paying tribute to those left behind. The coverage of 9/11/03 should show the babies of the widows of 9/11, carrying on the spirit and personalities of their fathers. It should show the plans for the rebirth of the site of the World Trade Center, the gardens that will spring to life there, the entries for the memorial design contest.

There should be investigative pieces on how far we've come in the War on Terror, all the terrorists who had their hands in that day who have been captured, all the cells that have been broken up. There should be a big reminder flashing across the screen at one point that there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since that day.

How are the firemen who walked out of the burning rubble coping? What about the people who made it down the stairwell and out into the open air and safety? Yes, there should be images of that day shown, perhaps a short montage just to jar our memories and wake whatever fight that was in our souls that has since gone to sleep.

I want to remember. I never want to lose that memory of the smoky sky above Manhattan that I viewed from my office window. I want to remember Pete Ganci's wake and the sharpshooters atop my neighbor's house during the memorial service for Claude Richards, I want to remember the haunted look in my firefighter cousin's eyes and the look of despair on my father's face. I want to remember the chilling feeling of looking at a sky free of jumbo jets for days on end and the quiet, the unnerving quiet, that made those days after so surreal and chilling. I need to remember these things because to forget would be to spit in the face of every single person who died that day.

Relive those events, if only for a moment. There are a million places to look in case you have forgotten, in case you turn on your television on September 11, 2003, hoping for something to help you remember that day, to live through it again just to not forget.

We cannot move on because we are still there. There are 12,000 body parts yet to be identified. There are people still in mourning, people who will never, ever get over seeing their loved one's name on this list. There are still people who want us dead, animals who would stop at nothing to see that the events of 9/11 are repeated, maybe somewhere else. Maybe your own backyard this time.

What does it say about our country when the protesters and conspiracy theorists will mark the day with more of an effort than the mainstream media is? When activists who want to put salt in our wounds and rip open our scars are commemorating that day (albeit in a disgusting way) more than our own media, who will be continuing on with soap operas and Jerry Springer as if this was just another day?

I will never forget. And I will do my best to make sure no one else does either because, obviously, the media has decided to just blow this day off in favor of ratings and advertising dollars.

For starters, you can go here and read the personal accounts I collected one year ago, for a project alled No Ordinary Day. There are more here. They will break your heart, they will make you cry and most of all, they will make you remember. Which you damn well better do.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference no ordinary day:

» Never. from Inoperable Terran
The media wants us to forget 9/11. Michele has other ideas.... [Read More]

» Remembrance - what should we do now? from aimless
A small victory is the place to go today for an excellent writeup on what the networks should do with coverage of 9/11, and a link to a collection of personal experiences sent in by readers about where they were... [Read More]

» Take a day to reflect from Tiger: Raggin' & Rantin'
michele, in her ever eloquent way, says that despite the media not planning anything grandiose to display on the day, September 11th will be a day to remember all who were and are still affected by the occurrences on that... [Read More]

» 9/11/2003 - A Day Like Any Other from Beaker's Corner
The media has decided to treat the second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as just another day. In other [Read More]

» QUOTE OF THE DAY from Heretical Ideas
"I want to remember. I never want to lose that memory of the smoky sky above Manhattan that I viewed from my office window. I want to remember Pete Ganci's wake and the sharpshooters atop my neighbor's house during the... [Read More]

» But before I go... from Sheila Astray's Redheaded Ramblings
I agree wholeheartedly with Rachel Lucas. I am absolutely appalled that the media has no plans to commemorate September 11, and I also ask: What the hell is WRONG with people? Every year the death of Princess Diana is commemorated... [Read More]

» compASSion HOLES, Revisited from PhotoDude's Web Log
As the second anniversary of September 11 approaches, we find ourselves a lot less united than we were 23 months ago. Even on the issue of what's appropriate for that day. [Read More]

» Remerbering the dead from kfx
the little dead girl at "a small victory" writes "I want to remember. I never want to lose that memory of the smoky sky above Manhattan that I viewed from my office window. " [Read More]

» Voices from 9/11 from cut on the bias
In two weeks we will commemorate the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and Washington, DC, and... [Read More]

» A Lone Idiot With a Keyboard from The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
LC Troll King reads stuff so that we won't have to, but occasionally a bucket of bile as cosmically ignorant... [Read More]

» Another Blogging Day Off to a Slow Start from blogoSFERICS
I think I used up my energy yesterday with the post about the Alabama Ten Commandments case. Let's face it... [Read More]

» i have always loved michele from Rachel Lucas
Because she does things with her blog. She created TroopTrax and raised over $2,000 to send music to the guys [Read More]

This time of year will forever be the time of year when we start remembering September 11, reflect, contemplate or do anything else that somehow relates to that day. The mainstream media have apparently decided to not pay any special [Read More]

» Port Authority Transcripts from Bloggie Broad
The Port Authority transcripts from... [Read More]

» Sleep versus Memory from American Digest
From the New York Post: NEW YORK — With the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks only three weeks away, TV networks have planned nearly no special programming to commemorate the horrible events of that day. From A Small Victory: no ordinary day I... [Read More]

» your voice from ASV : Photoblog
Introduction to Voices [Read More]

» Debridement from BeldarBlog
We aren't yet in the process of genuine healing from 9/11, we're still undergoing debridement of those wounds. Forgetting is not acceptable. It's the job of all media to help us remember. [Read More]

» My 9/11 Story from CandyUniverse
On 9/11 I was in Atlanta with some of my co-workers on a business trip to attend Networld/Interop. We had gotten a late start and were sitting in the hotel dining room eating breakfast when my cell phone rang.... [Read More]

» Have you found Mommy yet? from Sivad's SoapBox
Those words hit me like a punch in the stomach. [Read More]


I'm going to do my part... just so you know there'll be one member of the media who hasn't forgotten and isn't trying to help others forget.

When is 9/11 going to become a holiday? Like Memorial Day or Veterens Day? I'll give up Labor Day for it.

I"m with you 100% on this. Hopefully at least us bloggers will pick up where our sorry ass media falls short! Thanks for all you do on your site.

I am all in favor of doing everything we can to not forget but I don't think it should be a holiday like labor day.
It should be like Pearl Harbor day, forever embedded in our calendar but a day we go on and do all the things that make and continue to make this country great.

That was a beautiful post. We can all take heart in the fact that there's a B-1B out there named "Let's Roll".

It may be a bit harsh, but I think we need to see it again. To see the buildings falling To see the horror. Because to many, out of sight is out of mind

And I think we need to see something else. Newsfeeds from then of the repulsive celebrations that occurred--and then intersperse them with the celebrations from 2002 and the ones that will be going on on the day.

There are muslims who will be celebrating--some right in New York--not 'fringes', not 'islamists' or 'islamofascists', muslims. We must not forget that.

There will be the usual lefty retards celebrating the day America got it's comeuppance, dancing in the blood that was shed that day and the blood that 'militants' continue to shed now. We must not forget that.

We must get mad. Madder that the media has decided that this horror merits no remembrance. Mad even that so many want to focus on 'healing', on 'surviving' as if this was some sort of natural disaster and not a wanton act of premeditated terror

When we say 'Remember Pearl Harbor' we are not just reminiscing about the dead, we are claiming the fortitude that we aquired after that attack to win WW2.

Remember the WTC. Remember 9/11. Grab the unity and sense of purpose we felt after the attack. Grab the righteous anger that we felt as we realized who had done this to us. Stay strong. Stay awake. Never forget

Ummm...I'm with Jack. To put it bluntly, we need our faces re-rubbed in the shit. We seem to have forgotten how badly it stinks.

I won't forget, ever. I won't forget the dead, or the heroes, or the human scum that did this to us. And I certainly won't forget seeing the jubilation in the streets in the muslim world.

All those mainstream muslims. Dancing in the streets and declaring a holiday. That's what we need to see, over and over again.

A beautiful post. It sure seems that these days people have the attention span of the average garden slug.

To make this all about me for a moment.

My last drunk was Sept. 10, 1988, a night I now remember but rather wouldn't. Thus Sept. 11 was my first full day of sobriety and has lasted through the present 24 hours. As my sobriety anniversary, Sept. 11 has always been a personal holiday for me and a day to which I do an annual countdown.

I recall the rocky landing toward Sept. 11, 1989, in which my sponsor and a lot of others doubted I'd make it (apparently a lot of people slip right before one year ... and I resisted a lot of the AA program and was told by too many people that if I didn't think the way they did I'd slip; one friend later said, "I've never seen anyone use spite as a higher power before.")

And I remember Sept. 11, 1993, during the long dry season in Central Africa, when I shared with a new friend in the Peace Corps that I'd made five years.

And getting coffee the morning of Sept. 11, 1998 at a convenience store in Philadelphia on the way to a job I loved, and recognizing the woman behind the counter from AA, and whispering, tears welling in my eyes from gratitude, that I'd made 10 years and glad I could tell someone.

I don't want to talk about my 13th sobriety anniversary, except to say I was on a business trip and that on Sept. 12, a couple of punks on the Atlanta subway moved away from me. This year, it's a countdown to my 15th.

This isn't about me, of course. Sept. 11 is the birthday of one in 365 people on the planet (16.5 million people), a significant number of wedding anniversaries, a day people mark that they fell in love, or broke up, and yes, sobriety anniversaries and other personal milestones.

All that is overshadowed -- rightly -- by the horror of Sept. 11, 2001. I'm not sure why I bring this up except to say that Sept. 11 can be also be a day that we can express our simple gratitude at being alive.

Well said Troll King.

Last Christmas, my wife gave me a book I had wanted very much, Here is New York; A Democracy of Photographs. After unwrapping it, I leafed through a couple of pages ... and then shut it. I haven't touched it since. As much as I'd wanted that book, something inside me said, "save it."

Maybe it was a wise subconsious decision, because on September 11, I'll be mostly tuning out the media. I've got a book of nearly a thousand photos, by hundreds of people (from pro shooters to Brooklyn Grandma's), all of whom were so immediately touched by the horror that they were moved to try and capture the history they witnessed. For me, there is nothing more pure.

Certainly not media "remembrances" disgorged by dithered committees of suits. If you want to remember those lost in a meaningful way, don't rely on the media, yer gonna have to roll your own.

All due fairness we have seem to move on from the first major terrorist act on U.S. soil which was the oklahoma city bombing. While obviously alot smaller in scale it was none the less as devistating to anyone who knew or lost a love one that day.

If were going to have a holiday for 9/11 lets make sure its a day other then 9/11 and let it reflect all those lost in sudden tragic events (pearl harbor, oklahoma city, 9/11, ect)


Thank you.

Sept. 11th is my wife's birthday. It's hard to celebrate when others mourn.

We also live in Seattle. As horrible as that day was, it was also so distant. I don't know anyone in New York, Philidelphia, or around the Pentagon. I don't know anyone who lost someone. It's still surreal to me...

But I remember when I first heard about it. I was thinking, "Why isn't the SportsRadio station talking sports?" As I listened, and began to understand, I couldn't wait to get to work, get to a TV or the internet and find out what in the world was going on.

A few weeks after Sept. 11th, our church made a collage of images and feelings from that day, a big piece of plywood with words and images to try and help us tangibly express our thoughts and feelings. That collage now hangs in our house, as a reminder for my wife and I what that day was like, and what it means aside from a birthday.

I'm not sure what all I just said, or if it made much sense...just needed to express something, I guess.

I have three video clips I saved from the days after 9/11/01: the first and second planes to hitting the WTC, and the Palestinians celebrating.

I watch them occasionally, whenever I feel the urge to sympathize with the Palestinians, or worry that we're focusing too much on the War on Terror. They help keep things in perspective, and remind me of who our enemies are, and what they are capable of.

I seem to remember that one of Misha's LC's wanted to organize a commemoration of 9/11 in the Blogosphere. I was in the chat room last night and no one seemed to know who it was. So, even though I don't have a 'blog, I do have over 30 URL's related to 9/11: flash, music, stories, and resources from various sources, which I will gladly contribute.
As the day grows closer, I will find and save more.
My other eMail is fdisalle@hotmail.com

I cannot believe what kfx is saying here: http://kfx.toastmedia.com/archives/00000037.htm#comments

I'm in shock. I actually swore in a comment there.

Thankfully, we do have a day set aside for remembering all Americans killed for their country: Memorial Day.

You are right on the money Michelle.

Last time I checked Memorial Day was for war casualities not civilian ones...

We won't forget, just like we've never forgotten Pearl Harbor or the Titanic tragedy or any other large and awful event in the nation's history. But none of these other events gets an entire day set aside to do nothing but dwell on them, so why should 9/11? I mean, it's impossible to forget events such as these, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't move on with our lives, that doesn't mean that we must continually drop what we're doing to dredge it all up again for an entire day. The media isn't covering 9/11 all day this year because it's not big news -- it's an anniversary of an important date, sure, and like Dec. 7, it'll get mentioned on all of the newscasts, but it's an anniversary, not breaking news. We don't drop everything on Dec. 7 and watch continuous coverage of Pearl Harbor being attacked, after all. Sometimes, you just have to pause, remember, then go on with life.

Well over 2,000 people will be remembered forever and memorialized as victems of the worst terrorist act committed on United States soil. But the 30,000 Afghani souls killed in our violent veangence for that day will not be remembered. Most of those 30,000 probably were guilty of no more than ill will against a foreign power purging their lands.

I would give my life if an invader came to murder my country. Are these people so guilty? I would and could not sully the memory of those 2,000+ people who died on 9/11, but as a country we have lost relatively little compared to the pain we have caused. Personally, I know the dead Afghani's just as well as I know the dead Americans. If you had a personal relationship with 9/11 victims, then you would be with the greiving families who did memoralize 9/11 at the site. My mother was there herself.

It seems to me our national pride is getting in th way of our logical thinking. Sorry the TV networks didnt stop for a day to cover 9/11 anniversary, but those people wont be forgotten. I would rather memoralize those who surely will be.

hold your memorabillia close its been 2 years, you must like the pain and sorrow to want to make such a big deal out of it. dont get me wrong im not against remembering the dead but its been two years why showboat it all over your media? is it a moral booster for the falsity of your government? sense of patriotism? ive read what kfx wrote and what you have written; is name calling really how you want to remember the dead and show your american loyalty?

I pre-empted myself on this issue a couple of weeks ago: "I probably won't have any special speech, memorial, or misdirected rants to commemorate the second anniversary of 9/11. Even typing my rememberances (as somebody safely in Austin who didn't know anyone who lives in New York, much less anyone hurt or killed in the attack) is an empty, pithy exercise. All I can hope is that the Independent 9/11 Commission gets the funding and cooperation it needs, and that it produces a report acceptable not to the pundits or the blogosphere, but to those people whose lives were directly affected by the tragedies."

Also to add: the networks half-assing a commemoration is worse than no commemoration at all. Everyone should take the second half of your and Rachel's advice, search out your own meaning and memorials, and for every else--- don't let anyone do the remembering for you.

September 11 used to be my birthday. I say "used to be" because, as someone said above, I don't feel much like celebrating.

I'm originally from New Jersey and now live in DC, so neighbors in both my homes were attacked. Many of the towns in Jersey where I grew up and lived in as an adult had devastating losses, and there is a palpable sense of terrible, quiet sadness whenever I visit. It's not the same.

Here in DC, I work as a contractor to the Navy, and last year the office wanted to take me to lunch for my birthday - ON my birthday. I was awfully uncomfortable with the idea, as many of the people I work with had been at the Pentagon on 9/11/01 and had otherwise put themselves in peril in defense of the nation, which I certainly can't claim for myself. When I epxressed my discomfort, a compromise was made: instead of convening at a Chili's or something, we all met up in a nearby park and made it a day for everyone. Many co-workers came directly from the Pentagon memorial service to be there, all in their dress whites and glad to be a part of the event. I was touched and mystified, but then someone explained that it is a very military thing to pause and remember, and then to continue on with the mission - in this case, life.

As much as I will never forget 9/11/01, I will take the lesson I learned a year later to heart just as fiercely.

I for one will be boycotting all TV on 9/11. They don't have the _______ (fill in right term here...I can't seem to think of one) to make 9/11 a priority, then I don't need to support them in turn.

Michele, you are so right on the money. Excellent blog.

Very powerful, very moving. The metaphor that I've blogged about for where we all are now is based on the semi-obscure medical term "debridement." (Ask a burn victim.) Thank you michelle.

I have put up a 9/11 memorial page on my site at http://www.jimlynch.com/911.htm You can watch some flash slideshows that were made right after 9/11 by various people. These slideshows contain photos of everything that happened that day.

They are very moving and will help us all remember what we lost that day. Please pass the URL on to anyone who wants to remember 9/11.

My memories of 9/11:

I live in DC, been here since 1989, but never really focused on what it meant to live in the nation's capital until that day. Most long-term DC residents, particularly those of us not intimately involved in the political machinations of the city, are blase about living in the same town as the federal government - it is just our home town industry. Rochester, NY has Kodak, Seattle (had) Boeing, we have Uncle Sam.

Until that day. It was so clear, so refreshing after the thunderstorms the night before (my boss almost ended up stranded in NYC because of them, she and her colleagues were even booked into the hotel at the WTC). It was so mundane I had dropped my car off at the dealer that morning, to repair a leaking tire. I had noticed it during my friend's wedding the Saturday before.

I got in a little late, and was just settling down when I noticed a lot of people going up from the 5th floor to the 6th, where my firm has its only TV, and someone told me a plane hit the WTC. Picturing an accident, I thought no more of it, and settled down to get some work done. Then a colleague stopped in and told me it was 2 planes, one in each tower, and we knew something was wrong.

The images seemed to be of another planet, and yet so real at the same time. It couldn't be happening, but it was. Even then, at 9:15, 9:20, 9:30, as Bush spoke, no one at my office (7 blocks from the White House) expressed any concerns about DC - this was happening in NYC.

After Bush spoke, the viewers started breaking up, drifting back toward our desks in what we knew would be a mostly unproductive day, but never considering anything further could happen - I mean, they hijacked 2 planes, any more would be impossible. That was at 9:38.

I did not hear or feel the jet hit the Pentagon (less than 2 miles away as the crow flies). Some of my co-workers did see and feel it, as all the windows on one side of our building "flexed" from the impact and the smoke plume was quickly visible. I knew the Pentagon was hit only because, at the exact moment I entered my office, my sister called from New Hampshire, where she was watching the Today show and had witnessed the impact first hand, as the NBC Pentagon correspondent stopped in the middle of a broadcast to tell the viewers that something had happened.

I ran back up to the TV, and met a co-worker coming down the stairs - she was sobbing, nearly incoherant, and another co-worker was leading her to her office, talking about calling for news. Her two children were at the Pentagon day care center (they and all the children turned out to be fine).

From then it was a blur of calls to New Hampshire (while the phones still worked) and reports of bombings at the State Department, at the White House, in the Metro system. No one knew what was going on, and the reports of a 4th hijacked plane only made things worse.

By 10:15 we were evacuating, a colleague offered a ride home (without the Metro, I was walking)and for the next 2 1/2 hours we sat in traffic, desperately trying to get home and get in contact with our loved ones. By 11 or so that morning we learned that there were no more hijacked planes - the worst was over.

Back then I lived just outside the city, in Silver Spring, right between Walter Reed Army hospital and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. I always knew there were government buildings all through DC, but it never bothered me until then. For the next two days, all I could hear were helicopters and jet planes overhead. Thursday we went back to work, and found armed National Guards and Hummers on the streets.

It seems pretty normal in DC these days, but I am always suspicious of abandoned cars, parked trucks, and lost backpacks on the train. I hate the window that sits between me and the street below - wondering how much time I would have if a truck exploded just outside my building. Since 9/11 there has not been one person who refuses to evacuate for a false fire alarm (someone is always burning popcorn in this building), and we have elaborate procedures for evacuating, getting home and getting back to work, if possible.

It is the same and different here I guess.

Late for work again, I was pulling into a parking space in the garage at work when Howard Stern (I rarely listen to him...but this day I did) announced, live, that he just watched a plane fly into the WTC across from his studio. I don't know where Howard's studio is, or if he has the view he described, but he said he saw it outside his own window with his own eyes. I thought it was, maybe, yet another crass Howard thing. I turned my car off, and went to the elevator to start my day.

I got off on my floor at the State Department (I was a contractor with them at the time), and went to work as usual...nothing abnormal...until a few minutes later, when everything suddently turned surreal. I don't remember how it was publicly announced at the office...that detail, and many others, escapes me. There were some announcements over the PA. We quickly flocked to the conference rooms (they have TV); janitors, secretaries,
senior management, contractors, everyone. I can't remember exactly how long we stared at the TV, scrambled around, and made telephone calls.
The phones started ringing from friends and family; nearly simultaneously, all of the phones just lit up. The second plane hit.

There were rumors that a truck had exploded outside our office. They were confirmed. Then they were denied. Confirmed? Denied. Confirmeddeniedconfirmeddenieddenieddenied. Each person I talked had different information. There were other rumors that a plane had been heading towards the Capitol, but "we" had shot it down. Those of us in the office weren't sure whether to believe these or not...they all seemed plausible on that day. We simply had no frame of reference from which to judge plausibility any more. Everything was possible; everything was absurd.

Each face was visibly concerned that the US Department of State might make a pretty good next target. We were stressed, yes, but impressively calm and lucid. No panic whatsoever. We would do what we needed to...because we didn't really have any good options. Believe it or not, many of us went back to our cubes during breaks in TV coverage and tried to get a little work done, or check emails. Someone from the conference room would yell out when something new was announced, and we'd all pour back around the TV.

