Tag Archives: 9/11

2001-2020

19 years ago on this date – 9.11.2001 – I was at work listening to the radio in my office, which I did between patients just to clear my head and enjoy some tunes, when the broadcast was interrupted with the news a plane had flown into Tower 1 of the World Trade center.

It was 8:46 am.

First reaction? Oh, those poor people, the pilot must have had a heart attack or the plane malfunctioned.

When Tower II was hit at 9:03, my first thought before I knew anything else was, “We’re at war.”

And I’m not kidding…not even a little.

When the news of the attack on the Pentagon made the airwaves and then the plane crash in Pennsylvania, I went numb.

The media was on full alert, the President was whisked away to a hiding place and the citizens of this country got their first take of international terrorism here, on home ground.

When the Towers fell in a cloud of twisted metal and melting steel, my heart broke into tiny pieces. I’d had my 21st birthday party/dinner at Windows on the World. Now I have only my memories of the restaurant and photographs of the Towers.

I  vividly remember picking my daughter up from school the afternoon of 9.11. The teachers hadn’t told the kids anything about the attacks, leaving that to the discretion of the parents. This was the era before cell phones became an appendage for every kid in the world and access to  the immediate news of the moment was delayed. To this day I’m thankful they kept the kids naive for a few more hours of their childhood, because from that day on, their world was never the same and they were forced to learn what true hatred was.

I’m one of the lucky New York natives who can say I didn’t lose anyone that day to the attacks. But many of my old friends, my in-laws and even my husband, all knew at least someone whose life was cut short by the terror unleashed on that clear, bright, September morning.

The world turned upside down that day and, I feel, never fully righted itself again.

Today, 19 years later, our country is still waging war against terror – both globally and on home turf. Terrorists may not use planes now as weapons of mass destruction to fuel their hatred of this country and her people, but they still exist, they still plan to destroy us and our way of life, and we still need to be vigilant.

The Trade Center Towers have been replaced by the Freedom Tower, a tribute to the city that lost its heart that day and the people who lost their lives.

One thing I  never allow myself to forget, never let slip from my mind, is the idea that Freedom isn’t Free. Our founding fathers fought for this nation to be free of a crazy ruler’s restraints. Through every World War we’ve fought fascists, nazis, and dictators to remain free. And we still fight for the right to be free to this day, whether it’s with boots on the ground or over the cyberweb.

I had hopes that by this time in our lives, 9.11.2001 would be a  tortured memory of a sad day where we remembered those who’d died, and paid homage to those who’d kept us safe; memorialized the brave Souls whose lives were taken much too early and mourned with their families on the loss. I had hope we wouldn’t need to be worried about further or future attacks on this nation. I had hope the world would have learned a lesson about the beauty of freedom.

Unfortunately, those hopes won’t draw breath today and for that I am extremely sad.

But, as Lady Liberty continues to hold her lamp up in New York Harbor as a beacon of light and hope and freedom to all,  I am hopeful in 2021, they will…

The New Colossus, 

Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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Never forget….

No other words are necessary……

 

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Remembering…

911

Historical events and the dates that follow them seem to be seared into our memories for life. People can always tell you where they were the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or when our astronauts landed on the moon, or even the day Elvis died.  The date, I feel, that is imprinted in the minds of all Americans for the past 15 years and for the next thousand and fifteen, is today, September 11, in the year 2001. The day we all realised that our God-given freedom comes with an exacting price.

I was sitting at work, the radio on, stocking supplies, when I heard about the first World Trade tower being hit. For a few minutes we all thought it was some horribly freak accident. The pilot suffered a heart attack, or the plane went haywire, or something – anything to explain such a tragedy.

Those thoughts went the way of the dinosaurs when the second plane hit… and then the Pentagon was attacked… and finally United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. Then,

Then, then we all knew it wasn’t a horrible mistake. Then, then we all knew we were at war and our world had changed.

Far too many words have already been devoted to why these heinous acts were perpetrated upon our land, upon our people, upon our beliefs and way of life,  and I am not going to add any to the speculation on why.

My words are for the heroes that gave their lives that day. The heroes on the planes, especially flight 93; the heroes at the Pentagon; the first, second, and third responders who are everyday heroes but who showed the world what true heroes are made of when everyone was running away from the burning buildings and they were running toward them, trying to help, trying to save whoever they could. Trying to – as they would simply and humbly  tell you – just do their jobs.

My words are for the survivors of the tragedies, who, to this day still, suffer the physical and psychological effects of an act of terrorism, the likes of which had never been seen before and hopefully never will again. Their countless days of agony and torment, of recuperation and recovery, of never-ending memories, are circumstances they wouldn’t wish on anyone else.

My words are for the families of those that gave their lives  that day. Unborn children who will never know the scope of their father’s bravery, who never got the chance to meet them, show them how they were loved. Children who lost mothers, fathers, siblings, friends. Women who lost husbands and husbands who lost wives. Friends who lost people near and dear to them.

My words are simply this: I will never, never forget about you. My prayers, my wishes, my thoughts, are for you and with you. I will never forget  the freedom we hold so dearly and so tightly, that we’ve fought for, for over 200 hundred years and still battle for to this day, comes with a price. A very exacting price in the sacrifice of our loved ones.

Many more words will be written and spoken today at memorial services, around dinner tables, in houses of worship. News media will broadcast a timeline of events. Some will have interviews with survivors or families of victims. Our country as a whole will mourn, once again, the day that changed our way of life. The day we came to realize freedom isn’t free. The day we recognized America can be battered and bruised, but will never, ever break.

Today, I will be remembering those courageous, unselfish people who gave their lives on a crystal clear blue skied  cloudless day, 15 years ago.

Will you?

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