Someone (I didn't know her) had a son at one of the Towers. She wept uncontrollably and was consoled by her coworkers as best they could. I hope he made it; I just don't know.

I called my wife at some point. I told her what I knew (I didn't know about the Pentagon yet), and I told her that I was sure we would be evacuated, and I told her to - RIGHT NOW, THIS INSTANT - get a quick change of clothes, get in the car, & drive to Baltimore; I'd meet up with her later. She had turned the TV on by then, and told me that the roads were jammed.

Again, I insisted that she go on to Baltimore; I'd try to meet up with her if I could. Now, we were both a bit nervous. She said she would do as I asked. It didn't really seem real. Movie script.

While preparing to evacuate, she heard fighter planes go over our Arlington apartment, shaking the whole building and scaring her into laying down on the floor between the bed and the wall with her hands over her head. She didn't know if those planes were "ours" or "theirs". She didn't know anything.

The commute from my apartment to the State Dept. job, with light traffic, was about 7 1/2 minutes. It took me over 5 hours to get home on 9/11. Maybe 7. A long, long time. I had planned to head out the GW Parkway to the Beltway to Baltimore, but I had to go home instead, because any road to anywhere BUT home appeared to be closed or jammed solid. Starting on that day - and to continue on for about a month - my fellow commuters and I were positively patient and considerate with one another. We waved and let each other into the lane in front of us. Very peculiar, that...in D.C. Don't get overly excited, however...it has since reverted back to the characteristically-aggressive mahem with which D.C. drivers are intimately familiar.

My wife slept in a Baltimore hotel that night; I slept in our Arlington apartment. We talked on the phone a lot. She told me she loved me, and she asked me to stay safe for her.

That was a very long night.

I was absolutely glued to the TV for the next 2 weeks or so. I was in denial; then I raged; then I cried. I'm not very political at all, but I went to a bunch of memorials and sit-ins and vigils for a while. I just had to...I was thoroughly compelled for the first time in my life. Later, I burned candles by the roadside to support the troops at the base next door. Right next door. They were going to the Middle East to fight for me. I made it a point to thank every serviceperson for their sacrifice. Believe me when I say, when you live outside of a military post gate, you have a lot of opportunities to thank people. And they didn't seem to think I was being cheesy; they seemed to understand and appreciate what I meant to say.

I broke down in tears out of the blue one day, and she asked me what was wrong. I told her what made me lose it...what made me fall apart right then. I told her that it had just sunken in; what would happen next, what was required of our country now. We would HAVE to go to war, and we would HAVE to kill a whole lot of innocents, and we would HAVE to torture people to extract vital information that would save the lives of my family and my friends and my neighbors. I cried, because I realized the horror that was released that day...I cried because I knew that our country had now been FORCED to become brutal against an enemy that hid in civilian clothing and pretended to be civilians. I cried harder than I ever remember crying before.

We had been tied into a Gordian knot of needing to become despicable and brutal in order to conquer a greater evil, and still - somehow - maintain some sort of moral high ground. Impossible.

What happened that day has nothing to do with foreign policy, or building schools and hospitals and mosques, or with negotiating more equitable relations with the Muslim street and culture. Of course we need to improve all of those things, but that is NOT what this was about.

We did NOT create this situation. But, and this is why I cried, we absolutely, positively, MUST respond to it.

If we do not, then I say we are a chickenshit country and culture who do not deserve the liberty and freedom that our family, neighbors, friends and ancestors died for. And I simply do not believe that for one instant.

You mess with my neighbors; you mess with me. You kill my friends; I need to have you dead. A brutal stance, maybe...not politically correct, perhaps....but this is WAYYYYY beyond time to negotiate. Whoever perpetrated this atrocity needs to be hunted down, captured, or killed. A big part of me prefers the "killed" option.

Whoever might be - right now - planning to attack our cities at a later time needs to be taken out before they can commit the crime. The rules have just.simply.changed. Some people need to be taken out of the picture now. We Americans didn't want, anticipate, or plan for this. This change is EXTERNALLY MANDATED. "THEY" did it (Of course, we need to accurately identify "they", don't we?)

Several weeks after 9/11, I was going down the Metro escalator, and I felt a palpable shiver. What if a terrorist put anthrax/smallpox/whatever down there? I shook it off & got on my train.

My last thought regarding this. The most extraordinary thing happened in the days immediately following 9/11. We all became Americans again. Every taxicab driver, from every imaginable country/culture/religion, had American flags prominently displayed. Every business was "proud to be an American". Not from fear, not to prevent looting or violence, but from solidarity. Soooo many people I saw at the 7-11 asked the Muslim clerk there; "Are you all right? Is anyone harassing you? Is your mosque safe?".

I will never forget. And shame on the networks for trying to let me forget.

September 11, 2001 started out bad. I had a friggin' training to go to for work. It was our tri-annual "rally the troops and get ready for accreditation" meeting for the employees of our social service agency. There were three sessions that day, and I picked the one at 9:00 am to get it out of the way. I got up at my usual time, got ready as usual, fed the barely-one-year-old baby, and made sure I ate a good breakfast since I was newly pregnant again. The phone rang. When I heard the voice of my buddy on the line, the thought "What the hell are you doing up?" had barely formed in my head when he told me to turn on the tv. "I just saw a plane fly into the World Trade Center." Thinking it was a little prop plane, I obliged just so I could say that I did. Lots of smoke, fire, horrible accident, yes yes yes, and then saw plane #2 hit with my own eyes. I woke my husband. I called my mother. This was no accident. What was happening? Not knowing, I got in the car and went to my stupid meeting, which seemed to be getting more stupid by the minute. I turned to talk radio, since the pop stations had nothing, and AM already had live feeds from CNN. I heard that a third plane hit the Pentagon, and a fourth may be headed for the White House. My friends, whom I loved dearly, who lived in DC and had a newborn baby, were in serious trouble. That was followed quickly by another thought:

Is this the beginning of the end?

I tried to wrap my brain around that idea. Couldn't. Too scared. Ignored it. The next thing I knew, I was in the parking lot at the meeting. Everyone was talking about it, but filtered into the room like it wasn't really happening. I looked around at everyone, some were murmuring, some looked anxious, many were joking and having their coffee and danish as usual and I wanted to scream, "What the hell is wrong with you people? The world is ending!" I broke into tears. I had a baby. I had babies -- what was I doing bringing children into this world? The CEO came over and asked if everything was allright. In my head I screamed "What the hell do you think, fuckhead?" Out loud I said I was merely afraid for my friends. People near me said "Oh yeah, me too, very tragic," and went on with the business of the day.


I was in a roomful of 100 people who were mostly in denial of what was happening. I couldn't sit there, and I left to watch CNN in the dining room. But the corporate bigwigs carried on like nothing was out of the ordinary. When we heard of the plane crash in Pennsylvania, the meeting went on. When the first tower fell, the meeting went on. When the second tower fell, the CEO was still talking about things that DIDN'T EVEN MATTER ANYMORE.

And that's what is wrong with this country.

You may think that our society has ignored the anniversary of September 11, but I'm here to tell you: Some were trying to ignore it the day it happened. Some people were so wrapped up in their miserable, insignificant lives that they lacked the mental faculties to comprehend what was happening around them, and are so diseased with their own self-absorption that they see no need to remember.

I, for one, hope I never EVER forget.

I have an original animated gif I'd like to contribute to this site:

(Feel free to load it onto your server if you choose to use it)

I'd also like to contribute my story, which can be found at:


It's the one that's posted by me, (ScottC) at August 29, 2003 01:18 AM

I know you've heard it before, but thank you for creating this site!

Here's my own September 11 story, written two days later while it was still raw. I worked in the Trade Center. (The link, without HTML:

For context, at the time, I was writing only about baseball in a column for The Providence Journal; they actually ran this in the physical, dead-tree paper that Sunday (no doubt in part because there were no sports events to write about and Projo didn't exactly have a ton of staffers in Manhattan on September 11).

Postscript about my firm: We did wind up being back at work the following Monday -- with empty desks, it was like Whoville on Christmas morning, they took everything we had but dammit we're still here. We lost one person that day.

I'm glad to see people sharing their stories and feelings about 9-11 and I would also like to say that all of the people who volunteered we're heros in every since of the word. There is an online support group for them at http://www.groundzeroassn.com

This has been rolling around inside of me now for a very long time, so I guess it is time to put it out there for all to see. This may be a bit long, but it is all me.
To read it all:

Nicht vergessen!

German for "Don't Forget!" It's a 1' × 2' corkboard I acquired when I was stationed in Germany in the early 80's. Something you would pin a grocery list or something similar to. It has been hung directly in front of my office chair in my home office since Sep. 12, 2001 - always in sight. After their (Germany's) participation in the Axis of Weasels affair, I would have trashed it - except for the single thing pinned there. Two Amtrak Metroliner tickets. One is a stub - Philadelphia 30th St. Station to Newark Penn Station - 11Sep2001, arrival time 8:45AM. The other is the return ticket for that afternoon - unused.

If you are not familiar with the geography, Newark is right across the river from Manhattan. As the train nears Newark, the NYC skyline is clear and close. As many people have noted - it was a beautiful fall day. Crystal clear blue sky, no clouds, wonderfully pleasant 70 degree day. The kind of day that makes you forget winter is right around the corner - you put that out of your mind to just enjoy the day.

The train was a little late. As it neared Newark, I clearly saw the smoke plume from the first impact. It did not register. Get that? I saw it, you could not miss it. My mind refused to grok it. I convinced myself it was just a perceptual trick - there was a fire somewhere, the breeze was just right, the smoke plume just looked like it was coming from the WTC. The other 100 or so passengers in my car had to see it too - no one said anything about it. Mass self-delusion? Who knows. I put it out of my mind.

I was making a client visit in a high-rise. We had just started a meet and greet breakfast thing. I was there with 4 other members of my company. The sales manager comes in and says, "Hey - a plane just hit the WTC!" We all say, "Yeah right." He convinces us to look. One face of the building looks out on the Manhattan skyline. OK. That looks bad. Why didn't I realize that from the train? OK - it was a Cessna or something. Bad, but hopefully just took out a few offices on one floor.

I had to go work in the computer room in the basement. A while later, someone comes in crying, saying it was an airliner and a second one just hit the other tower. We go up to the 11th floor - HOLY SHIT!.

Janitor comes in - says one hit the Pentagon. NFW say several of us - they would shoot it out of the sky if it got close. Had to apologize to him later in the day.

OK - real bad - but they'll get it under control. Islamic terrorists were the frontrunner right from the beginning. No one doubted it.

Stood there, 11th floor, across the river for a long time. When the first tower fell, we all assumed it was just smoke. We could not see that tower anymore due to the smoke. Right? Then they evacuated the building. There were supposedly more hijacked planes flying around up there, a high-rise was not the place to be.

The worst thing to me that day - 75% of the people in that building had a loved one or friend in the WTC. No I did not take a poll. 10,000 people came out of the building and were milling on the sidewalk. I could see it by the number on people crying, hugging someone, desperately trying to make a cell call. A later company poll did put it at close to 75%.

Of course we gave up work for the day. Our little group made our way to the Marriott nearby. We found a café that had the TV on. Eventually we even got some food. The mayor was a rock. I'd vote for him for any office.

Some of our group ran out to try to give blood. Long line, they only wanted papered donors, and it quickly became apparent there would be few survivors. Gave that up.

In the afternoon we started seeing people coming up from Battery Park. Businessmen and women - suit coats tucked under their arms, covered from head to toe in dust and grime. In many cases tear tracks cut through the dust. First time I saw the "thousand yard stare". What these people had been through I did not learn for days and even weeks.

Speculation quickly turned to Osama, and then to Afghanistan - consensus by about noon was that the Taliban was toast. The only thing for the odds-makers to do was to bet when the first bomb would fall.

Late afternoon we heard the trains were running. Back to the train station. They were running, then not - bomb scare. Nothing to it. We waited around a few hours and eventually got on a local that connected in Trenton with SEPTA which might get us back to Philly. The station was mobbed - but it was the politest crowd I ever saw. More polite by a factor of 10 than the typical workday commute. No pushing, no cutting in line. If someone had a need to be first and get on a train and expressed it - they went to the front of the line - no one bitched. Anyone covered in that damned, damned dust went straight to the front.
It was crowded and hot and the worst day of most of our lives - and it brought out the best in everyone.

Weirdest experience of the day - a "raghead" came walking up the train. No crap. Sep 11, 2001 evening - this guy comes walking up the center aisle of the train - big turban on his head. Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched. No one said a thing to him. Everyone just stared. He did not even seem uncomfortable. I'm thinking that takes big brass ones. I suspect he just didn't have a clue how close he cut it that day.

When we made it to Trenton the damned Metroliner pulled up. Forget the SEPTA connection - we went in style. Just jump on. We stood - it was a lot like the cattle car days of my military experience. The conductors were packing on as many as the trains could hold to get people out of NYC and surrounding area. No one checking tickets that day - the conductors were mostly looking for the dust covered - made sure they were comfortable and left alone. Amtrak went up a huge notch in my book that day.

Back at 30th Street Station in Philly - TV cameras everywhere. Many daily commuters to NYC. Local reaction etc. "So how did it feel to see the towers fall?" What are you - f*n nuts? How the hell do you think it felt? Get outa' here you damned parasite.

Home around 11 PM. Couple of stiff drinks and bed. Woke up to the first day of the rest of my life - and a new world. Thank God for Dubya. Can't imagine wishy-washy Gore in charge. Just thank God.

I work in the Alexandria office of a national engineering firm; our office was on the river, with a great view of the Capitol Dome out one side. In 2001 one of our projects was a small part of the ongoing Pentagon renovation.
On 9-11 I got in to work about 8:30. A few minutes later a co- worker heard the first report that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. Someone else pulled up a website with a photo from the scene. It was an odd news story, a short diversion from work.
Ten minutes later someone out in the cubes called out, "there's been another plane crash." People started pulling out radios; a dozen of us gathered around a desk and listened to a local station, with a live feed from a NYC station. It was surreal. One plane on a clear day was weird, two planes was certainly not an accident. Who in their right mind would do this? How? Why?
Work in the office pretty much stopped. I went back to my office briefly but didn't stay away from the radio for long. Then the radio cut away from the NYC feed to the local studio, with a live cell call - a man on the Shirley Highway reported a huge cloud of smoke at the Pentagon; then another report of an explosion there. There was an immediate chorus of "no"- sheer disbelief- from our group around the radio. I ran back to my office and called the contractor we worked with at the Pentagon. Amazingly, the receptionist answered.
"What's going on- we heard there was an explosion," I asked.
"I didn't hear anything but there's a lot of smoke outside and my phone is going crazy. I've got to go."
"Stay safe," I told her. (Turned out, the plane hit exactly the opposite side of the building from the construction trailer.)
I ran to the river side of the building, looked north. An ugly cloud of smoke was rising up the river. This can't be real; it is.
Back to the radio. Rumors started flying. Around 10 I felt the windows in my office rattle, then heard a boom. Later we figured it was planes scrambling from Andrews; I think the sonic boom was the source of rumors of car bombs at State Dept and the Capitol. (Both of which sent us running back to the river side of the office to check the view.)
I actually got some work done that morning. We had a plan submittal due the next day; around 10:30 it became clear that since no one was very motivated, and there were not going to be any FEDEX or courier pickups that day, we weren't going to make it. I called the client in Baltimore; he didn't seem to be on the same planet. "We really need that- do you think you can get it up here tomorrow?"
Hell- I don't know if we'll be alive tomorrow, I wanted to tell him.
Phone service was spotty, but I talked to my wife at work, my Mom in Arkansas, my kid's school- yes we're safe, yes we're scared. I considered going to pick up the kids- but if there are car bombs on the street, and another plane coming in, they are safer at school. I hope.
We pulled a TV out of the conference room and set it up in the area called the War Room. (How appropriate!) I didn't watch long- I recall ten people staring at the screen, silent and dazed. All I could see on screen of the NY skyline was smoke. I'd heard, but not seen, about the buildings collapse. I figured a corner had fallen off, or the top ten floors had caved in. I couldn't wrap my head around both buildings completely falling in, not until I turned on the TV at home that afternoon and saw the building falling, falling, falling, for what seemed like hours. And felt sick all over again.
Four of us walked a few blocks to lunch, more to get outside than from hunger. Now we could not just see the smoke two miles north, we could smell it.

Even before lunch the office email reported news from our firm's other offices: the New York office had closed for the day; the LA office had closed; the Cleveland office had closed. (Cleveland, I thought. Sure, if I'm a terrorist, that's at the top of my list.)
We closed the office about 2:00. I got home, sat on the front porch with the radio- but there was nothing new. My wife got home with our kids a few minutes later. The next door neighbor came home soon; her husband, an assistant chief with Arlington Fire Dept, was at the Pentagon for most of the next two weeks. We took comfort, that day and that fall and since, in the company of friends.
We are lucky. We have several degrees of separation from the tragedy. Some of my wife's students had parents injured at the Pentagon, but we lost no immediate friends in New York or at the Pentagon.
But it didn't end there, and it hasn't ended yet. In November 2002 I heard the same conversation from three different people. It went something like this: "After 9/11, after anthrax, after the summer of encephalitis and malaria, and now, finally, after the snipers have been caught and we can let the kids play outdoors and gas up the car without worrying- I want a break. I don't need one more thing."
We all know it's coming. And we know we can't forget, and don't want to forget, and won't forget.
This spring we moved our offices to less expensive, roomier space; we're still two miles from the Pentagon. I still have a private office but without a window now. I miss the view, but I feel a little safer.
We like where we live; we enjoy our jobs, our neighborhood, our church, our friends- but we wonder if maybe the folks who've moved from DC for a good job in Pennsylvania, or gone home to Ohio, were motivated by something besides the job and a more leisurely pace of life. And if maybe they have the right idea.

Michelle, thank you for this project. My apologies for the length- edit it as you need to. God bless you, and keep up the terrific work.

Aligned with this goals of this site, our site provides a place for the survivors of the "forgotten" building at the World Trade Center. 3WTC, the location of the Marriott Hotel, was one of the buildings destroyed in the attacks.

Please visit the site for more info:


Aligned with this goals of this site, our site provides a place for the survivors of the "forgotten" building at the World Trade Center. 3WTC, the location of the Marriott Hotel, was one of the buildings destroyed in the attacks.

Please visit the site for more info:


I saw the towers on fire from the top of our office building on 56th Street. It was the clearest day I've ever seen. Even now when the weather is like that, blue sky and calm air, I always say "this is how it was on September 11th."

I didn't yet know about my wife's friends at Cantor Fitzgerald, or the sweet young woman whose baby was born fatherless a month later.

And almost every day I live in New York and I think about these things, and I'm enraged, and sick, and I'm NOT MOVING ON.

There are so many memories of that day and the days that followed that changed all our lives,. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts, feelings and memories of that time with you and anyone who cares to read them!

I remember so clearly turning on my computer first thing in the morning and checking the MSNBC website for news, seeing the pictures of that first plane hitting the World Trade Center and wondering "why would someone make up something so awful", then realizing it wasn't made up. I went into Mitch's office and told him to check his computer. The Internet was already getting overloaded and he couldn't open any news sites. Other people started coming into the office and saying they had heard more on the news.

I insisted that someone in our office go get rabbit ears to make our conference room TV work, they kidded and said, it was just an accident or a joke, then we saw on MSNBC.com that the second plane had hit and we all realized these were no accidents. We got the TV up and running in a conference room and all of us sat around most of the day watching, leaving for a while when we couldn't stand it, coming back to watch in horror while our world changed forever.

I considered myself lucky because I was able to get ahold of my step-son who was then in the Army in Korea, he couldn't reach his dad or mom so I was able to let them know that he was safe. He's in Iraq now, as a direct result of 9-11.

I called my mom, checked on my kids, worried and wondered as all the conflicting reports came in and prayed for our country and for the souls in hell in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

My ex and I were scheduled to take a plane on the 13th of September to Kokomo, Indiana for the country's largest Vietnam Veteran's Reunion and of course all the planes were grounded. We decided that we would drive from Kansas City, Missouri to Indiana and attend the reunion anyway, if, and only if, my 12 year old daughter was comfortable with my going, which she was, as long as I wasn't flying.

On our way to the reunion my 22 year old daughter called and said "Mom, if the President says he needs people to enlist, I will enlist, Dad doesn't want me to, is it OK with you?" The only possible answer to me, as an American and the daughter of a Marine was, "I expect nothing less from you."

She also (being from Texas) reminded me that "George Bush is a Texan, he's never been afraid to shoot at anything in his life, and he hits what he shoots at!"

I remember driving past Kansas City airport and St. Louis airport and the airport in Indianapolis and thinking: My God, when has the sky ever been this quiet, where are the planes, this is just wrong!

The Veteran's Reunion was the right place for me to be that weekend, I will never forget the feeling of being surrounded by 25,000 men who had served their country as we all sang Lee Greenwood's song "Proud To Be An American". I cannot imagine anything will ever move me more deeply than that moment.

When we came home I went to my Civil Air Patrol meeting. I'm the Deputy Commander of Cadets and I had 25 cadets at the meeting that following Monday. These kids are 12 to 18 all of their lives had been changed so radically and I knew they would need to talk about it. The first question I asked them was, "How many of you are willing to get back on an airplane today?" All 25 hands went up. Then I asked them "How many of you are willing for your parents to get back on a airplane today?" Not a single hand went up. These children 12 to 18 years old, had realized the mortality of their parents and their world, and it broke my heart. Every one of them that day was ready to sign up with the military and fight for their country.



Written in response to Michele Catalano's "Voices" project, over at A Small Victory, asking people to write down their memories of 9/11, so as not to forget.

Dedicated to the future.

Belgium, September 1st 2003

We didn't expect it to happen ... nobody did. Draped in a warm cocoon of luxury we all thought we were safe. Sure, "We wouldn't forget" ..., we saw the -- by now sloganesk -- writings in movies, plays and books a hundred times and more: "Never again" ... . But we still did forget.

In a timespan of half a century the idea of war was pushed to the backs of our minds. Things looked quite good anyway: we all had cars to take us through a cold winter morning. We had television to entertain us and make us forget the sorrow of a slightly more difficult day at work. And hey, the Wall came down, one less problem to deal with, why worry? The evils of fascism and communism were defeated and the Age of Aquarius was coming, mankind developed and it was time to think about the future, in a not-too-modest positive way if possible.

People who work in shifts tend to feel a bit strange now and then. It's strange to come home at noon and having the feeling it's night already. But you try to adapt, you eat something while listening to the radio, one ear hearing the radio, the other is there to hear yourself thinking about what you are going to do with the remaining part of the day.

Vaguely I overheard that something had happened in New York, a building on fire ... special news report ... probably an accident ... no surprise in that ... all those skyscrapers ... busy airtraffic ... damn ... .
Then another news report, and another, ... quite normal actually ... the "Media Contemplating the Big Apple ... ". A few minutes pass, I was already on a slightly higher state of alert than I was when I came home. When I was young I used every second of my spare time to read about space and everything that flew beneath it. I never liked it when one came down.

The music stopped. Not in the kind way. Not in the way music is fading out when radiopeople want to announce a traffic jam, or even put a few giggles in between. It was done the hard way, with the push of a thumb instead of the gentle strike of the index finger, unorganized. You could here the unrest even in the speaker's voice.
Connections were broken, re-established again, texts were spoken with a lot of pauses in between. My hartrate had already gone up quite considerably by that time.

"A second airpl ..." was all I could stumble. It was all that I needed. Things went fast from then on. Something had announced a very long day, well into a short night, into a new era.

I felt myself rising from my chair, dropping everything at hand, knife and fork falling loudly on my plate. Things were still falling when I was watching CNN, the only American channel Belgian cable companies were providing at that time.

Staying at my parents' house, there was a small couch on four wheels in front of the TV, about 3 meters away from it. That's where I sat for the next two, three, four hours ... for the rest of the day, hands between legs.
All those questions running through one's head: "Who did this? Why? How many people are in there?" Then a third plane, a fourth, still later a fifth. "How many were there? How did they do this?" At the time, I didn't yet realise which effect this was going to have on everyone's lives. I think it was only later, at the same time that a helicopter pilot could be heard yelling "Holy shit!", that anger and bitterness started coming in. Before that, it was only bewilderment.

Throughout the whole day and many days more from then on, I tried to imagine what it was like for the people inside. A young man above the hole where the first plane hit, calling on the phone with his grandmother, comes to mind, asking her what that "rumbling sound was he could hear in the background" ... .
Tower Two was gone ... I felt frozen.

If this one came down, the other one is going too, I remember thinking, and the people inside Tower One must realize it. Later investigations showed that at least some of them did. They broke the windows to get some air, some cameras captured them waving their shirts or whatever they could find, crying for help, in vain.
Some jumped or fell, nobody can ever forget those images. Nor the sounds of people crashing into glass, which I later saw, frightened even the Firefighters. Some researchers brought forward that it may very well have been that people didn't choose to jump, but instead searched on hands and knees, keeping low to escape the smoke and the heat, trying to find a way out, not realizing they were going towards an open window.

It was such a long day. I remember feeling exhausted when Building 7 came down, as I was preparing to go to bed. "How many more?"

When you look back at things, you realise how much our world has changed. A new -- formerly ánd now still -- underestimated threat has come into our world. Letting those two years run through my mind, I see the days, weeks and months afterwards, reading all the articles, watching all the news, hearing a lady captured under a firefighting-truck scream out for help through a radio she had found.

I lost friends because of differences on how to fight this struggle.

Notes Made on 11 September 2001
by Gerard Van der Leun

[What follows is a slightly edited transcript of what I saw and how I felt on the 11th of September, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights in New York City. On that day I was posting to a West Coast Computer Conferencing system known as The Well. As a result, even though I was writing from Brooklyn Heights, directly across from the Towers the time stamp reflects PST]

Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07

Saw the first tower collapse from the Promeade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down.

Military jets overhead every five minutes or so.

Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles.

Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water… fully loaded.

This is monstrous.

Deaths in the thousands in New York.

My body is trembling with sorrow and rage. I saw the first tower fall. Everyone in it would have been killed. This, all this, must be stopped. Those who have done this must be wiped out to the last.

War with whom?

Any and all terrorist organizations, foreign or domestic, must now be brought to a swift and complete halt no matter where they are located.

I watched this happen. The enormity of it cannot be communicated. Vile and bestial.

We need to destroy any and all capacity of anyone living anywhere to do anything like this ever again. There were thousands in those buildings. Thousands.

There is no justice swift enough or sure enough.

All that we have must be brought forward and used without restraint. This is an act of war beyond Pearl Harbor.

Military jets overhead again.

More ash on the street. I am cooled down. Way down.,

This is pure evil.

*Tue 11 Sep 01 12:33 *

There is no more World Trade Center visible from the Promenade. But you can smell it from there—a sort of burnt stench as if someone lit newspaper in a trash can and then poured water on it. That kind of wet burnt stench.

It is bright in the sunshine now except for where the Trade Centers stood and there is still a plume of thick brown smoke smouldering up from there and making the sun behind it look dim and oily.

Just now I saw three large military helicopters land across the river from the Heights on the big pad at the foot of Wall Street. People on the streets are talking quietly many of them on cells now that some of those nets are back up.

Everything is as quiet as it was this morning when I got up and began to take a shower.

Showering I felt a vibration shake my building in Brooklyn Heights like a subway train passing deep underneath the structure. I didn’t think much of it. I’ve felt similar vibrations before.

Getting out of the shower I was dressing and I heard the second explosion from the second plane striking the buildings.

I turned on the radio and found out what was happening.

I dressed and left the house and walked a block to the Promenade at the edge of Brooklyn Heights and saw both towers in flames sending huge gouts of smoke into the air.

You don’t know what to think. You don’t know what to feel. You are just reacting. The promenade was jammed with people with more arriving.

Then as I watched the first tower just imploded and plunged, it seemed to me, straight down. Then a huge brown and black rolling cloud of smoke came boiling through all the streets between the buildings and surged outwards towards us on the other side of the river and, at the same time, upward until it took over the center of the sky.

You could see bright shiny bits of metal squares tumbling up and down and drifting out of the smoke that moved up and blew out to the south east… it was like confetti or stuff tossed out of windows in a ticker tape parade. I felt the sound before I heard it and it shook everything around me. I heard gasps and screams around me. People were turning away. Everyone with children was leaving the promenade. Some were moving closer.

The smoke took over everything. I knew that anyone in that building was dead and I started to shake and to weep and to look around at the others who were in all states of reaction. And I had to go back to my house to regroup.

After I was in the house for a few minutes I heard another larger explosion. I went back out and down to the promenade again but this time I couldn’t see the sky as I had before. This time the whole sky had been darkened and, the wind having shifted, this fine white ash was swirling down the street. Not heavy, but everywhere around me and it was settling down lightly on all the surfaces.

When I got to the promenade again the entire southern tip of Manhattan was enveloped in a dirty brown cloud, No buildings visible at all. Nothing. It filled the sky and made it dark. Turning the corner if you looked uptown past the Brooklyn Bridge which was filled with hordes of people walking towards the Brooklyn shore you could see the buildings start to emerge from the smoke. People were sparse on the promenade now although down towards the end there were more and if you walked down there you could see a little bit into the downtown section of Wall street. And there were ferries moving out of the smoke at high speed.

And then I started to hear the military jets but I didn’t see them. But no other planes are to be seen.

Now it is still smoking there. The trade centers are just gone. Erased. 50,000 people they say work there and 150,000 pass through.

What do I feel? I don’t know what I feel except that I want vengeance and complete vengeance. I want everything this country possesses put onto the people who did this, and the people who supported this act, and the people who believe this is the way in which political ends are achieved. I want there to be a war and a big war until these people are eradicated who ever they are and where ever they are. I want it made clear that anything even approaching this evil act will be met with utter destruction-people, families, villages, cities, nations. This is an act of war and war must be the response.

We will be having a long series of mass funerals for many weeks. I only hope that this country finds the stomach and the resolve to carry retribution forward until it is complete.

That is what I feel, now, today. And I’m not alone. I’m not alone at all.

Tue 11 Sep 01 12:42

We need to be in a state of War and to pursue the real aims of war. Against what country? Against a list of countries that support, harbor, or approve of terrorism.

A list of countries. All of them. And we need to take action that is terrible and unilateral. Individuals, families, villages, cities, nations.. all must be pursued and eliminated.

There needs to be revenge and there needs to be a balancing of the scales.

This is the greatest single evil act against Americans in history. It cannot be allowed to stand.

Tue 11 Sep 01 22:11

All day the images have repeated themselves on television while the smell of the smoke persisted in my rooms. Off and on, all day, I walked to the promenade to look at the reality of it and watch the smoke that didn’t stop. It will now play itself out, over and over again in my mind, until the day of my own death.

Television and reality. It is very difficult to separate the two, and when one has no reality, television is the thing that replaces it.

And because it is through television that those responsible for this monstrous act receive their impression of this country I believe they have made a fundamental miscalculation about the deeper nature of the United States. A miscalculation that will cause to be visited upon them what I pray will be a terrible lesson; a lesson that will make the survivors envy the dead.

If you look at television and the endless products of pap and nonsense that are piped out of the media centers of the United States, it is easy to see us as a weak, self-obsessed and foolish people. And many of us are that, even if we pretend to be other than weak, self-obsessed and foolish.

We have sitcoms and MTV. We have endless opinions about things which are not really central to serious life questions and serious policy decisions.

Our young people look foolish in their vanity and their fashions. Our military institutions are often ridiculed. Our entertainments are light and vapid. Many in positions of influence give short shrift to millions more with deeply held religious and traditional political convictions.

Our “major” issues on a day by day basis rarely rise above the level of fretful worry about the “safety of restaurants that allow smoking,” or whether or not a flower will be threatened by an oil well. These are serious issues to many Americans, and it is easy to see why such wet and weak concerns would lead others elsewhere in the world to hold us in contempt as a weak and decadent society that cannot defend itself against attack.

They see our men as feminine and our women as masculine and, to the fundamentalist mind, this signals a weakness in the blood and bone of the nation.They believe that they can attack such a society with a kind of impunity, or with the expectation of a careful and delicate response. They even note that our President is a man who communicates in a clumsy way, who is an illegitimate ruler, and who does not have the support of many of the ruling elites of the country. They hold him to be easily frightened and stupid.

And perhaps he is many, if not all, of these things: clumsy, weak, illegitimate, frightened and stupid.

But it will not, in the long run, matter. And I pray it does not avail them. That is all the television America.

But there is and always has been another America, and it is this America that I hope will emerge from this day and remind all those who seek to harm us that we can be a nation that is as terrible as it seems foolish. That we are a country of deep resolve and capable of striking back in cold anger without compassion or regret. That we are, as the Japanese knew and were to discover, a sleeping giant and you wake us at your own risk. And once woken we will destroy you, and then rebuild you. The Japanese had their lesson and have learned. Germany had it’s lesson and has learned. Now it is the turn of a number of nations in the middle east.

We will first tend to our dead. Many funerals will take Place over the next month or so. At the same time we will also prepare for our vengence and I pray it will be terrible and without hesitation or compassion until all terrorists and all the villages, cities, and nations that support them are reduced to rubble.

This will be an America whose anger is not hidden beneath grief and the committment to save those not yet dead in the rubble of New York and Washington.

This is the America you see when you watch the head of the Fire Department of New York try to express his feelings at losing 300 men in one terrible moment. This is the America of the thousands of rescue workers on the job tonight trying to dig through the rubble. This is the America of terrible resolve that you can read on the face of the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he states the military is ready to do whatever is required of it. “Whatever is required of it”,and I pray we require them to visit horror on our enemies that is a thousand fold worse than what we saw today.

You see, it doesn’t really matter “who” is the President. It matters only that there is a President.

The President is only one man and in times like this he does not really have to lead. He has only to follow and get out of the way.

After that what takes place will be done by many, many others in the hundreds and thousands. These people will not be a group of lame celebrities with their puling little concerns whose lives are just roles on television. They will not be a host of sensitive new-age babblers whose fantasies of a perfect world blind them to the evil of this one and the need to tear it out root and branch. These will be Americans with terrible tools and with even more terrible weapons, and the skill and the will to use them. They will be filled with a terrible intensity and, I hope, a deep sense of mission which will not be lightly put aside.

This mission should be clear to everyone who has some experience of the world and how the world operates… how reality operates. This mission should be nothing less than one that is willing to use whatever means necessary to target terrorism and to destroy it, wherever it exists. If this means the wholesale destruction of nations, so be it.

This mission should be to remind the world that while we are a nation committed to peace, we are a nation to be feared at war. We have the power to do this. We must use it without hindrance. If peace needs to be purchased with the sword, we should be ready to do this. We must become what we were during the Second World War-ruthless and unrelenting.

Those who think we are only what they see on our foolish television, need to have a hard and burning lesson on who we are when we decide to turn off the sit-coms and get real.

If we cannot do this, we will suffer this again and we will deserve it. The time to fill ourselves with the resolve to crush this monster is now and I pray we are up to the task.

Wed 12 Sep 01 07:30

[I wrote above that we must be…] capable of striking back in cold anger without compassion or regret

[A Well Denizen responds: “Perhaps boswell [ my Well handle] has never spoken with any WWII vets who were active in (e.g.) the bombing of Dresden.”

You have no sense of shame or patriotism or anything other than your limp, feeble and twisted sense of a perfectable world that vanished yesterday morning.

Do I have a sense of WWII vets who bombed Dresden and what they feel today? I am sure they feel bad about it. I am sure that they felt bad about it at the time.

Feelings… upon which so much of your useless world view rests… have nothing to do with this.

Only by doing what has to be done to protect and preserve this nation will we be able to maintain a way of life on this earth that makes your ideas and feelings possible.

In my family, I have four uncles. Three served in World War II and of those three, one, the most handsome and dashing—I have the pictures—was a navigator on a Fortress. He was lost over the North Atlantic in the closing days of the war against Germany. His name is carved into the stones of the monument to these men that stands at the foot of Manhattan. I haven’t been to it in some years, but when the smoke that I can see from this office clears and we are allowed to go there, I plan on making a visit.

Another uncle, a younger one, was in Korea at Inchon. He never speaks of it, but once when I was young I found an envelope filled with black and white pictures that he took during his time in that battle and they were horrific.

So while I in truth do not know the feelings of the bombers of Dresden, I know something of the effect of war on families in this country and I do not take it lightly.

The French has a saying that translates as “Revenge is a meal we eat cold.” Cold is what it will be and all your smary small comments will not change that one whit.

Wed 12 Sep 01 08:05

To answer leroy, I am back at my absurd day-job. So far I’m just about the only one here. Maybe eight people out of 200+.

I don’t know quite why I am here, but then, in truth, I’m never sure why I am ever here other than that my personal life obligations require me to be here. That may have to change.

At any rate, I woke up and could only take about five minutes of the endlessly repeated images of disaster, and having, literally nothing better to do, decided to try and come in.

I first walked to the Promenade to see where the Towers were. The vile smoke blooming across the river was still there as it has always been, probably as it always will be in my mind where I will see it first as that moment when the first tower went down carrying thousands to a death I cannot imagine.

Still there. And the faint smell lingers too. And there were small clumps of people standing around, one couple even posing for a picture against the new skyline.

Then I walked through streets in the Heights that barely had any people on them. Usually full and bustling even on holiday weekends. Now just some elderly people moving slowly and a few clots of Jehovahs Witnesses in their cleaned and pressed clothing going down to put out what I am sure will be an especially “We told you so” issue of the Watchtower.

Clark Street station shut down with a few police directly people to the Jay street station. Buy a New York Post because I’ve read the Times. Walk to Jay Street in the heart of the Brooklyn government center across streets with few pedestrians and no traffic except for police, fire and security vehicles cruising aimlessly about or parked at the curb.

Security in front of the courts and the city offices lounging in the bright sunshine of this second day of Indian Summer weather.

Down into the Jay Station and a very sparsely occupied A train. We set off on a slow, very slow trip into Manhattan. Several people are reading bibles but most of the 15 or so people are just staring into space and looking vaguely alarmed whenever the train halts between stations—which is often.

I spend this time reading the New York Post which has, inside, a picture of the exterior of one of the towers just before it collapsed. In this picuture I can count around 24 people poking their heads out of the windows or actually on the outside of what has to be the nintieth floor of the towers. All of them, ALL OF THEM, about to ride this building down into oblivion and you know that THEY ALL KNOW THIS.

Next to this is a picture of the side of the Tower and a large empty space on the left which is thin air. In this space, close to the tower you can see five to seven people falling with nothing but space above and below them, falling straight down into doom rather than be burned alive.

Finally, the train pulls into 23rd Street and halts. After a minute or so you can hear the announcer telling us that we will be held in the station for some time because of a “police investigation” in Penn Station, my destination.

I get out and go up to the street to walk the rest of the way. An I walk into a Manhattan I have never seen in the almost 30 years that I’ve been here. Streets almost utterly clear of traffic for as far uptown or downtown as you can see on 8th Ave. Nearly the same thing on 7th.

A smattering of pedestrians that grows somewhat thicker as you approach Penn Station. A nail salon open but with nobody getting their nails done that I can see.

Extortionate parking lots that are usually jammed with cars almost empty and with nobody there to collect the money.

On the street parking? Oh, we’ve got it now.

Everywhere the hush. Everywhere. Like a ghost town with real ghosts now walking among us. People just standing around, people talking softly on cell phones, and people talking to themselves. On every corner small groups walking slowly into the street or ambling along the sidewalks as if nothing they normally do on Wednesdays in New York City is really all that important after all.

Wed 12 Sep 01 13:07

On blood and the giving of it in New York. It is important to do this, but no longer because of the need. It is pretty clear at this point in the evening of day 2 in New York that the city has more than enough blood to cover for this present emergency.

Still, people should give because it is something than they can give. That is the need it fills. As for blood for the wounded and the suffering, there is now a sufficient quantity. Why? Because there are not as many wounded as first feared. There are just mostly the dead.

With the exception of a few miracles that I hope will happen over the next few days, there will not be large numbers of injured beyond those who are already receiving treatment.

We are now starting to see the bodies emerge and they will continue in a ghastly parade of orange body bags for weeks now. Soon, tomorrow and over the weekend, the funerals and the memorials will begin. And they will go on and on and on. We will have, if we are fortunate 10,000 funerals in this city in the coming weeks.

Let me say that again: Ten thousand funerals.

Try, right now, to close your eyes and visualize this number of funeral ceremonies of every type and description and religion. You cannot do it because the enormity of it is too much for the human mind and soul. But we will have them, one by one and in groups. And here is another fact that comes along behind this number: We do not have enough land for 10,000 graves. We do not have enough crematoriums. Many will go unburied for weeks. Many will be burned because that will be the only choice.

Many will have to be moved by train, plane, or van to some other place in the state, country, or the world.

And we will bury a thousand, and then another thousand, and another. And still the orange body bags will come up out of the pile and the pit one by one by one and lie in rows.

And this will go on for weeks if not months.

Think about what this will be like. Just stop and try to really see it.

And then think this: No matter what many may feel now about the wisdom or the goodness or the morality of retribution, there will come a time during this parade of our dead when this country, already uniting in a way I cannot remember in my 55 years, will have even a greater sea-change of spirit and rage. Many of those who do not really feel this now, for whatever enlightened or unenlightened reason, will feel this change and become part of it.

There will be those who do not, a smaller and smaller part of us as the days go by, and they will in the end be left behind.

But by far the most of us will be changed by this, even if now we are not.

Ten thousand funerals. We cannot imagine it, and yet we will live it. And I hope that each one of us can bear witness to as many as we can bear. It is the least of our duties.


I have known about this for several days and wanted to share my story but the problem is, I don't have much of a story. I live over a thousand miles away from New York. September 11, 2001 started out as just an ordinary day at home for me. I watched the whole thing on television. Over and over again. For three days.

I know some people think that if you weren't actually there in New York as it was happening that you can't really have been affected by it. Well, those people are just emotionless... I don't know what to call them... zombies, robots, things? I took the attack on America very personally. I am an American. If you attack America you attack me personally. After two years I am over it as much as anyone ever gets over a personal attack. But I remember. I'll always remember.

Dear Michele,

Thank you so much for your hard work in compiling this. I think I would have succumbed to overwhelming emotion not too far into organizing the memories of all those who contributed, if for nothing more than a keen sorrow.

Who could have failed to have been changed? Those who cheered as the Towers went down and rumors of a fifth plane to crash the Capitol. Two thousand miles away, I could only witness. I had no direct relative or friend or coworker (that I know of) who were among those directly affected, but it still struck my heart.

I am a stay at home Mom. I have one child. My daily routine was to drive her to the private school she attended (and still does). So, as a Mom, I spent the drive that crisp fall morning, trying to wipe the sleep from my eyes and the dew from the windshield while discussing the ensueing day with my little girl. The radio was OFF.

Remember to pay attention, eat your lunch, don't sass the teacher... Thinking of what I would do back home. Like write. Like NOT turn on the TV or the radio, but REALLY WRITE and do something productive...creative. I would make an effort to not get caught up in the political speak of the radio stations, or indulge my newsjunkie habits.

I dropped her off, and turned back home, my hands waggling the radio dial for one last fix until I got to the house...just a little bit and I can call it good...

The chatter was that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Never having been to New York, I had to search my memory before recalling accounts of highschool friends and their trip to New York in the winter of 1984. I had not a clue as to what the WTC symbolized. I had no idea what it meant to say a plane had pierced its exterior.

Oh, what a horrible accident! I thought. But it sounded serious, so I figured before shutting myself off completely yet, I would turn on the TV afterall and get the lowdown...just so I could say I knew what was going on.

By the time I settled on what station I wanted to watch, the second plane careened into the second tower, and I knew.

We all knew.

The TV never went off that day. I watched in stunned horror as smoke billowed, speculations ran rampant, then the visuals of the Capitol and the plane at the Pentagon.


I had visited DC twice in my life. I loved what the city offered in its museums, its Halls of history and debate and republicanism. NO, NOT THERE...

Breathless reporting of contacts within the last two planes. Barbara Olsen talking with her husband, and then the plane was a black smear in the symbol of American Military strength. Frantic paging of Flight 93.

I met her when she was on her first book tour. Beautiful, sincere, happy, sparkling, intelligent. Flight 93 skittering out of contact with the haunting message "let's roll."

That's when the shock turned to rage and grief. BASTARDS!

I sat in my home, by myself, occaisional contact with my husband at work, whose fury was barely controlled. An elderly friend shrieking at me about the wisdom of telling my daughter about it. She will KNOW, dammit, you stupid woman! I'll make sure of it.

Finally, I had to break the only contact I had with the events and drive to the school once more to pick up my daughter. It was so surreal. The skies deathly quiet. I remember the sick lump in my stomach, looking around the neighborhood to see if anything moved. It was as if the pall of dust had reached all the way to Houston, Tx, and silenced nature and man. I couldn't really talk with my daughter while driving back, except when she inquired what it was all about. They had interrupted class, had said bad men had hit buildings and many people died. Why, Mama, why?

How do you explain to a six year old what you can barely comprehend yourself?

I am only a stay at home Mom, with not much to add to the political discourse, or world-wide events. There are so many others who have done, are doing so now, and will do so in the future, much braver and committed people than I.

But for myself, I can only say that I, too, was a New Yorker that day.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 I was procrastinating about going to work, taking my time about finishing my peanut butter toast, and still sitting around in my PJs, when my best friend of 25 years called to say, "Have you SEEN the news? A plane just hit the World Trade Center!"

My friend and I always seemed to be on the phone together whenever some important event occurred -- like the beginning of the first Gulf War, the night Princess Diana died, when the bombing in Oklahoma City occured, and the day of the Columbine massacres. This morning, that grim tradition would plant the seeds of the end of our friendship.

I optimistically posited that there may have been a catastrophic mechanical failure on the plane that resulted in a million to one chance striking of the World Trade Center. I tried every way I could to make that jagged square peg of what I saw onscreen fit into the smooth roundness of reassuring familiarity. It was bad, sure, but maybe there was a logical explanation? But the 2nd plane took away any doubt.

Though even as the 2nd plane came into view, I remember saying out loud, "What idiot just allowed another plane to fly into WTC airspace in the middle of this emergency?" As the plane banked purposefully toward the other tower, we had our answer -- and nothing would ever be the same again.

We watched and talked and tried to "fill in all the holes with some sense," but there was no sense to be made of this, and seeing the news people gulping for words and caught completely off guard did nothing but add to the rising sense of panic.

The Today show was unwatchable, and Aaron Brown on CNN was simply awful. So we switched our respective TVs between MSNBC and Fox, each letting the other know when to switch back as new information came on.

Then came the reports of the Pentagon being hit, of another plane crashing in a field in Pennsylvania, and then the false reports of the Capital Mall being on fire and yet another plane missing, possibly heading toward the White House. Like ghouls, the news cameras kept lingering on the Capital Building, as if hoping to catch the impending horror as it happened. As if the cameras lingering over the desperate and dying innocents flinging themselves from the Twin Towers in desperation wasn't enough.

As they focussed in on the Capital Building and reported on the departure points & destinations of the hijacked planes, I knew I had to call my friend in California -- even if I had to wake him out of a sound sleep. His wife is a news producer and has to travel across the country for her work. His father is a former congressman, and his parents split their time between a home in the Midwest and one in Washington, DC.

So I got off the phone with one friend and made a call I had no idea how to make to another. I did wake him up, and my first question to him was, was his wife home, safe & sound? He sounded confused and groggy, but said she was. When I asked him where his folks were, he began to sound more worried. He said he didn't know where they were, but why was I asking? So I told him he needed to turn on the TV. The World Trade Center was under terrorist attack, the Pentagon had been hit. The news said the Mall was on fire and that another plane may be headed toward the Capital.

He was wide awake by the time I finished that terrible list, and it was then that I couldn't fight back the tears anymore. He said he'd better make some calls, and thanked me for waking him...

And I got back on the phone as soon as we hung up, this time to my friend in England. Five hours ahead of me, she didn't know what was happening until I called and told her to quick, turn on the TV. Her disbelief was as profound as mine, and she went through the exact same pattern of denial as I had only a half hour or so earlier. We tried to talk it all out, to make sense of the insensible. And we were still on the phone when the first tower fell.

I remember just repeating over and over again, "It's gone... It's gone." She didn't believe it at first, surely there was some mistake, a trick of the eye in all that smoke. Another kind of explosion from within, maybe? But the first tower was gone, and soon they would both be gone, imploding on themselves in seeming slow motion -- as if they would not be hurried in their leaving us. Those towers, the people within them, the spirit they embodied, WANTED us to get a good long last look as they gracefully fell to their deaths. That slow falling would be etched in memory, not simply dashed away. It would be REMEMBERED.

"It's gone..." was all I could say, and my friend, an ocean away, helpless, telling me how sorry she was, trying to be a comfort, all to no avail. There was no comfort to be had. Only rage and sadness and fear and determination.

In the hours and days, weeks and months to follow, the numbers would come to haunt me. The number of people who might have been inside those buildings, the number of victims that might be buried beneath the rubble, the number of firemen, policemen and EMTs who'd been rushing into the buildings instead of out. The number of people known to be missing. The number of empty ambulances returning to hospitals. The number of people on the planes, the ages of the children that were killed, the multitude of spouses and children left behind. The sheer tonnage of debris to be removed, the amount of months (years?) it would take to accomplish such a task. And the age of my son, my only child -- fifteen... three years away from draft age. As Mayor Giulianni said, the numbers were more than anyone could bear.

In October, my friend in England braved a flight to America, and we went together to a gathering in the Midwest with my friend from California. Thankfully, though his mother was in Washington, DC. at the time of the attacks, she was all right. And we all met, and even had a luncheon with his parents, where we talked about the events of 9/11 and its aftermath.

It was an honor to meet his parents. His father had actually been there, on the floor of Congress when President Bush made his post 9/11 address (the one that Tony Blair attended.) It was an amazing privilege to get the insights of two people who had devoted their entire lives to public service and get their views on what they thought would happen. Though it brought a different perspective to me when his mother shook her head and said, "All those years... We all sacrificed so much to keep this country safe, fighting in World War 2, fighting communism... And it comes to this?"

And I finally saw it as people of my parent's generation saw it... They'd lived through the Depression, through World War 2, through the terror of Nazism, Japanese Imperialism, and the slow torture of the Cold War. For their entire lives they'd struggled and fought to give their children & grandchildren a world in which they could avoid all the pain & sacrifice they'd endured for our sakes. The feeling of sadness, of disaapointment and confusion was palpable when I looked into her wise eyes and heard those words. And for the first time in my "Ass-end of the baby boom/beginning of Generation X" life, I began to feel sincere gratitude to the "Greatest Generation" -- for all they'd given us, and all they were still willing to impart -- and a real fear that we were losing these people one by one now, and maybe we should have listened better along the way.

These good people would not be allowed to put down their crosses yet, not even in their old age. They would worry and wait for our sakes, and pass on advice that hopefully we will be wise enough to listen to.

I, for one, will listen to those elders, and I will follow their advice. I will follow their example and do what I can to stand up to the forces of theocratic facism in our time, and in my child's time and in his future children's time. And I will argue with those who counsel us to look at fashionable "root causes" and other diversionary blather. And I will STOP living under the polite bigotry and elitism of Political Correctness. And I will TAKE BACK and DEFEND concepts like patriotism and honor from those who pervert and twist the meaning of such words until they are something unrecognizable and shameful. And I will not go back to sleep. I will not go quietly into that goodnight. I will not accept people's moral relativism and situational ethics. And I will be friggin' PROUD to be an American, though we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous accusation and contempt. And I will take this stand, even though it has cost me my longtime friend, who has been as close as a sister to me but who will no longer speak to me because of where we both stand on so many things now.

But most of all, despite the best efforts of the media, the under-the-carpet "Let's move on-ers," or the people who would rather live in fear and wait for the other shoe to drop than risk supporting a president they despise, I will follow the advice on the sign posted at Auschwitz (as was mentioned above):



My story here:


So you want a TV show? What possible difference could that make to anything?

Enough already. Time to move on.


A several months before 9/11, My wife got pregnant. We found out at 7 weeks that it was twins. We could see one heartbeat clearly, but not the other. At 7 weeks, the doctor said not to worry, it was borderline that you would be able to see them that early anway. We went back at 8 weeks for a followup sonogram, and both had died.

We concieved again, and because the first trimester was considered very risky with her background, We were having frequent Ultrasounds early on.

9/11 was the 8th week of pregnancy for us, and we had another ultrasound scheduled. We were so deathly worried that that history would repeat itself, and we'd see that ultrasound and the heartbeat we saw before would have stopped.

Well, that morning I went into the office and worked a while, heard soemone a few cubes over talk about a plane hiting the WTC. I figured it was some drunken cessna pilot or something, and went back to my work, trying in vain to keep my mind off the upcoming doctor's appointment.

A little bit of time goes by, and someone says 2 planes hit the WTC. I immediately go to the websites of CNN, fox news, etc. Nothing would load. I spent a while looking for working news links, and ended up reading most of it on the BBC website, And various message boards. Last thing I remember hearing before leaving to go to the appointment was that a car bomb had gone off at the pentagon. (Of course, it was the 3rd plane, not a carbomb.)

I got into my truck and headed west on I-40. This goes right past the Greensboro Airport. By this time, the FAA had ordered all planes to land immediately. I saw plane after circling overhead waiting to land, and a steady stream of them coming in, one after another.

All this time, the pit in my stomach was only partly from the attacks. I was still worried to death that something had gone wrong, and that I would find out at the doctor's appointment that we had lost yet another child.

Well, the Doctor's office visit went very well, even if all the doctor's and nurses seemed obviously distracted. After all, they were listening to the same news everyone else was. Finally, agter dreading the moment, We got to the ultrasound, and I saw the heartbeat, flutterring fast as can be. At that moment, I knew deep inside that everything was going to be ok, and It wasn't really until that moment that I let myself really believe I was actually going to be a father.

When we get out of the doctor's office, I started calling around on my cell phone to tell family the good news, that everything was ok. In my first call to my mom was where that I learned the towers had both fallen while we were in the Doctor's office. One about 10:00, another about 30 minutes later.

Simultaneously, I felt like the happiest man in the world, and also felt like the world was crumbling around me.

I had a window seat on the Long Island Railroad that morning, and as the train entered the tunnel from Queens to Manhattan, I saw a plume of smoke coming from the towers. I'm not sure if I remarked on it at the time or if I only remembered it later, but I gave it at most a moment's attention. Then I got to the office and found out what had happened.

The towers fell shortly afterward. At that point, I knew two things - that I wouldn't get anything done at the office that day, and that I'd probably be in uniform by nightfall. In the nine years I'd been in the reserves, I'd been called up once before, for the 1998 ice storm in northern New York. That time had been a surprise; I hadn't thought I'd be needed. This time was different.

I called the armory, and was told that we hadn't been activated yet but that it was likely a matter of time. I didn't want to sit in the office and stare at a television screen, so I let them know I was leaving and walked up to the blood center on the Upper East Side, where they were taking blood donations. There was a line of people around the block and not enough staff to process them all, and after about ten minutes, someone came out and told everyone who didn't have Type O blood to come back the next day. At the Red Cross headquarters on the West Side, it was the same story - more volunteers and blood donors than anyone knew what to do with. The scene there is burned into my mind as much as the fall of the towers - a source of pride as big as the tragedy.

A friend of mine lives three blocks away, and he was home; I told the armory where I was and sat down to wait. As it turned out, I didn't have to wait long; I got the call about an hour later. That night, I found out that, for the first time in history, every National Guard unit in New York State had been activated.

There was still no transportation, so I started up Broadway with the vague idea of crossing into the Bronx and finding a cab to take me the rest of the way. When I got to 125th Street, though, the subways were running, and once I made it out of Manhattan there were buses. I think it was about five o'clock when I got to the armory; the company was trickling in one at a time.

I changed into my uniform and was told to help watch the gate for the time being. Strangers were coming up to us and wishing us luck. The children were more direct; one asked me if I was going to kill some Arabs. I told him I hoped not.

That night I was able to call my mother.

"How long will they keep you?"

"I don't know."

"What will you be doing?"

"I don't know, Mom. Digging through the rubble, I guess."

"You'll probably find..."

"I know what I'll find."

I wasn't in the mood to talk about it.

As it turned out, I didn't find anything of the kind. In fact, I never actually set foot on Ground Zero. My company was needed mostly for transportation, and I had a five-ton license, so I spent the next four days driving a truck around the city. I was half relieved to get off easy and half ashamed that other people weren't. I still am.

They stood us down about midnight on the fourth day; just like the volunteers, they had more soldiers down there than they needed. I got home at two in the morning. I must have looked a sight; I hadn't shaved or taken a bath since Tuesday morning. Naomi was glad to see me anyway. We didn't do much that weekend, just stayed home and tried to come to terms with the way the world had changed.

It was a long time before life was back to normal.

I was on the University of Maryland campus when I heard the news, listening to the students pouring out of the journalism building babble on about some explosion. My husband is in the Navy, and so I called him to find out what was going on - and I could not reach him (at the time we were assigned to an Army post that was considered a primary target). I could not reach him for almost an hour, and in that horrible hour full of ever-growing panic, I was able to get hold of my mother several states away and hear the full details. I sat on the steps of Francis Scott Key Hall, crying so hard for us, for them, it hurt. By the time I reached my husband the plane had hit the Pentagon, and after finding out that he was, in fact, OK and home and safe, I wanted to know who we'd lost. We'd lost so many shipmates of late, some of whom he actually knew. Once I decided to try to make my way home, I knew I was running a real risk that I may not make it. I had no idea what sort of security measures the post might have taken, if I'd even be allowed on. In the end, I ended up taking back streets to get to my house because men with very large guns were determined to keep anyone and everyone off the main route. We spent the rest of the day watching CNN, waiting for the phone to ring.

Later on we heard the truth of what happened in PA, and learned that in fact we had lost shipmates at the Pentagon. We fought resentment as so much attention focused on NYC, and the losses in DC were, if they were remembered at all, a footnote. But we remember.

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

I am a financial journalist here in NYC, live in the CT burbs and commuting in. So here is what I have to say regarding 9-11: I recently cleaned out a source list--the list all reporters keep of men and women whom you can contact, names, phone numbers, cell numbers and so forth. It is, in a sense, the spinal cord of what a journalist does for a living. Without it, you're a hack, spinning opinions or making up lies.

So I was updating it--adding new people, changing addresses,deleting the names of those who no longer talk to the press, have moved on, hate me or my publication.

And I came across several fields ( I keep it on an excel file). The 21 names from cantor fitz and its internet trading subsidiary, e-speed. 10 names from Keefe, bruyette and woods; 6 from Sandler O'Neill.

all dead. ANd let's be clear: dead in a way unimaginable short of the holocaust.

I remember coming home that night, hearing that my neighbor, whose daughter played with my friend, didnt make it out. Same for the brother of another neighbor. I tried to explain it to my children, why their best friends were so sad. I finally gave up and told them to be angry--it just seemed healthier.

ANd the college classmates. One just married; the other one engaged for the week after.

Sometimes, when i meet old friends, we'll recall drinking bouts and ballgames with others and someone'll invariably say :" Hey, do ya remember when such-and such said or did that..." and then the conversation will fade, glances will avert, because of course, so and so never did make it out."

Far off and unpleasent things that never seem to go away, rearing their head at the oddest times. An ad on the subway, a whiff of cologne, a line from a song. They all remind me of the dead and gone from that day.

I tell people about the drinks i had there on Sept. 10 at "tall ships" at the foot of 2 WTC; the meeting i had scheduled on Sept. 12 at Windows on the world. Thousands of source meetings, hundreds over drinks, and I remmeber those two.

It has never ended for me and it never will. I have the names and numbers of sources that can never answer my calls again to prove it.

I am an American living in Stockholm, Sweden. On September 11, 2001, I had a meeting at 3:00 pm, or 9:00 Eastern time. Just after the meeting started, my phone started going nuts. I ignored it. I hate taking telephone calls, and I even turned the ringer off my phone. In the meeting, we tried to dial in a few people, who were in the U.S. at that time. The circuits were constantly busy. We figured there was just a network problem and gave up. The meeting continued for a while, then a bit later we had a coffee break, where I ran into my manager.

"Something is going on in your country." he said.
"What?" I asked, bored, preparing myself. People liked having a go at my country.
"I don't know. Something about New York and planes crashing. They say terrorists have done it."
"What?" I asked. This was strange. What was he talking about? Planes crashing? Terrorists? Surely he got the story wrong.

My phone rang then. It was my Mom, and she was crying. She told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. Another hit the Pentagon. Still another was suspected to be heading towards the White House. Then she had to go.

I was in shock. This had to be a joke, the worst media hoax in the history of bad media hoaxes. This just didn't happen. Not even Hollywood could be that fucked up to make this up.

But I had to go back to my meeting and keep going. I felt dizzy and sick, but my day had to go on. My manager was there, his manager was there, and his manager was there. I had to pull it together.

When I was done, I raced back to my pc to desperately try to check the web, but it was completely jammed up. All I could see was a picture on the BBC web page of one of the towers on fire. There were no links, and a short explanation that a terror attack had occured in NYC. The site was down due to heavy traffic and would be up later.

I raced home and watched the news all evening. I cried a lot. I didn't understand it all. I went to the U.S Embassy and found that hundreds of Swedes had, too. And they had left a wonderful and supportive testimony of how shocked and outraged they were, too. I stood there and cried, and read the touching posts that were already written.

I got an outpouring of mails from colleagues and friends, since they all knew that I am an American. But I was feeling like I betrayed my country-they were in the midst of war, and here I was, far away and not able to stand and defend as well. I got a few American flags, and now display one at my desk and at home.

And I will never forget. Ever.

I had slept in the guest bedroom because Michael and I'd had a fight the night before. I had left the little black and white TV on all night next to the bed, for company, and woke just as Bryant Gumble announced that there was breaking news from Manhattan.

Michael had already gone to work. I tried to call my mom, but all circuits were busy. I turned on every teevee in the house.

I saw what you saw. No point in trying to describe it here.

The local Baltimore news cut in every now and then, admonishing us to refrain from driving on the highways or using the phone, unless absolutely necessary. I fired up the DSL and emailed everybody to assure them that we were okay and to read the news online (strangely, there wasn't much coverage for a while).

At some point, I went outside and marveled at the unusually quiet sky. Our house was in the northern, rural part of Baltimore County, under the busiest flight corridor in the country. Even though all the airports were an hour or more away, there were always commercial or military aircraft overhead. Now, the sky was nothing but cloudless blue, the only thing airborne being the ravens hurling from birch to birch, cursing each other.

Michael came home early, hollow-eyed. We hugged for a long long time, making up without saying a word.

Something's Hit The World Trade Center

Those words started an avalanche of emotions that seemed to overwhelm me that day. We all know the day, it needs no year. 9/11. The day the entire world stood and watched in horror as a handful of madmen scared the face of the greatest city in the world.

I hadn't been at work long. I was sitting in my second story office, reading my email and listening to voice mail when one of the women from the lobby came to my door.

"I just heard that a plane hit one of the World Trade Center Towers," she said. My immediate reaction was terrorism. No one can hit the towers on accident, this was evil.

I rushed down the stairs to set up the TV. We have a big screen tv in the lobby that displays advertising, but we also have a satellite. I attempted in vain to get the satellite to work, but we finally got the major networks. There were the Twin Towers, smoke rising into the air, paper slowly falling from the sky.

My God, was that someone jumping?

Suddenly, from out of nowhere a second jet. I felt sick to my stomach as I watch it slam into the building. You could see debris, paper, dust, flame and who knew what else flying out of the other side of the building. I fell to my knees there in the middle of the lobby. I couldn't believe that there were people capable of this in the world.

I stayed there in the lobby all day, glued to the television. I couldn't stand to watch, but I couldn't look away. I knew there was nothing I could do from here, but yet somehow watching gave me the connection with the thousands I knew were still in the buildings.

There was the sound. You know the sound I'm talking about. The unmistakable sound of large objects hitting the pavement at a high rate of speed. The sound of people making the choice to leap to their doom rather than wait for the inevitable fire. I can't imagine the hopelessness they must have felt.

Then the unthinkable happened. Their was a cloud of smoke and people running, and screaming, and crying.. again I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I couldn't catch my breath. There are people in there.. The fireman, the NYPD, the people who work there. My God, there could be thousands.

Then for the next several weeks we were treated to the constant barrage of video of fatherless children, widows, broken families, torment, pain, anguish.... and celebration.

Did he just say celebration? Yes, I did.

Video from Iraq, Palestine and a few other whacko states of people actually celebrating this event. People dancing in the street, firing weapons in the air, holding pictures of Osama Bin Laden as if he were the savior of the world.

Then I got mad. Very mad.

I never felt terrorized by these people. They may strike my small town. They may kill me or my family, but they will never take away my ability to function in the world. My own little bit of defiance is getting up every morning, going to my office and living my life just as normally as I did pre 9/11. They will not break my spirit.

I watched as President Bush vowed that we would hunt them down where ever they may hide, and I felt pride in my country and in my President.

I cried several times during this entire ordeal. When Buckingham Palace playing the Stars and Stripes during the changing of the guard, I lost it. I know this doesn't happen. And when the queen said, "Today we are all Americans." Well, I lost it.

I felt the tears roll down my cheeks as I watched our Armed Forces roll through Afghanistan and Al Qaeda was forced to hide in caves to escape capture or death. Tears of pride for our men and women in uniform.

I watched in pride and awe again as we rolled through Iraq. The only thing I could compare it to was Paris falling to the Nazis. Only this time it was a liberating Army come to town.. I watched the Iraqi's celebrate and the statues of Saddam fall like dominos.

This is what it is to be an American. We are the target of hate from around the world because of our prosperity. But we never retaliate out of anger. We don't punish the nation for the stupidity of it's leaders. Instead we roll in and clean house, then we help the people to rebuild, to shape the future of their country.

Doubt this? Look at Japan and Germany. We still have bases in both. I've lived in both. There were our mortal enemies, would have killed you as soon as look at you 60 years ago. Today we all own electronics made in Japan and most likely either own or would like to own a German automobile.

So today I wear red white and blue and I stand tall, unafraid of what the madmen of this world may attempt. They may bring down another building. They may kill more people. But they will never break the spirit of the American people. We have made it through this attempt at destroying our way of life and have emerged strong because of it. All that is good about America and New York has been displayed for all the world to see. Strangers helping each other. Men and women from across the country coming together to search through tons of rubble to give a strangers family peace of mind.

There is much about this country I would like to see changed, but it is all secondary to the dominance of the American will. When our back is against the wall, we band together and come out fighting. And when you have awakened the sleeping giant, there is hell to pay.

God bless America.

I've hesitated posting my story here - I live far, far from NYC or Washington, the only person I actually knew who died in the towers was a guy a year behind me in high school - but I need some way to mark the day.

I am a college professor at a small midwestern University. The day of the attacks it was bright and clear, the ideal fall day.

I did not have any classes on Tuesdays that semester, so I came into my office to do grading and prep work. I was also in my office that day because I was busily making arrangements to buy a house - I had found one I liked, for a price I could afford. Negotiations with the seller were actually easier than dealing with the attorney who was doing all the paperwork for the deed transfer and payment and all. I had just heard from the attorney that we were "go" for me to buy the house on Thursday. I had e-mailed the seller and he agreed he could be there.

Feeling happy with how things were working out, I walked to the campus bookstore to buy the day's newspaper, as was my habit at that time.

Immediately when I got into the bookstore (this would have been perhaps 9 am local time), I knew something wasn't right. The radio was on, as it always was, but instead of the country-music station that the bookstore clerk favored, the station was playing a newswoman with an urgent-sounding voice. I tend to tune out piped-in music, so I didn't really pay a lot of attention to it until she mentioned New York.

"Is something going on?" I asked the clerk.

"Yes" she responded "A plane flew into the World Trade Center."

The first picture that came into my mind - I have never been to NYC - was the Empire State Building out of "King Kong", with the small planes circling the building. I pictured a small commuter or tourist-type plane hitting the towers as a miscalculation. "Damn," I remember thinking "you'd have to be seriously stupid to hit a skyscraper with your plane."

I walked back out across campus. In one of the parking lots, I ran into one of the art professors, who I barely knew at the time. "I heard it was a 747" she said "I heard it was done on purpose - the plane was highjacked."

the cold feeling started in the pit of my stomach. The first thought I had was "what a singularly awful way to die" about the people on the plane. I didn't even think about the people in the building yet.

Back in my office, I turned my computer on and tried to pull up some of the news sites. Nothing. Kept getting a "server too busy" message.

I finally went to a bulletin-board type site I frequent, and people there were talking about it - including a couple New Yorkers who saw it happen. It was scary, I realized I knew people in New York and Washington who could conceivably be dead now. I also realized that Chicago, where my brother and sister-in-law lived, and where my sister-in-law worked mere blocks from the Sears Tower, could be the next target.

Finally, I went down to the departmental office. The secretary had somewhere found a small black-and-white television set and had it set up and turned in to the local CBS affiliate - the only channel you can pick up here without cable.

I remember who all was in the room with me that day. I remember where I was standing. I remember wrapping my arms around my body to hold myself together.

After seeing the replay of the towers fall (they had already fallen by the time I figured out what was going on), I shook my head and said "I can't watch this any more" and went back up to my office to try and bury myself in work.

I couldn't. I stared at the newspaper I had bought - full of stories that had been important the day before. None of them mattered to me now. I don't know if I ever read that paper, I do know I sat for a long time staring at the headlines, as if I could will them to change to reflect what was going on now.

The morning was surreal - I sat in my office, trying to review for the Biostats class I was supposed to teach the next day, but actually spending time trying to read as much as I could about the disaster, to figure out if anyone I knew could be dead, to figure out if my brother and sister-in-law were in danger, to figure out if there were going to be more attacks.

I tried calling my parents who lived in central Illinois, mostly for reassurance, but also to talk to my dad and get some guidelines from him if there was anything I should do - should I buy a tent and go hide in the woods? Should I start off for their house, with the hope that if I'm gonna die, at least I wouldn't die alone?

I couldn't get through, which made me feel even worse.

Finally, around 1 pm, my department chair came up and told us we were all to go home - it was not a request from the administration, it was an order.

I went home. I finally reached my parents. My parents are a bit older than those of others of my generation, my dad just barely remembers Pearl Harbor. My mom talks about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how scary that time was. They reassured me, as only people with a longer life-perspective can do. But my dad counseled me to be sure I had enough canned goods, and a couple gallons of water, and gas in my car.

So I ran out to get water and gas. The water was easy enough. The gas - I had to wait in line for 40 minutes or so. Some of the gas stations were really outrageously gouging - one station was charging $4.50 a gallon for gas (I used to buy gas there. Never again). Oddly, no one was rude or impatient or cut in line - everyone was tolerant of the wait, and tolerant of each other.

Finally I got back home. I don't remember much of the evening other than sitting and staring numbly at the television and trying to figure out why, and how, and not coming up with any good answers.

The next morning, the alarm on my weather-radio went off very early (there were severe thunderstorms to the south of me) and when it rang, I fell out of bed, and was terrified, thinking it was the air-raid siren and we were all doomed.

It was a strange fall - I had the joy and excitement of owning my first home coupled with the feelings of emptiness and "why am I teaching about probability when the world is about to end?" I remember some evenings of great normality, when I sat on the floor of my new house and scraped paint off the trim to prep it for a new coat of paint, my little radio next to me, tuned to a baseball game. But there were also times of fear and confusion and shock and anger.

I remember writing in my journal shortly after I bought the house that I thanked God I lived in a country where a single woman was free too, and even encouraged to, buy her own house. (I was thinking of all the women under the Taliban). But in the same journal I wrote about my feelings of dread for the future, of how we would probably be at war for the rest of my life. Of how this sealed my decision to never have children, because I didn't want to bring them into a world like this.

Two years on, I still have those conflicted feelings - most days when I'm tremendously happy and content and feel like everything is going great, and then times when I remember that no one, really, is totally safe, and one's life could change in a way you couldn't even imagine before, in the space of a few seconds.

I stopped, at the time this morning when the first plane hit the towers, and just sat. I said a prayer for the people who lost loved ones and the people who had to work or live every day of their life looking at that scar. I watched the minute click by, excruciatingly slowly.

and I said another prayer, a selfish prayer, for the peace and safety of those I love, and that I may never have to attend a funeral for someone who was killed in a terrorist attack.

My calendar tells me it's Patriot Day. In one way I find that comforting, in another I find it odd...we've made September 11th a holiday? This unsettles me and I haven't yet figured out how to feel about it.

Reading through these posts has forced me to recall that day and it's horrible terror. I had gone to class, but left early when I heard what had happened. "My brother is on a plane," was all I could think. I drove home, listening to the radio, crying, scared. As soon as I got home, I turned on the TV. Just in time to watch the Towers fall. My breath caught and my whole being simply reached out to New York, as if my will could keep the Towers standing. They fell anyway.

The rest of the day is a blur. I kept remembering the bombing my own city had received on April 19th, 1995. Why did this keep happening to us? I couldn't seem to feel safe anymore. It had happened in Oklahoma, now in New York and Washington, D.C. A crash in Pennsylvania. Wasn't anybody safe?

The anger came later. In the months that followed I found that anger being directed not only at the perpetrators, but at the rise of Anti-Americanism. People around the world were saying we had gotten our come-uppance. How COULD they? I wrote email after email, post after post standing up for my people with hundreds of others, doing what I could in my own small way to protect the honor of my country. Sadly enough, I'm still doing that. But today is not a day for anger, in my eyes. It's a day dedicated to the souls who were taken from us. It's a day for remembrance.

What I would have liked to write is a symphony.
Music that would have been jagged and dark,
discordant, looming, harsh.
Tympani booming, a crash of cymbals,
the moan of cellos and horns.
Their sound should have been large as the towers
dark as that black, oily stuff that ran down their sides
loud as the roar of an aircraft that scars the ears.

And through all that darkness,
I would have made three thousand melodies,
each one a line of light:
This from a flute,
that from a single clarinet,
here an oboe, there the high cry of a violin,
each voice living and lovely and sweet--
each cut off sharply before the melody's end.

I remember I woke up early for a 9:30 class. That’s strange by itself, because I never wake up early for anything. But I woke up early enough to take a shower (the rare pre-class shower), make toast, and turn on the television for a minute or two. But Peter Jennings was on, which was strange. Smoke was billowing out of the World Trade Center. Two planes, one at 8:46, another at 9:03 AM, had hit towers 1 and 2. But I had to leave for class.

Walking around, no one seemed to know. People were chattering before class. Our teacher was visibly shaken…he knew. In the Commerce school at the University of Virginia, there is no shortage of alumni working in the towers. Our professor canceled class, too distraught and worried over his former students to teach.

I walked downstairs. The stock tickers in the luxurious basement computer labs of the Commerce school were stopped, frozen. On brand new flat screens, I watched smoke rising from the Pentagon. 9:38 AM. Another plane. 3 planes. I remember this being the first moment I knew this wasn’t an accident. I don’t know why it took me that long, but it did. Somehow I wanted to think that two planes could hit the WTC by accident.

As I walked home, I noticed how different it seemed around campus. People were running, no one was talking, no one was laughing. I got home and I called my parents, but no lines were available. But they were fine, although that exact flight out of Washington is one my mother takes routinely, and she was in Washington that week. Thank God they were all right. Thank God.

Then I watched television. I skipped classes for the entire week…I don’t know why. When I couldn’t take the news, I drove. Just to drive. And the first time I got in the car - I’ll never forget this - the song “Birthday” by Blur came on my radio. Now Blur’s not a particularly poignant band, and they’re not American. But the song’s very right, and these are the lyrics:

It’s my birthday
No one here day
Very strange day
I think of you day
Go outside day
Sit in park day
Watch the sky day
What a pathetic day

I don’t like this day
It makes me feel too small…

I wept for the first time. Just pulled over my car and wept. And when I went to the coffee shop, and people saw my red, puffy, watery eyes, they didn’t say anything. Suddenly in our world, grief was normal. Grief was universal.

Other things happened over the following months. My political ideology slowly changed. The apologists on the far left finally drove me out of the Democratic Party (though not quite into the Republican Party). The Administration wanted blood, and so did I, and there was the connection. That’s what hooked me, old-fashioned vengeance. I can talk all day about how I align better with traditional conservative fiscal policy, but what drove me over the edge were liberal academics spouting off about how maybe we “deserved” this. Or about how, to understand 9-11, you had to “understand the context of the world in which the ‘militants’ live”. I had so much rage…a rage I can’t write about or speak about. That rage comes from the basest, blackest part of me, and I’m not particularly proud of it, but I accept it.

I can reconstruct the events in my head like a movie, hour by hour. That’s one of the reasons I can’t watch any of the documentaries they’re showing about 9-11 on television right now – to me its still so real, like yesterday.

For me, 9-11 was the day that I realized, tragically, that in this new world, there are people who would like to kill all of us, just for where and how we live. For what we like and don’t like. But it was also a day we responded to unspeakable tragedy with the indomitable spirit that makes our country so great. We should never forget that.

My story is not unique. It is not comparable to the tragedies that so many faced on this day, and I would never want to represent it as such. But it is mine, and it is real.

Driving to work this morning, the cloudless sky reminded me of a day exactly two years ago. The weather was warm in Atlanta, and I was heading to work early as we had our monthly office meeting at 9am. A brisk September morning, I distinctly remember letting my left arm lazily fall out the window as I willed myself to wake up during the two-mile journey into work. I dropped my bag off in my office, grabbed a notebook, and walked downstairs to the theatre for our weekly meeting.

Much was on my mind that day, as I was heading to New York on Friday the 14th for an interview at Sotheby's, a much-anticipated opportunity to finally get paid for my writing. I was looking forward to the interview, and also looking forward to spending time with my Dad, who worked a few weeks out of the month in New York. More specifically, worked at the World Trade Center.

As I groggily walked into the theatre, I glanced at the agenda that was being projected on the massive television screen, silently hoping that the meeting wouldn't run as long as usual. I made my way to a seat on the aisle, and as I began to sit down, my coworker swapped the agenda to a live feed from CNN of a tragedy that had just begun to unfold. A plane had hit the World Trade Center.

My memory from this point is jumbled...I remember leaving the theatre, shaking as I tried to walk up the stairs into a conference room. I remember seeing my CFO and telling him that I had to leave the meeting, that I had to get in touch with my Dad, because he was in the World Trade Center. I remember sitting in what we called the War Room, a small conference area complete with a hand-made Lego table with our company's logo inscribed upon it, and trying to remember my phone number. Any phone number. The head of sales and our soon-to-be President noticed me in the room, shaking and crying, and I remember them sitting with me and offering a collectively calm voice of reason as they told me to call the phone company and cut in on the line to my Mom in Ohio. Above all, during this sense of panic, I remember a busy signal at my home in Ohio and my Dad's cell phone going directly to voicemail.

For anyone who has ever gone through shock, it's something you'll never forget. The complete abandonment of your senses is the most frightening part - I liken it to a person with Alzheimer's who knows that they should be remembering something as simple as a phone number or a name but just can't find the facilities to do it. You exist in a daze, with mere seconds lasting hours and hours lasting seconds. It's a mishmash of confusion to the greatest extent.

I somehow ended up at my desk, and finally got through to my Mom, who was surprisingly calm and being strong, reiterating that we didn't yet know anything and that he may not have made it into work yet that day. She advised me to be calm and assured me that we would hear something, anything, soon.

I called my Mom's best friend Stephanie, who asked me which building he was in. I told her I thought it was the North building but I wasn't sure, and that his office was somewhat high up as he had just recently taken photos of the stark architecture against a clear blue sky. A sky eerily similar to the one on that day where the world changed. Still thinking that this was a freak accident, I was hopeful that perhaps he was in the building that had not been hit when Stephanie told me that there were two planes, and that both buildings had been hit. I think this is when I broke down.

As an only child, my parents have often been the center of my world. The very thought of anything happening to either of them breaks my heart even in anticipation. Seeing them grow older has shown me the stark reality that we are not invincible and depicted the role that death plays in life. Thinking that I had lost my father that day paralyzed me with fear, with regret, with desolation.

I continued trying to get in touch with my Dad, but the cell phone lines were down. Dialing the number over and over again, it was all I could do to maintain a glimmer of hope that he was alright. When my phone rang and I heard his voice on the other end, I again burst into tears. He was alive.

From our brief conversation, I found out that he had gone downstairs to the Mezzanine level with his friend Bron to get his morning cup of coffee when the first plane hit. His description of the events are catastrophic, as the impact nearly imploded the level below the street where he was at. Climbing up and out of the Mezzanine, he and Bron convened upon the street and tried to figure out what to do.

He witnessed it all first-hand. He saw the unimaginable sight of people jumping to their deaths. He was there when the buildings collapsed, running for his life. And miraculously, he made it back to the hotel, relatively unscathed, at least physically. He was one of the lucky ones.

Life changed on September 11th for all of us. Many lost their fathers, their mothers, their sons & daughters. Children lost their parents. Wives lost their husbands. And even those who the attacks didn't affect directly were changed on this day. We all lost our innocence.

Numerous stories have been done on the aftermath, how the families of the victims are coping and living and moving on. Very few, however, have been done on the families of the survivors. How the event molded some families together and how it tore others apart. How the survivors viewed life in the aftermath, some embracing life with gusto, others realizing it was too short to continue on unhappy. I was not there, did not see people jumping to their death at my feet like my father did, but I can attest that having it touch me so closely, the affects have still been many. I still wake up in the middle of the night to find tears streaming down my cheeks. I can barely remember what life was like before, when my family was intact, when a tragedy such as this was only found in a Tom Clancy novel or starred Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis on the big screen. When the feeling of protection was taken as a de facto standard in this country, when terrorism was something we only saw on the evening news on the Gaza Strip or in other, far-away lands. When a cloudless blue sky didn't remind me of that day, two years ago, where my world changed forever.

Here's a poem I'd written based on the stories of lost loved ones. The life stories of those killed in the attacks still haunt me.

Autumn Ashes
By Kathlene Stoltz Miller, 9/10/03

In your very last hour
I was not there to take your call.
“Honey, I’m trapped here…..
Please remember that I love you.”
Your voice so strong, hiding fear.
I played that message over and over
hoping to pull you from the burning sky
and hold you safely in my arms.
Could I be strong enough
to choose between flames and falling?

The children ask where you are.
Will I ever be able to watch leaves
fall from a tree on a bright crisp September day
without remembering mangled metal and broken bodies?
I feel and breathe you everywhere in the dusty haze.
Your picture is on the wall.
I call out but you’re never to be found.
If you could only be like
the phoenix who rises from the
white ash and returns to me.

Kathy sleepily rubbed her six year old eyes and rolled out of her bed. After a moment of confusion, her pulse quickened as she remembered, "We're going to see Grandma today!" Her bare feet padded softly on the plastic tiling as she sat down next to her older brother. He was so gross, eating with his mouth open. She smiled as she breathed in the smell of the bacon and eggs cooking under her mother's watch. Daddy hurried in, worried that they were running late, and that they really didn't have time for breakfast. Mommy replied that the bags were already loaded in the van and that the flight wasn't for another two hours anyway.

Marie awoke to the drone of an automated wakeup call. She walked to the bathroom, clumsily assembled the cheap coffee maker that the hotel provided, and began to put on her makeup. As she applied her "warpaint", as her ex-husband had always called it, she noticed the lines again. Her friend Sara said that she worried too much about it. But when you're 45 and a flight attendant, and gorgeous 25 year old blondes with fake boobs start popping up like chickweed, you do worry about it. When you're freshly divorced for the second time, you worry about it. She was lonely...so lonely. But right now, she would kill the hangover with coffee, put on her uniform and drive the rented Taurus to work.

Bill (no longer "Billy") finally gave up his fight with sleep. That is, he had had none of it all night long. Maybe he'd be able to relax a bit more on the flight, he thought. But who was he kidding? He lay there thinking: by tonight, I could have sold a play. He knew he was good. He'd won awards, praise, blah, blah, blah, but when that director, in his town at his beachhouse on vacation, had stopped in to see his play...well, it was almost enough to make him believe in fate. The play was his best ever, about a kidnapper and his victim, two people, one stage, two hours. The structure had forced him to make every word, every movement count. He could see now that what he'd abandoned four times might now turn out to be his salvation. No, not might. Even if this play didn't sell, he now knew that he was worth listening to. Now he would make the world listen.

Jim bent over, breathing heavily, wet with sweat. The morning run had been much harder than it had been for a while. The cold, September air seemed to claw at his lungs with every step, this time. Still, the cold was a comfort. He was probably the only New Yorker who looked at snow and cold weather as a blessing, but then they had never been in the hot, wet hell of central Vietnam. Even now he could feel the steam on the back of his twenty year old neck, as he hauled a twenty pound pack and a ten pound flak jacket. His squad buddies, who'd been in country for longer than he had, told him to ditch the flak jacket and avoid dehydration, but he had resisted. And a thousand other horrible moments like that and far worse that would follow for the next three years. He thought it was funny how three years could define the course of fifty-three. How, suddenly, you could go from riding your father's tractor to being a "war hero", whatever that meant. He thought about his friends, his brothers, who still lay in some swamp over there, and always would. It made the word "hero" taste sickly in his mouth. But his breath had returned to him, and he shook off the weight of the years in his mind. He had a soft and easy job now in the Towers, smiling hello to the office-workers in the morning, checking ID badges, escorting long faced former employees, cardboard box laden, out of the building. Just a few more years, and he and Karen would move out to the sticks and open up an antique store. Or something...it didn't matter.


Like most people, I was going about my business the morning of 9/11/01 totally unaware of what was happening. I found out soon enough as a co-worker sent me a short, shocked note on my pager.

The rest of the day I was dazed. They sent us home from work, later my wife and I went out to dinner, did some drinking, watched that same horrendous video over and over and over... Barb became morose, I got angry.

If you want to read my thoughts the evening of 9/11/01, I posted to the following to my website that evening. I was angry, I'm still angry. If you're offended by strong language, don't read it.


I'm happy for the people of Iraq that they no longer have to live under the whip of Saddam Hussein's regime. I'm disgusted with the Palestinians and other followers of the "Religion of Peace" who feel that killing others in the name of Allah is the only way to justify their existence. I'm hopeful that we can show other Islamist nations that hope and freedom are preferable to fear and terror.

My first memory of that day is my mother telling me to get out of bed and come down to the television. She was saying something about planes hitting the twin towers and an attack on the Pentagon. I got up, raced downstairs, sat in front of our big 27-inch tv, rubbed my groggy eyes and watched smoked pouring from the towers. I was hoping this was some cruel accident, but knew war was at hand.

As I look through my journal entries (no, I don't put all my writing on the Net) I was filled with war rage. I wrote,
This must be treated as an act of war. This isn't a criminal issue; it's a military issue.
It was Osama bin Laden, and he should be killed.
The U.S. response must be as strong as an Israeli response. We cannot look weak. Nukes shouldn't be off the table. When they find out who did this, Congress should declare war. They must do their constitutional duty.
I also noticed the surrealism. In another entry I described people walking away from Ground Zero,
They looked like ghosts. Some of the survivors from WTC were caked with grey-white dust.
Watching the plane crash into the 2nd tower was like something from a James Bond movie.
Ironically, the night before, I was watching a James Bond movie.

[This is also posted on my weblog (http://www.theamericanmind.com/mt-test/archives/013933.html).]

Oh, how we who, in abject, speechless horror, watched the mass-murders were shaken. Let us be forever stirred.

I wrote this this morning, wanted to share it with all of you.

As I woke up this morning, I obviously had an awareness of the date; that two years ago today occurred the most horrific American tragedy committed on our soil – it’s hard to be an American and not at least have an awareness of the significance of September 11. As I got out of the shower and went into my bedroom and turned on the same TV on the same dresser in my bedroom as I did two years ago, almost to the minute, I watched the memorials in Arlington National Cemetery, the children of victims of the World Trade Center attacks, and the memorial in Pennsylvania for the victims of Flight 93, and I was overcome with a powerful mixture of sadness, grief, and anger, all in larger quantities than I can ever remember feeling. I’ve never lost anyone in my immediate family, never lost a friend or teammate or co-worker – this tragedy is probably the most painful loss I’ve endured, and I didn’t even personally know anyone who died on September 11, 2001.

As I watched those children announce about 20 or so names each at the World Trade Center memorial, finishing with the name of their respective fathers or mothers who lost their life on that day, I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to experience such a powerful loss. They had no idea when they kissed their Moms and Dads goodbye that fateful morning that it would be the last time they would see the person who brought them into this world, raised them, cared for them and nurtured them, hoped to see them graduate high school and get married and have kids of their own. Even after the whole country became aware of the attacks that morning, I’m sure they knew their mom or dad worked in the World Trade Center, and they had to endure an entire day at school or work, wondering whether or not their father made it out, or whether he was one of the more than 3000 people who died that morning. I tried to imagine how they felt, thinking “my mommy flew on a plane out of New Jersey this morning” and having to wonder if her plane was one of the ones that crashed so horrifically that morning. I couldn’t even comprehend what that must have felt like. I can think back to times in my life when I’ve had to wait for the results of something as mundane or relatively trivial as a test score or an acceptance letter, how slow the day seemed to go by, the countless times I would play and replay the possible outcomes in my head. Can you imagine having to wonder “Is my dad dead?” “Did he make it out alive?” “Will I ever see my mother again?” Then to come home from school that day, to see the look on their mother’s face, and to come to find out they’ve lost their father forever. Or to come home and find no one there at all. There is no anticipation of such a loss, as is when we lose loved ones to disease, no closure as we can attend a wake to say goodbye. The presence of someone so important to their life was simply stripped away, never to return, no closure to be found, no goodbyes to be made. Gone forever are their mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, friends and co-workers – people that are so very much a part of our lives one day, then gone and never to return the next.

As I tried to comprehend such remorse within, my thoughts then leapt to the cause of such immense pain and hurt to the countless families in our great country that were affected by that loss on 9/11. I realized – not one single person who was in that building or on those planes asked for such a fate. Not one family member who lost a loved on that morning could have anticipated what happened, nor did they in any way do anything to deserve such a fate. They were all at work, or headed to a destination, contributing to the greater good of our country in a peaceful manner – they were not out, injecting hate and fear and even considering the taking of innocent lives. I highly doubt that even one of the 3000+ innocent American civilians we lost that day woke up that morning and even cursed the name of the Islamic extremists, or thought to themselves “I hope a few people from the Middle East die today.”

We are not the ones who brought this hatred and murder into our world. They are. We are not the ones who initiated such a horrific, murderous act of war. They are. We are not the ones who sought out to destroy the lives of so many people, innocent people, people whose paths have probably never even crossed. THEY ARE. I feel as if people often forget that – people not only around the world, but also within the borders of our own great nation. Had those murderous acts of September 11, 2001 not taken place, does anyone believe that we would be on the forefront of a global war as we are today? We are not the instigators of this battle with terrorism. This war was brought to us, on our soil, from the wreckage of the World Trade Centers, right down to the hearts and souls of the families and loved ones who remain. If our President feels even a fraction of the sadness and anger that I do today, he must have the same overwhelming desire that I do to avenge the deaths of those innocent Americans. If the pain of those thousands of families can transcend his emotions as it has mine, he must at the very least want to do anything and everything in his power to ensure that our country does suffer another heartbreak and bloodshed as it did on 9/11. And as I watch the news and read the papers, and see the pain and loss in the eyes of those children, and feel the incredible sadness within for the tragic loss of innocent lives, I still read as the surviving Al Qaeda network continues to threaten our country, even on this day. The heartless bastards can’t even give us a day to mourn the immense loss we felt two years ago, a loss they caused. They continue to threaten our national security, our civilians, our country, even on the day when we as a country hurt the most. This threat is very real, it is not going away, and most importantly, it was not instigated by us.

So as we as a nation mourn today, still under the threat of attack from a group of people that have such hatred in their blood that they would disrespect our right to mourn as a nation, after they took so many Americans – innocent Americans like you and me – out of this world without any provocation - I ask each of you to think of what it would feel like if you came home from work today to find out you lost a loved one in another attack. What would it feel like if another attack occurred this morning, at a building where a loved one of yours worked or lived, and you had to spend the entire day wondering if that kiss you gave your wife, son or daughter was your last? What if you had to come to the realization that this morning was the last time you will ever see your father or mother again? Without any choice, without any warning, without any closure, that someone who brought so much love into your life was taken away for you, when they didn’t even do anything wrong? If you could anticipate such a horrible thing happening to you, would you still believe we truly should stand down and ignore such a threat? If you could prevent such a great and tragic loss in some way, would you?

What would you do?

I don't think I am sufficiently self aware to write about how I'm a different person as a result of the 2 Boeing planes hitting 2 buildings. Maybe I'll sort that all out 20 years from now.

Instead, I'm just going to give you the facts. Who. What. Where. When. How. Where was I when the planes hit? How did I find out? What was the first thing I said?

Where was I? I was at 69th Street and Lexington at Hunter College giving a quiz to 52 students in my Introduction American Political Science class. I give this quiz every semester. It's the weed-out-the-dead-wood-before-the-drop-deadline quiz. It never seems to work. I should probably abandon it.

I was 4 weeks pregnant, and I had done my ritualistic purging before the class. I was terrified of vomiting during class, so I made sure that if I had to puke, I would do it in the secrecy of the faculty bathroom.

After collecting the moutain of blue books, I raced out of the building at 10:30. I was stressed out about Jonah. On that day, he was too sick to go to his regular babysitter, so my mom was watching him at our place. I was insanely worried that mom was was going to get locked out of our apartment after a morning walk. It requires an experienced hand to work the antique lock on the door. I was also worried that her allegies were plaguing her. That she was going to have a hard time getting Jonah up the stairs. That Jonah's fever had gone up. All those things.

Looking back on that I'm not sure why I was so stressed, as I ran out the building towards Madison. Mom can handle a sick kid. Maybe the pregnancy hormones were working overtime. Maybe I could sense the stress of a million people just south of me who were running as fast as they could away from the twin towers.

When I got to Madison at 10:35, there was clearly something going on. Two M4 buses roared past my stop. Too full to stop. My first thought was that the 6 train was on the blink. That does happen. There were some extra people running around on the street, but it didn't flag my attention yet.

I was enough uptown so that I couldn't see the buildings. And the wave of people migrating northward hadn't hit yet.

After the fifth bus roared past me, I was starting to think that this wasn't a normal 6 train track fire. The bus was so full that people were falling over the driver. When the sixth bus stoppped to let someone out, I screamed at the driver, "What is going on?" He pointed behind him, and for the first time, I saw a mountain of smoke. That must have been the second building going down.

Still, I had no idea what was going on. NYC experiences thousands of mini-crisises every year -- water main breaks, fires in old warehouses, track fires. That's what I expected. Who would have thought that terrorists had hit us?

Meanwhile I was still waiting on Madison Avenue totally clueless. And having a hissy fit because I was stressed out about getting home. I imagined my mom with a red nose sitting on the front steps of my apartment with a wailing 2 year old.

Full cabs flew past me. I did manage to flag one down, but three other women asked if they could share. I got out, because I wanted to get home so badly that I couldn't wait. I'm still ashamed that I was so blind.

I walked further west, and finally got on a cross town bus. Now I knew that something was happening that couldn't be blamed on the 6 train. I turned to the other people on the bus and said, "What is GOING ON?" An older woman said, "you don't know?" And I said, "no." And she scoffed, "Well, if you don't know, then I'm not going to tell you." There are all these stories about how good New Yorkers were in the crisis. But there was still a lot of bad behavior, too. What made that woman turn her back to me at that moment? Was she too full of horror to tell a stranger the truth?

I heard from a young Latina in the seat next to me who wore a walkman. I gasped. She said, "don't panic. don't panic" as much to me as to herself. It took me a long time to say anything. I thought about waiting on line to take the elevator at the WTC to the observation deck. It was so crowded. My first words were, "all those people."

The bus dropped me off at 59th St, Columbus Circle. There were no more buses. And the wave of people from downtown were now in midtown. I started my long walk home along Central Park West. Mute crowds trudged north. No one said a word. I stopped at a sidewalk vendor to buy a soda and a chocolate bar. I had to feed the sleeping baby inside of me.

At one point I stopped next to a parked car where the owner had turned his radio on full blast. Howard Stern was telling listeners to not panic. Howard heard that people were pulling Arab drivers out of their cabs and beating them. He told people to stop it. Other walkers stopped to rest against a tree and listen with me.

Then I headed back on my walk. I had no idea where my husband was. He works at Times Square, so I was sure he was safe. But we didn't have a cell phone, so I couldn't call him. Not that cell phones were working by that point anyway.

After forty blocks, I again was lucky enough to get a cab. The driver stopped right in front of me to let someone out. The Indian driver was very upset. After he dropped me off, he went back to Wall Street to help more.

When I got home, my husband was already there. They had evacuated his building very quickly, because there were great concerns that Times Square would be the next target. He had walked all the way home, but still had beat me back.

My dad was working in the city that day. Before getting my mom, he drove his office secretary to New Jersey.

We called family to say we were okay. We ran through our list of friends to think who might have been there. All were okay. Ut was late for work. Eliza was outside. Thank God.

Then we watched TV for two days straight until our two year old started smashing his cars into piles of blocks.

(also to be found at www.apartment11d.blogspot.com)

I was in North Carolina on September 11, 2001. We own a small business building there, and my wife lives there full-time, while I'm usually back-and-forth, working at various locations as a contract design consultant/engineer. I was between contracts at the time, though, and recovering from some surgery, so I was there, and we were just getting ready to open a cafe we were running in the business building. I was in the kitchen, setting things up, when my wife called to me from the dining area. She had turned on the radio, to get the music system going in the customers' area, and it was just after 9:00 o'clock, and the first thing she heard was the early reports on the first plane, the one that hit the North Tower.

I stood there, listening for a bit to the radio, disbelieving at first.

Then, when we got set up for the day, I went into the storage shelves and got out the small portable t.v. set we kept there. By the time I got it set up and working, the second plane had hit the South Tower, and the first reports about the plane that hit the Pentagon were coming out.

Between customers, all day, we kept the t.v. going. There were no customers, after awhile - I guess everyone was at home or at work, watching and/or listening like we were.

Somehow, for weeks, the whole thing had a surreal, science-fictiony feel to it - until, in November, my wife came to stay with me for awhile in Connecticut, where I had gone on a new contract job, and we went to New York on a weekend visit. The first place we went, on a clear, chilly Saturday, was to Ground Zero - and the horrid, frightening reality finally came.

We walked completely around the fenced-off perimeter of the zone of destruction. It was an absolutely unforgettable circumnavigation.

I cannot imagine how anyone old enough to have formed any sort of personal memories of that day and its events can ever possibly forget it. I know that I never will.

For me, for my generation, this has the significance, as a world-changing event, that the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan had for our parents - and is, indeed, the symbolic equivalent, as well.

In my view, there is no clear separation in this country between those who were personally acquainted with someone who died that terrible day, and those who were not - we all suffered the loss of those who perished. It is simply a matter of greater or lesser degree of pain and shock from the loss.

We have only begun to repay the horror and the loss.

My husband and I live in Wisconsin. I remember getting up that morning and thinking about what a beautiful day it was. The weather was perfect. I had to work, and my husband had the day off.
I started work at 8:00 AM CDT, which was about 15 minutes after the first plane hit the North Tower. My husband called me about 10 minutes later. He had CNN on, and was describing what was going on. I was shocked and numb. As we were talking, he saw the second plane hit the South Tower live. I remember him shouting, and I felt like I was going to be sick. I work in a government building, and a deputy was dispatched to stand at the front door of the building. I didn't feel frightened for my personal safety. I just felt profound sadness for all of those people on the planes, in the WTC, at the Pentagon, and on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. I also felt angry. I felt disconnected, and numb for a long time after 9/11. I felt helpless. I wanted to drop everything I was doing, and go over to New York City and help whatever way I could. I'm in the Navy Reserves, and quite a few people I know were mobilized. I'm very proud of our Armed Forces, and I pray for them. Our country changed on that day. The terrorists thought they would divide us. They are very wrong. We are strong. We will survive.

I don't have any interesting recollections from 9/11/2001 other than horror, shock and grief. I didn't know anyone who died that day and I was in Atlanta. But I have a few thoughts on my blog.

Today, I Cried.

I was sitting in the passenger seat of my parents’ old car. It was a wedding present. My husband was driving us to our weekly appointment with Steve who was counseling us. He was a pastor but he wasn’t our pastor. He was a family friend. We needed help and he was the only person I could convince my husband to go to.

I remember it was a sunny day in Michigan. The air was crisp. We were on a highway driving south past an outlet mall and cornfields. I turned the radio on and heard the DJ talking about a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. I thought it was just a freak accident. I half listened to the report while I thought about my husband and our lives. And then the second plane hit.

"Oh. My. God." I said it out loud, forceful and deliberate. I’ll never forget the feeling of that moment. My skin crawled. My stomach turned. I thought about all of the people that were dying. I wondered who could do this?

We finally arrived at the church for our appointment but none of us were really able to concentrate on anything but New York. Eventually it was my husband’s turn to be alone with Steve. I listened to a radio in the other room trying to gather facts and make sense of it all. I felt so helpless.

I don’t remember the rest of that day.

I remember my husband crying one day as he sat in front of the computer trying to explain how someone on his internet game half way around the world just didn’t understand what it was to be an American in the wake of the attacks.

I remember a night at a restaurant with some Canadian friends of mine. They were talking about what happened. I sat quietly and listened, and I tried not to cry. One of them stopped and asked me if I was bothered by the conversation. I lied and said that I wasn't.

My marriage was already over by that day. Less than a month later I packed as much as I could into my crappy car when my husband was out, and I drove across the country to California. There was no other way to do it.

In these last 2 years I’ve learned a lot.

I learned what it felt like to be proud and protective of my country when I watched the people of New York respond to the attack. Conversely, I learned what it felt like to be deeply ashamed of my President and my country when Bush so hastily sent us to war.

I’ve learned personal things. I’ve learned that I’m worth so much more then to put up with any physical or emotional abuse. I learned how to fall madly in love and I learned how to love my body. I've learned a lot about loosing love too.

Death doesn’t horrify me like it did two years ago, but I feel sorrow for the people that lost someone that they loved on that day.

Today, I cried when I watched the children of people who died in the World Trade Center read off the names of their loved ones.

I'm in Melbourne, Australia, a far cry from the great US of A and the tragety that befell the city of New York. Some people have argued with me over the fact that I care at all. I do though. But occasionally I still get a comment like "You're not a US citizen, you don't have family there, you don't have the right to mourn". But I do. Everyone's got the right to be in shock, even two years later.

I had only just gotten out of bed, about 7.20am Australian EST, so it was already mid-day in New York on the 11th. I'd slept in and because of that I was angry. Why hadn't anyone woken me up?! I was going to be late for work. I charged into my mother's room to find her still in bed, but awake. She looked hollow-eyed and harried. I was immediately worried thinking that she wasn't feeling well.

"Looks like we've both slept in, what's wrong?"

"A couple of planes crashed into the World Trade Centre." Her voice was quiet, tired, sad.

Surely she hadn't just said "a couple planes" had she? And anyway, what on earth was the World Trade Centre? No. I didn't know. Sad, hey?

"The two big buildings in New York, you don't know about them?"

That jogged my memory back to a postcard I'd seen with these two monster buildings sticking up in the middle of the new York skyline.

"Oh. An accident?" I asked, still not grasping the fact that two planes, not one, had hit the towers.

"No... Sandra Sully [our late-night news reporter] was on TV around midnight... she saw the plane on the live feed... It's an attack."

It only barely registered then, exactly what she was saying.

"How big were the planes?"

"Passenger jets... 747s."

"Oh... holy shit. People in...?" I didn't even want to finish the sentence but Mum knew what I was asking and nodded, wordless. I wasn't a fan of flying then, I'm still not now. Falling to ones death is a concept that terrifies me. This was worse.

I turned around and got dressed. Mum didn't tell me that an hour later the towers fell. She'd been watching all night but she still dropped me off at the station so I could travel by train to my early shift.

I sat down to see a girl across the way from me with tears in her eyes, looking much like my mother had. The train was quiet, all the way to work and it was obvious those who had not heard yet knew that something was definitely wrong and kept their mouths shut. It seemed no one wanted to talk about it. Being so far removed from the States, it was apparent that no one wanted to believe it could happen. I mean - America was the super-power country, yeah? C'mon! Nothing like that could happen.

I got out at my city station 45 minutes later and bought a paper - one that had huge pictures of one tower smoking and another with it's top third engulfed in a fireball. I gasped and folded the paper. I didn't want to know anymore, but there was no getting away from it. It had happened.

I got to work and only two people were there, the same two that are always there that early in the morning. They both had a paper and were reading, silent.

I turned the radio on to hear the voice of a woman crying to the DJ, he was trying to be comforting but it was obvious he was only barely keeping it together himself. "I'm so scared, I don't want to die," she sobbed. If it had been any other day, I would have called her a moron, but at that moment, I was just as scared.

By about 9.30am (our time) the office was full of people but all of them were quiet and reserved. The radio was on everywhere and we listened.

Later in the morning, we heard the Presidents address to the nation. Not even the phones rang - which was very weird because I work a very busy legal firm helpdesk.

It was at that time when reason for me just blanked out. My friends. Seven years chatting online to people and you get to be close friends with a handful, many from the States. As I said, reason left me. I emailed everyone I knew - people who lived nowhere near NYC, I posted a message on a forum board I was a regular on with a message pleading for people to get back to me, just to let me know that they were alright.

I got an email back from practically everyone I knew. They were fine, in shock like I was, but safe. My worry alleviated a little.

By the end of the day, the radio DJs had put together a compilations of comments from the American news and played them along with a song - "These Days" by Australian indy band, Powderfinger.

I still cannot listen to that song without feeling teary.

Last year, the whole of Melbourne seemed to be steeling itself. What would happen? Would there be another attack just to rub salt in the wounds of those people already hurting.

Nothing happened.

I remember sitting on the couch and watching the broadcast of the NYC mayor reading out the names of all the people who died in the attack.

For me, THAT was when it hit home.

"Holy fuck," thought I, "they all have names..."

Then I watched the documentary by those French Brothers...

The only thing I remember is the sound that they managed to capture of bodies... bodies... people who had decided they would rather jump and fly to their deaths than be burned alive. Bodies hitting the roof of the concourse. The distinct heavy and very final-sounding thud. The shock and realisation of exactly what that noise was on the faces of the firemen in that documentary.

At that moment, that noise, and the names... I cried. For hours, I cried.

They weren't just Americans. They were people. Friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, god-parents, grand-parents, cousins.. some with family, some without... People.

I mourned them then like they were my own family.

Some people think I don't have the right to mourn them like that. But we are all one race - human. In one way or another - we're all related.

I selfishly mourned the loss of Western innocence. Nothing's the same.

I am still coming to grips with the changes 9/11 has wrought on me. I, along with the rest of the country, sat transfixed by the horror of the carnage inflicted upon us by those subhuman "religious fanatics". I used to consider myself a liberal, if not a Democrat. And a longtime NPR and BBC listener and supporter. I have been voting since 1976, and have only voted for one Republican in a presidential election, Gerald Ford. Now I can't stomach NPR or the BBC, their biases now exposed to me in the glare of the burning towers. And the Democrats that fiddled during the eight years of Clintons presidency while Al Queda grew and thrived should be ashamed and shunned. I find myself in a Cotton Mather frame of mind, and will make a not entirely satiric modest proposal. The radical Islamic world is willing to die for Allah. Right. Then I wish to facilitate that for them. I propose that there are no innocents in the Arab Islamic world who will be spared. Kill them all. History has evidence that this will be worthwhile. Have the citizens of Dresden or Berlin been a problem for us lately? How about Hiroshima or Nagasaki? I keep hearing how the Arab world only respects those who show strength and resolve. Resolve to begin killing them all, until they beg for peace. And don't give me any of that "we are better than that" or "that will just bring us down to their level". You can't negotiate with these people. And those who carry out these heinous acts, those who provide safe haven, money, and material support, as well as those who APPLAUD the carnage, are all our targets. You can't dehumanize these people, they have already done that by their words, deeds, and actions. Enough already. You want me and my family dead? Well what a coincidence....


An Open Letter to Haters of America (External and Internal)

On this second anniversary of the greatest mass murder in the United States’ history, I took the time to review the foreign and domestic press for commemorative comments. Sadly, what I found did not surprise me. I found in the domestic press mawkishly false platitudes about the “humanity” of the event espoused by columnists who will tomorrow or next week return to their usual words of attack on the “failures”, the “costs” and the “lack of foresight” of the global war on terror. Next week they will again be writing columns asking “Can’t we all just get along?”

Perhaps if those domestic columnists took the time as I did today to read the foreign (the middle-eastern, in particular) columns, they would see that there is no just getting along with terrorists. Just as there is no intent on the part of Rodney King, the source of their quotation, to get along with anyone or anything remotely civilized, regardless of his published protestations.

Today I read columns and transcripts from France, Germany, the Palestinian Authority, and even Great Britain that called for the continued killing of Americans. The common theme seemed to be that 9-11-01 was the blow that woke the “sleeping giant” and called her into a battle in which the forces of Allah will prevail.

Well, two years ago today nineteen murderers did indeed awake a giant that had been insulated by the “comforters” of two oceans. Two years ago, the U.S. realized that having a cover or comforter over your head as does a child fearing monster in the closet doesn’t really work. Not even the two blankets provided by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans worked. Two years ago we discovered that those blankets had worn dangerously thin and were too porous to offer much protection from the brutal elements extant in the current world climate. We discovered that the monster was out of the closet. We also (well some of us, anyway) realized that we were the ones who left that danged closet door open and had eroded the effectiveness of the comforters. Hell, we pretty much nailed that closet door open and put out a welcome mat for the monsters on which to wipe and hone their claws as they arrived in response to our engraved invitations. We so frequently washed and picked so much lint off of our comforters/security blankets by way of budget cuts and political correctness, that they became inconsequential and ineffective barriers to murderous thugs. (Student visas, wide-open borders, ineffectual INS, ‘Come to California and get a driver’s license all illegals!’ Etc…).

Yes. “The Monster” came into our room because we let him.

Now that he is in our room, it is it or we. Now we must kill it or be killed by it. And now we must take steps to ensure that the closet door stays shut and barred so that we can sleep peacefully and secure in the knowledge that our borders are guarded and that those among us who will attempt to unman the security of our borders for the sake of diversity are disabled. Now we must come to grips with the fact that this country is at war. We can no longer mollycoddle those who would come here and hide in our closets until the time is ripe to kill us. No longer can we allow the monsters within our borders to facilitate the monster’s entrance into our abodes by our buying-into their politically correct, and seemingly Rodney King based policies.

When I read about allowing illegal aliens more and more rights normally reserved for U.S. citizens such as health care, driver licenses, and anything else that supports the “Get Along Agenda”, I recognize the writers and the politicians written about, as the monsters that they are. If a media representative or politician argues for the rights of someone who is in this country illegally in a time of war, I am forced to at least question the motives of that representative. Often as not, after I have researched the motives and background of that representative, I find that they are not mere accomplices to the monsters, they are themselves monsters. They have become possessed by the fearful forces that wish only to destroy us. And, unwittingly, and full of fervent good intent, they write and speak the word of the monsters. They promulgate the enemy’s evil screed. And they sleep well at night certain that they have done an important thing.

In their own minds they are happy as they sleep. I’ll not begrudge anyone the courage of their convictions and its resultant blissful sleep. But... I will tell these ‘enemies within' that they are not as safe as they think when they lie down each night. Their hubris and/or personal gain motive is facilitating the monster’s closet door lock picking ability, and hence their endangerment. Monsters have little use for sycophantic mouthpieces once their usefulness has expired.

I am not a columnist. I am not syndicated. I am merely a citizen of the United States that is far more representative of the true “Joe Six-Pack”/”Real American” than are the internal monsters masquerading as columnists or politicians of which I speak. I am not politically correct. I call ‘em like I see ‘em. And I see the following:

Our internal monsters are preoccupied with the ethics of Rodney King.

Our internal monsters think that we can “talk this thing out” with the terrorists.

Our external monsters are VERY real. And they VERY much appreciate the inside help from the internal monsters..

Real Americans don’t hide under the covers for very long. We might pull them up for a moment when first startled, but our history shows that when the threat is discovered to be real, we will take the higher ground and eliminate the threatening monsters.

Duck and cover monsters.

Rugged individualism is the most prevalent and auspicious trait innate in true Americans. Reference the firefighters, airline passengers, police, and rescuers, et al who died two years ago today. Reference those troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who have died for us. They died for our safety and for our security. I for one do not intend to allow the foreign or domestic monsters to take this rugged individualism away from me. I intend to do everything in my power to hang on to it, and to kill the monsters with it by supporting my country’s efforts.


I open my eyes to find myself surrounded by the sky. There is nothing in front of me but the clear blue sky. I feel as though I could fly away. Fly away to what, though? I look down at the buildings I am towering over. My heart jumps as my body stands still. Thousands of feet up, I am looking down at a distant image. I feel removed and yet I yearn for the freedom of flying like a plane. My arm begins to reach and my body begins to tilt further and further. I feel myself getting closer. I am almost there. I can almost feel the clouds in my grasp. Swish! My heart and the tower I had been standing on are now racing by me.

What is this white substance? I reach to touch it, intrigued. The white substance begins to seep into my skin and spread through my body. What is this white substance? Who could have put it here? Did I leave the door open? Who would have done this? They must know of my family connection. Are they after my whole family? What is this white substance? No longer an exterior matter. Now it is trickling through my empty veins and consuming me. I feel my body get weaker as the minutes pass by. I can see this white substance flowing through my veins. It is going to kill me. I will not let it kill another person. I reach for the knife and with a swift slash I cut my wrists open. I watch the skin separate and the white substance ooze out from my flesh.

It is a hot summer day in the middle of June. My entire family and I are outside enjoying the warmth of the sun when suddenly a bright flash in the distant sky shocks us all. What seems to be a ball of fire descends towards our earth. We watch this magnificent sight but deep down I know the horror it will bring. As it crashes into the ground far in the distance, we all feel the earth tremble beneath our feet. And the disintegration begins. Gasps of deadly burning winds spread out. We can feel the air getting thicker with the smell of burning skin coming straight for us. Time stands still. Grasping each others’ arms we cling tight, squeezing all of the life out of each other. Opening our mouths, yearning for our last good byes, we feel the wind on our bones as it carries us away to disintegration.

Walking on the sidewalk trying to avoid the cars, I decide to take a shortcut down an alley. I know this will be much quicker and I am always in a hurry to get to work. No one is around and I must admit I am a little uneasy. I hear footsteps behind me. Is someone there? With a quick turn of my head, I see a man walking in the distance. I cannot see any features, but he is big, much bigger than I. However, I will not be deterred on my path. I am going to get to the office. But I do begin to walk faster. As my speed increases, I can hear his footsteps double. All of a sudden I feel his hands grab tight around my shoulders and neck. What is happening? I am tense and scared for only a moment. I begin to feel a sense of openness and spreading of myself, a vulnerability to the world around me. I start to feel something wet trickle down my chest. It is becoming harder for me to hold my head up. My body begins to sink into the earth. The man’s grasp has decreased and when I open my eyes he is hovering over me. It is getting hard for me to breathe. I see a dark skinned man standing over me, the man I have seen on TV. He speaks nothing only stares deep into my eyes until I hear him say “Vanessa.”

I am sitting at a table in a white room: white walls, white carpet, and white table cloth. Could this be a family party? We are all eating a good old fashioned Polish meal with my extended family; aunts, uncles, grandchildren, cousins, and grandparents. Everyone is here. We continue talking about the latest family gossip when I get a gentle tap on the shoulder.
“Why can’t they hear me?”
“What?” I said, confused. “Yes they can.”
My cousin yells at the top of her lungs and no one is stirred. How can this be? She is sitting in the chair right next to me. I touch her body and am suddenly connected to her both physically and mentally. Her skin is cold and crisp. That cold and crisp sensation begins to trickle up my arm and throughout the rest of my body. My mind is taken on a journey of horror. I close my eyes and I begin to see it, the explosion and the disintegration.

Lying in bed I hear my baby scream. My eyes open wide, as I jump out of bed. Tripping over the toys through the dark long hallway, I hear the endless screams continue. The walls are black. I am having trouble breathing. The air is thick but I continue to push through. I enter her room. I rush over to her crib to give some comfort. Small tears are dripping down her face. I embrace her. The horrifying screams stop. What was wrong? Did you have a nightmare? I rock her back in forth in my arms. I look down at my beautiful child. She is covered in a black film. Her white eyes stand out shockingly. My hands are sinking through her. Her weightless body begins to turn to ashes as she disintegrates in my arms.

As I walk down a hill on my way to my next class, I notice that almost every person is on a cell phone. Why is it that Americans have cell phones attached to their ear all the time? I am walking next to a man on his phone and cannot help but overhear bits and pieces of his conversation. “We will never be the same.” “Those poor people.” “We watched it unfold on the news.” “So many deaths.” Watching him walk away in another direction from mine, I wondered what he was talking about. Who will never be the same? What poor people? What did he watch? Who died?

I wake?

I will never forget that day. Have you? I do not think anyone has. It hit the hearts of many. Especially my family. We will never be the same.
On that misty autumn day, after hearing excerpts of that man’s conversation I was oblivious to how drastically different my life was going to be in about an hour. I walked the same path that I always walked. I saw the same people I passed by everyday. I passed by the same buildings. Nothing was different. Or so I thought. I was living in my own little bubble completely unaffected by the outside world.
After getting settled in class, I overheard my friends talking about people dying. What were they talking about? I listened, intrigued. New York. Towers. Planes. Pentagon. Hitting my heart but still not my home, I asked what happened. Then I heard the words World Trade Center and my world began to shatter. Vanessa.
I immediately called home praying for her safety. I kept telling myself my cousin is fine. She will be okay.
“Sweetie… have you heard?”
“Where is she?”
“Vanessa is okay. Please calm down. Your Aunt Vivian spoke to her on the phone this morning after the plane hit.”
The first plane.

“Vanessa? Where are you?”
“I am okay. We are being evacuated so I must go. I love you!”
The phone cut out. I knew she was going to be safe. But why hasn’t she called back? It’s been over a half hour since we last talked. She has to be evacuated by now. My little baby has to come home to me. God please keep her safe! She is only twenty-two. So much life to live. She graduated top of her class at Georgetown and beat out five hundred other applicants for her job. Should I have let her go? I should have told her no. I should have made her stay home. She could have gotten a job in Chicago. What am I saying? She is safe.
The TV keeps playing the clip of the plane crashing into the tower. Why won’t they stop? I can’t imagine what the loved ones of those who worked in that building must be thinking. Thank God my daughter wasn’t in that tower. Thank God she is safe. Emptiness fills my stomach and heart. What will I do if my baby never comes home? This cannot be happening.

I wiped the tears from my face and walked back inside the classroom. I felt as though every pair of eyes was on me. I had to get out of there. The walk back to my dorm felt like an eternity had passed. I walked on the same path I normally walk home. I passed by the same people and the same buildings, and yet nothing was the same. It never would be.
Over and over the image of the plane plummeting into the World Trade Center was played on the TV. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was the horrible event that the man was talking about on his phone. Wiping the tears from my eyes and praying for the lives lost in that building, the second tragedy crashed right into my heart, as though I had run into a brick wall. Falling out of the sky a plane crashed and exploded right into the second building. Vanessa’s building. Rumble soaring down past the building. Fire balls full of human ashes. Smoke. My stomach came up my throat as I watched the plane disintegrate part of the building. All that was left as the smoke subsided were two towers containing large holes. Similar to the hole that still remains in my heart.
Vanessa was in that building. I prayed for her safety, but I knew she was being evacuated. She was safe. Still, all those lives now lost. How could anyone kill innocent people? Fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, wives, husband, fiancées, siblings, cousins, aunts, best friends. Vanessa is one of my best friends, not just a cousin. We grew up a block away from each other and went to the same grade school. She was like an older sister. We were almost sisters since our fathers were cousins and our mothers were sisters. We shared almost identical blood. Will my blood partly be hers forever? Will I ever have the chance to tell her I love her and hug her?

Waiting by the phone is the hardest thing to do. Why hasn’t she called? I can’t even get in touch with my other daughter in New York. All the phone lines must be down. Jesus Christ! I feel as though the smoke is encompassing my own body. The towers are collapsing. Side by side. Plummeting to the earth. People are trapped inside. Bodies crushed beneath the rumble. Disintegrated lives forever gone. I see my daughter flash before my eyes. Her smile. Her eyes. Will I ever see my baby again?

That day seemed as though it went on forever. Night began to fall. I couldn’t leave the television. I kept calling home, but there was no word. The telephone lines were down in New York City. Vanessa was not picking up her cellphone. My Aunt kept trying. Every time I closed my eyes I saw the planes, the towers, and the ash. It was never ending. I must have woken up a million times that night with tears in my eyes from the terror filled nightmares. The enormous force of the plane crashing straight into her body. Flames engrossing her innocent young body. Her body plummeting ninety-eight stories straight to the earth. Never ending images. I tried to think of good thoughts but questions kept popping into my mind. What if she was still alive after the second plane hit? Did she go down with the tower? Is her body underneath the rubble? Is she still alive? Yes she is. She is probably alive in some hospital unconscious. She is just waiting to be identified so she can come home to us.

I just couldn’t wait around anymore. My daughter is alive and I need to find her. The hospitals here are engrossed with the injured; many are burned and can not be identified. We have made flyers with my baby’s pictures and information. Every night my husband and I are standing outside the hospitals passing them out to the employees. Praying for a miracle. Everyday we are spending hours praying to God. Please give us our miracle. There is a wall with thousands of “missing people” pictures hanging. Thousands. I am not alone. My family is not alone. There are so many people whose lives have been affected. But my baby was only twenty-two. She had her whole life ahead of her with the promise of a bright future. I met a man yesterday who lost his child as well. She was twenty-four and worked on the same floor as Vanessa. I wonder if they found comfort in each other? Maybe if he finds her, Vanessa will be right there with her. Maybe.
They continue to search the area as I continue to search the hospital. She is alive. She cannot be under the thousands of pounds of rubble. Not my baby. Please let us find her. She is the strength of our family. Our little baby girl. How will we survive without her?

I sleep?

What seems to be a ball of fire descends towards the earth. As it crashes into the ground far in the distance, Vanessa and I can feel the earth tremble beneath our feet. And the disintegration begins. Gasps of deadly burning winds spread out. We can feel the air getting thicker with the smell of burning skin coming straight for us. Time stands still. Grasping each others’ arms we cling tight. I don’t want to let go. My grasp grows tighter. Squeezing the life out of her body. Opening my mouth, yearning for our last good bye, we feel the wind on our bones as it carries us away to disintegration.

Normally, I'm not a real touchy-feely kind of person. But when I heard the mans phone call to his wife, about how he wouldnt be coming home, that they were going to crash the plane, tears came to my eyes.

That terrible day will live forever in our hearts. God bless America. NYFD, you will always be heroes to me for what you did that terrible morning.

Today marks 2 1/2 years since that awful morning when I turned on Good Morning America as usual, only to see images of a tower on fire and the impact of the second plane. I will never forget that day when this nation's sense of security was shattered and we watched thousands of our countrymen die on live television. I doubt many of my acquaintances will even mark the "anniversary," but I cannot ignore it.

For the sake of my children, I tried to act normally that morning, even though it was clear that "normal" would never be the same again. I turned on cartoons to keep my children distracted, all the while I watched the news in the other room. I got them ready for school and daycare and went to work as if it were any other day -- but my heart was full of grief and pain. About 10am mountain time, the law school where I work cancelled classes, and everyone just huddled around various televisions in the building watching the news. My nephew, who is a college student, came to my office and we sat watching TV with our arms around each other for most of the day, at least until it was time for me to collect my kids again and pretend that everything was fine. I remember how inane so many of the newscasters sounded that week, and how proud I was of Rudolph Guiliani and George Bush as true character was revealed by the crisis.

I didn't personally know anyone who died or lost a loved one on 9/11. As far as I know, nobody I knew was in New York on that day, although I have brothers who have lived there both before and since. But I felt personally bereaved by all that I saw. For some reason, what this nation suffered that day has truly affected me. There is an empty space in my soul that cannot be filled. I grieve for the 3000 parents and siblings and lovers and friends and acquaintances who were taken away from all of us on that day. I grieve for them collectively, and I grieve for them as individuals with lives and families and promising futures. I do not know if my path through life might ever have crossed that of one of the victims, but on 9/11, the very possibility of such a meeting was taken from me, and I feel that loss so very deeply.

I have needed, since 9/11, to seek out the stories of those who were killed and those who survived, to learn of their lives and share in their memories. It was about a year later that I discovered the world of blogs and came to know of so many who have also been touched by those events. I am grateful especially for the Voices project, because it keeps the events of that day vivid and helps me to know that I am not alone in remembering.

Life does go on. But the losses of 9/11 can never be replaced. I will remember. I will always remember.

My 9/11 story:

Going Downtown

(Warning: Adult Content. Strong Situations. Strong Language. This is the posting that got me "moderated" on User Friendly. You are warned.)

During the Vietnam War, U.S. pilots referred to attack runs over Hanoi as "going downtown."

Going downtown is what I did during the work week from October 1992 onwards. After I was laid off from a job as a technical writer (also in downtown New York, but in Greenwich Village), I eventually got a job as an administrative assistant with the "Value/Conservative Growth" style of investing at Kidder Peabody Asset Management. After Kidder Peabody shut down, we moved as a group to Cowen & Company, into their asset management division. Eventually Cowen was bought by Societe General, and we moved up a few flights to the 34th Floor of the same building, with a firm called Dominick & Dominick.

In the summer of 2001 I was an analyst and vice president with Value/Conservative Growth. I still worked with the same basic group of people, but we had recently added a new portfolio manager, Jack Kaplan. I did research for Jack, and my original boss, Tom Masi.

Most days blurred into one another, and September 11, 2001 was no different. I got up at 4:30 AM. The alarm usually started calling me around 4:15, but I would inevitably hit the snooze button one or more times. I took the dogs out for their walk, gave them their morning biscuit. I then took a shower, got dressed, listened to WNYC for the early news and walked out to the bus.

The bus ride was the usual, with traffic. My original plan for the morning was to get off where I usually got, one block away from the WTC, and go to Borders Books to shop for a birthday gift for my wife. However, we were running late and Tuesdays and Thursdays we had a group meeting at work among the portfolio managers. I was expected to bring a summary of news and analyst reports to the meeting and be prepared to discuss them. So, when we got to my usual stop at around 7:40 AM, instead of walking to Borders, I went to work. My only stop was at a Starbucks two blocks away from my office to pick up my usual morning ration of a large coffee and a scone (Maple Walnut).

I arrived in my office and logged onto my computer and started working through e-mails and morning news, looking for items for the morning meeting. I had the radio on, tuned to WNYC again.

At 8:40 AM I sent e-mail to a friend (and fellow commuter) who worked for a firm in the North Tower. I forwarded a report about the housing refinance boom and how it was powering the economy.

At 8:46 AM, the signal from the radio fritzed out, like lightning had struck. A few seconds later, I heard a loud "boom" and our building actually shook from the force of it. The signal came back, the noise died away.

It was obvious something had happened, but we did not know what. I looked outside, and saw smoke around the North Tower. I also saw a cloud of paper in the air, like confetti. I went to the trading room on our floor to get a better view. You could see more smoke, and could see a gash going partly around to the side of the North Tower that faced us.

Reports started to come in, on CNBC and other media sources. The initial reports were that a plane had hit the building by accident. We wondered about that, how that could have happened, given the beautiful blue sky that we had that day. Obviously, one very stupid small plane pilot.

I tried to go back to work, and gather more material for the morning meeting. But, it was soon a hopeless task. I watched from my window as the smoke got worse. When I went to the trading room again, and saw some close-ups of the damage, you could see people in the damaged areas. Live people. That's when the enormity of what was happening struck me. Financial people, overall, get to work early to try and get the jump on the other guy. That building was full of people who had tried to get the jump on others and now were stuck.

I called my wife, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she took Laura to daycare and ran errands. By that point she was in the Stop & Shop, and because it was a metal-framed building I could not reach her. I left her a voice mail, telling her what had happened.

I then called my parent's. I knew that my mother's knowledge of the geography of downtown NYC was hazy at best, so if she was listening to the news or watching the news, she might be concerned for my safety. I reached her, and started to tell her what was going on, trying to be reassuring.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an airplane. I turned in amazement, thinking it was a sightseer.

Then the scale of the plane hit me.

It was a jumbo jet, twisting and weaving, so close to me that I swear that I saw the rivets on the side of the plane.

I screamed in general, and into the telephone, "Oh sweet Jesus, help them, what is that fucking idiot doing!?"

It angled it's wings so that it would hit the largest number of floors, and it slammed into the South Tower.

I dropped the telephone as the entire top of the building was engulfed in flame and smoke and millions upon millions of pages of documents spewed out of the side of the building like blood from a slashed artery. A fireball expanded, growing so large as to encompass the North Tower as well. For a moment it appeared the tops of both towers had been taken off by the explosion. Our building swayed.

I could hear my mother calling from the phone I dropped. I yelled again what had happened, and she kept saying "You're joking!" I told her again, and she realized that I was not kidding, and she started screaming for me to get out of the building as fast as I could.

I hung up, and called my wife again. Again, I could not reach her, again I left a message. By now, the initial fireball was gone and I could see the damage to the building.

My first rational thought was something like "Well, given the fireball, any chemical or biological agents would have been destroyed." This was no accident. This was intentional. By who I did not know, but I knew we were at war.

I turned around and a few people, including our receptionist were standing there. Those in the interior offices had heard me scream and came to see what had happened. They were as stunned as I was.

I do not know how long I was in the office after that. I know that I spoke to my boss's wife at one point. She came in and worked on Tuesdays. I told her to turn around and not come in. I spoke to one of our other portfolio managers, a woman who refused to work in the office (she claimed she was allergic to the building).

Then the announcement came, we were to evacuate the building as quickly as possible.

My boss's line rang. I thought it might be his wife, so I picked it up. It was our office-allergic portfolio manager. "I really think you might want to leave", she stated. As usual, a dollar short and ten minutes late. "That's exactly what we're trying to do," I said. I grabbed my things (backpack, cell phone, etc.) and went around the floor in a counterclockwise fashion (away from the stairs and elevators). Jack was stunned. Tom was stunned. Others were crying. I came across one person who was on the telephone to a client. I urged him to finish the call, and pushed him out of his office. I swept around, past the trading room, waited for another person to gather his things, and then we all went down the elevator together. Yes, the elevators, we were told to get out as fast as possible, not to wait.

In the lobby people were milling around. There was no sense of organization, no roll calls, no checking that people were all out. Then the building management made another announcement that was even more amazing than "get out and use the elevators". We were told we could go back to our offices and retrieve personal belongings, if we wanted.

I left the building. On the street, I could see paper. Paper was floating down. Burned paper. Presentations. Printing instructions. Manuals. Trade tickets. Paper from the towers.

I looked up at the towers. I could see them clearly, both surrounded by a lot of smoke.

Then I saw a dot fall from the North Tower. And another. Another. I realized what they were. People. People who had gotten to the point of having two choices. A choice of death by fire or death by jumping. I lost count after fifteen.

The streets were full of people, going back and forth, no single direction. Cars were abandoned in the streets. I remember being amused (!) at the sight of an abandoned UPS truck with it's back door open. Nobody was going to be looting anything today.

I went towards a subway station, the #2 and 3 line on Wall Street. It was a mob scene, no way I was going to get in that subway.

Looking at the towers, looking at the smoke, looking at the people falling, I proceeded on automatic pilot to the next nearest subway stop. I am, to this day, not even certain where I was. But I went down, to the 1 & 9 line. I swiped my Metro card (it worked!), and went to the platform. A half-empty train came shortly thereafter, going uptown.

We pulled into the stop under the World Trade Center. It was empty. It was silent. The doors opened. Then we heard the noise, the noise of a mighty wind (no movie jokes, please), the sound of a dozen jet engines, a hundred thundering locomotives. We thought there was another attack. People started screaming, "Go! Go!" and the doors closed and we pulled out of the station.

Later I found out that we were under the South Tower when it came down. I eventually saw a picture of a girder from the South Tower that had penetrated through the basements, etc., and ended up going through those tracks.

We went uptown. We stopped, not at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where I was headed. The announcement was made, the subways are shutting down, get out.

I stumbled upstairs. The streets were filled with people, still going every which way. I tried calling my wife. No luck. Then I heard another rumbling noise, another attack? One person said that eight more jets were reported hijacked and were heading our way. Somebody said the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. had been bombed.

I tried my wife again. She was home. I said I was OK. She told me that the North Tower had just fallen. I realized what I had heard. Then I asked her about the South Tower, and she told me that it had fallen first.

Looking south, towards the tip of the island, you could see massive clouds of smoke rising.

What to do? The Port Authority was closed. All the tunnels and bridges were closed. The subways were not running. Eight more jets were (we thought) headed out way, what to do?

My wife suggested I go south (!) to where her sister lived, and wait there until things quieted down. I started to walk south, getting closer and closer to those billowing clouds of smoke.

I suddenly realized, at one point, what I was walking past. The Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world, now again the tallest in New York. Given what had happened, I realized how stupid I was being so close to it. I made a detour.

My sister-in-law's apartment is downtown, at the nexus of three hospitals. As I got closer and closer, I could see people clustered around cars, listening to radios. There even was one electronics store that had set up televisions outside, and people watched.

Overhead the sky was cracked by the sound of a sonic boom. I saw the plane, and recognized the profile. It was one of ours. Too little, too late. But, of some comfort.

Getting to the area of the apartment, I kept hearing more and more sirens. Ambulances. Fire trucks. Police cars. Cars going north covered with ash and debris. Sirens. Sirens and more sirens.

I reached my sister-in-law's apartment. She was not there. I met some of her neighbors, they had not seen her. I tried to call her cell phone, no luck. By this time you could not get a signal (the North Tower had the biggest cell tower in the city, plus there was major damage to the circuits that ran in the area). The only thing that worked, sometimes, was my "push-to-talk" feature on my Nextel cell phone. So sometimes I could get my wife, sometimes not. From her, I heard from my boss's wife that my boss had gotten on a ferry to cross the river. Of my other colleagues, not a word.

Eventually my sister-in-law turned up. She had been scheduled to work across from the WTC that day, but had worked until 2:00 AM the day before and got a late start. Lucky for her.

We got some food and stocked up on water. We watched TV, seeing the same clips over and over again. We listened to the sirens and watched the billowing clouds of smoke and ash.

Finally, they announced that trains would be running again. Subways were not. So I walked again north. The streets were deserted. I have never seen the city so empty.

I got to Penn Station and it looked like a scene out of a George Pal movie like "The War of the Worlds" or "When Worlds Collide". Hundreds upon hundreds of people waiting for trains. I got on one, not the first. No ticket required.

Pulling out of the tunnel, in New Jersey at last, you could see the open wound in the city. People sat in stunned silence on the train. Nobody spoke. People did not even want to look at each other.

My cell phone rang. It was a high school friend, who lived in California. He just kept saying "I can't believe it".

I finally got to New Brunswick and left the train. New Brunswick was also deserted. My father-in-law came and picked me up, my wife was at a service at our church and they were babysitting our daughter.

I got out of the car. I went inside my in-laws house. My daughter was there crying. I held her tight.

The next few days I was home. There was no power downtown, the markets were closed. The sky continued to be blue, except for a hazy stain. And even where we were, you could smell the burned plastic.

The sky was empty of planes. At one point my daughter asked, "Where are the planes?" Perceptive kid. She also asked at one point "Why is Daddy so sad?", as all I seemed to be able to do was to sit on the couch and stare into space.

On Thursday there was a thunderstorm at night. A powerful one. I woke up screaming, from a nightmare where I was trapped up to my waist in debris, as the world exploded around me. The dream has faded since then, but revisits with similar weather.

The markets reopened, but our building was still closed. A research client graciously offered us some space for a few of us. It was difficult. They were so nice, but I kept wanting to scream. I was shaking, working in a building that high (and it really wasn't all that high!). The number of bomb scares that got phoned into every building that day did not help either.

A few days later our building was opened. So, I went downtown again. We had to take a subway, and then walk several blocks. We went through several checkpoints, and had to show multiple ID's. We got closer and closer to the WTC, or what was left of it, a multi-story mass of wreckage.

The air was filled with the smell of burning plastic, the smell of a million melted computers.

I started walking to my office. Not far from where I saw the wreckage of the WTC, I saw a puddle of water, obviously from the rainstorm that Thursday before.

In the puddle of water was a congealed smear of red. Blood. From where? From when?

Awnings everywhere were covered with ash. The streets still had debris: Ash, papers, etc. Police and National Guardsmen wore masks, we had none and had to put up with the smell.

I got to my office. On my desk was my coffee and scone from over a week later. I threw them away, and sat down. I reached for my collection and business cards and leafed through them. I needed to find a name.

I found it. A friend, the person that I had sent that e-mail to about the housing refinance boom. She worked in the WTC. I burst into tears, because I could not remember if she had been on the bus that morning.

That weekend we went to church, our usual 5:30 PM Saturday "folk" mass. When we entered, we saw the front of the church closed off by yellow "caution" tape. The smell of burned plastic filled the air.

At church, they had set up a lectern with a notebook on it. If you wanted to, you could write your thoughts in the notebook. There was a candle burning nearby. An American flag stood nearby. The church had been kept open each day from 9/11 onwards for people to come and pray and think and reflect.

The night before somebody stayed in the church when it was closed and locked. He or she knocked the flag over on the candle, it caught fire as did the lectern and the notebook. As did the plastic tiles. Luckily the fire put itself out before it reached the first row of pews. If did had not, the whole church would have burned down.

So the place I went to for peace smelled like downtown. Another fire. My last refuge was taken from me.

As time went by, we tried to carry on. We tried to go back to the way it was. But you could not. There were constant reminders of what had happened. You got off the bus, and had to walk by the WTC. To get to the bus in the evening, you had to walk by the WTC. In your office you would look out and see the smoke. Those fires burned for six months. You would see birds over the site and then learn later they were turkey vultures, attracted by the scent of death. You'd hear about all the rats that had lived in the subway, and now were invading the area.

You would read a report in the paper about the air downtown. There would be the chemical breakdowns, all supposedly at safe levels. But then you'd see something like "organic materials" and a percentage of the total.

Organic materials. You know. People.

Then there were the bodies. No, I did not see any bodies as they were uncovered. But I cannot count the number of times I would be walking to or from the bus stop and see the sad procession going to one of the FDNY ambulances waiting around the site.

Then there was the sound of the girders. Huge trucks would take the twisted girders away from Ground Zero and bring them to river by our building. They would be picked up by a crane and dropped one by one onto a barge. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Occasionally it would be loud enough to make your windows shake.

Finally, it all caught up with me. One day in January 2002, I felt as if I was having difficulty concentrating. Then I had difficulty seeing, my vision kept getting blurred. As I left the office, and started to cross the street, I got dizzy. A pain went from my chest to my left arm and hand. I got tunnel vision. Somehow I got across the street, and eventually to my bus. By automatic pilot, I got on the bus. I felt better, but not great. When we got to East Brunswick, I asked the driver to let me off. I called my wife and told her what happened. She came and took me to the Emergency Room, where I told them I thought I might have had a heart attack. They ran tests, no heart attack. I had a follow-up visit with my doctor. No, no heart attack, just PTSD, another term to learn and live with.

When I went to the dentist, he asked: "When did you break your tooth?" I thought he was kidding. But, upon reflection, it was obvious when it had been broken. When the second plane went by my window, or when I was on the subway, or one of sixteen dozen other moments that day. I guess I got a little excited.

Other problems have cropped up. Some are related to the PTSD. Others are related to the exposure to dust and other substances. My childhood asthma is back. I'm nervous in crowds, nervous in tall buildings, etc.

After my "heart attack", one of the things I did was to get counseling. I don't know if it really helped or not; eventually I stopped because it was expensive and I was unable to get financial reimbursement for all of it. One of the things that the counselor told me was that I "was a hero". Why? Because I did not panic. When we evacuated the floor, I stayed long enough to make sure that all others were leaving and forced a few to leave. Because one of my thoughts upon leaving the building was to go towards the WTC and try and help direct traffic, provide first aid, or whatever.

I do not feel that makes me a hero. The heroes were the ones who worked there and died at their desks. The heroes were the ones who helped others, although it was not their job. The heroes were those in the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Port Authority and countless other agencies who rushed in where others feared to tread.

Among those in the New York Times "Portraits of Grief" was the profile of one such hero. He was originally from the town I now live in, and was a classmate of my wife when she was in school. Here is the portrait of a hero:

John Collins
Future Fireman at Age 4

When John Collins was 4 years old, his father took him to a Bronx firehouse. That is when he decided what he wanted to do. It took a while, with entrance exams delayed because of a legal dispute, so he joined the Police Department first before becoming a fireman in 1990.

The oldest of five children, Mr. Collins, 42 organized family events, like two weeks each year on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, or a benefit concert on the aircraft carrier "Intrepid" in Manhattan, followed by a night on the town with his sisters and their husbands. He lived in the Bronx, lifted weights and brought groceries for neighbors who were down on their luck.

He never talked much about his work, his sister Eileen Byrne recalled, because he did not want to worry his parents. "We teased him, said he was the only fireman who never went to a fire," she said.

That is not how they remember him at Ladder Company 25 on 77th Street. On Sept. 11, he was supposed to go to another firehouse to fill in. It was called out before he could get there. When Ladder 25 was called, he jumped on the engine.

"We had seven firemen on the rig instead of six," said another fireman, Matt O'Hanlon.

I attended two services for John Collins. The first was shortly after 9/11, and was a memorial (he was among the missing) without a body. The second was the funeral, when his body was recovered.

"Into the Fire" (Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising")

The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me then you disappeared into dust
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

You gave your love to see in fields of red and autumn brown
You gave your love to me and lay your young body down
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need you near, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

It was dark, too dark to see, you held me in the light you gave
You lay your hand on me
Then walked into the darkness of your smoky grave
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

May your love bring us love

I would like to forget what I saw. I have tried to write this piece several dozen times, each time ending it because I could not get through it. But I wrote this because I cannot forget. I wrote this because I feel that people are once again becoming complacent. I wrote this because there are thousands of people like me, who were downtown that day. Our stories need to be told as well. Finally, I wrote this for Laura. Someday she will be old enough to understand why her father is sad, especially in September.

I was on holiday in Tunisia ( apparantly where one of the hijackers originated from) with some friends and we were doing a desert safari adventure. I left on the 9th. The day of the 11th was an episode in horror that shook me to my foundations. There I was in a predominantly muslim country, in the desert when we got to a hotel inland for the evening. They had one tv. French, Italian, English & German folk all crowded around the tv watching the events from earlier in the day. My thoughts and prayers went out to the families of and the victims of the tradgedy. All airports closed. Westerner (Worcester, England, Great Britain)). Nervous. I have to say that 99% of the Tunisians I had contact with either didn't mention it or were horrified/sympathetic about what had happened. 1% considered it a victory over the Infidels. That is a tiny minority of a country I was learning about and was visiting - it is in no way a statistic, just what I came across. I visited NYC & Washington in 1999. The awesome structure and size of the twin Towers was truly a sight to behold and one I won't forget, I couldn't believe that they were gone and in such a horrific way. The Community aspect of NYC also struck me, how people were friendly and would look out for each other regardless of my tv years preconceptions. So much has happened and been said concerning 9/11 since. The one thing that sticks with me is that I remember, and always will - where I was, what I was doing and exactly how I felt when I first heard. God Bless the fallen, and hopefully one day the world will be a better place.
My Grandad was involved in war and they had a saying:
Lest we forget.

I lived in Uganda in 1971 and saw bodies, burn, hung, and just lying in the street. The smell was powerful. Jersey one day then Uganda the next. 2001 I saw the hell happened again, this time on my soil. PTSD isn't treated seriously by the pros. The expense as mentioned above and the people in the 'groups' most of them where probation ordered. I saw the WTCs and my cousin helped from the Jersey shore waiting for the ferries. Too few came over in his opinion. I had hoped none of my family would see,smell and fell the fear I had 30 years ago ddamn near to the day. Now the press and President uses it to their advantage. Its a international tragedy compared to The other day that will live in infamay. REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!

I worked for Morgan Stanley and had started work at 8am that day. Everything was rolling along as usual when all of a sudden around 8:45 we started hearing a sound like someone was pelting the side of a house with snowballs. It was hitting along the windows and we saw thousands of pieces of paper flying by. At first we thought it was some kind of joke like someone had dumped confetti off the observation deck on the roof, but then we saw that a lot of this paper was on fire. Next thought was that a bomb had gone off either in the other building or in ours and all of us started heading for the stairwells. At 2 flights per floor we were looking at 136 flights of stairs covering about 800 feet, a lot when you want to be out of the building RIGHT NOW. I was surprised and happy to find no one panicking, everyone was filing down the stairs semi-calm. It took us about 15 minutes to get down to the 44th floor where the security desks and main elevators were. We had flat screen monitors on the walls in the lobby normally showing the financial news but right now they were all showing tower 1 next to us on fire. We were being told that possibly a small plane had hit tower 1 and that our tower was secure and that we were as safe here as on the ground. All I knew was that I was still 500 feet up and that was 500 feet too high. I think it was a group decision that we go for the stairs again. I know that some people stayed and that others went back up to their offices feeling the building was secure. My family is glad I didn't make that decision. We had only gone down a few flights of stairs when there was a loud rumbling explosion and the whole stairwell shook violently, some people falling down, I was lucky to be holding on to the rails. The worst part was that the building started tipping sideways, swinging sideways, I was sure the other building fell into us and we were tipping over. I closed my eyes and waited for the floor to go out from under me and to die. The building stopped at an angle and moved back the other way, It rocked back and forth for a few more seconds then stopped. That was when people almost started to panic, we all yelled at each other to stay calm and started counting the floors out loud, 39,38,37. We continued down, I can't explain the relief we all felt getting to the ground. The police were there to guide us down into the underground mall. I was upset that they weren't letting us just go out the door on the ground level, but we didn't know that debris and bodies were raining down out there. We were escorted out through the basement and out onto the street from under building 5. My cell phone didn't work so I started looking for a shop that would let me use their phone. It was then that I looked up and saw both buildings on fire. At that time I couldn't understand how ours had come to be that way. All I knew was that the buildings were a quarter mile high so I needed to be a quarter mile away if it came down. I didn't know until I saw it on TV in one of the stores that a second plane had hit us and that it was a terrorist attack. There were groups of people, women screaming and crying "oh my god they're jumping" It took me a few minutes to believe my eyes that the debris I saw falling wasn't glass or concrete, they were people.
I eventually found a shop where I could make calls and assure my family that I was OK. I had been out of the building about 20 minutes when there was this loud rumble and people were yelling that the building was falling. All of us in the street started running. I was glad I thought to get that far away because it gave me a good head start. I figured that the debris path was going to come straight up the streets so I zigzagged between a few buildings until I found the lobby of an apartment block and got in there. People were coming down from the apartments asking us if we needed any water or help. A group of us stayed in there until the dust cleared enough to breath and then I started to make my way far enough to where I might be able to catch a train. To make this long story short, I was able to get home around 5 o’clock that day.
I'm happy to see a web site like this that hopefully will keep future generations from ever forgetting what happened here. Thanks for letting me tell my story, it's good therapy :)

09/13/04 01:41

Thank you.

I knew such a list existed - but hadn't seen it before.

For what it's worth - here's a couple of my own blog entries on 9-11...

I AM from New York as well, read my own remembrances from how I first heard about the flights to where I first saw the footage of the planes augering into the side of the World Trade Center Towers to what the towers meant to me growing up on Long Island.

Sept 11th - A Remembrance from a New Yorker Living In Vegas


I don't remember the first time I saw the World Trade Center

Thanks, Joe ONeill

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