Where was you when the world stopped turning?
“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
—President Obama in a 2011 radio address
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
—Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2002
“My older brother John lived [his life] in Technicolor. … When he walked in the door, the whole house lit up. And I’m sure heaven lit up when he got there too.”
—Anthoula Katsimatides at the World Trade Center site in 2005
“Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts.”
—New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006
“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”
—President George W. Bush at the Pentagon in 2008
“My father, Norberto, was a pastry chef at Windows on the World in Tower One. For 10 years, he made many fancy and famous desserts, but the sweetest dessert he made was the marble cake he made for us at home. … Whenever we parted, Poppi would say, ‘Te amo. Vaya con Dios.’ And this morning, I want to say the same thing to you, Poppi. I love you. Go with God.”
—Catherine Hernandez at the World Trade Center site in 2008
“With almost no time to decide, [your loved ones] gave the entire country an incalculable gift. They saved the Capitol from attack. They saved God knows how many lives. They saved the terrorists from claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American government. … They allowed us to survive as a country that could fight terror and still maintain liberty and still welcome people from all over the world from every religion and race and culture as long as they shared our values, because ordinary people given no time at all to decide did the right thing.”
—President Bill Clinton in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2011
Book of Poetry
I remember that day as clearly as if it were today. I was a younger mother with three young kids. I had the news playing on the television. I always watched Good Morning America, a news program. I was folding baskets of clothes and drinking my coffee.
My coffee that I drank was black and black would soon serve as a description for that day. September 11th it was. Black day in the world’s history.
We lost so many lives that day. I see people in other countries always dying and losing their lives, but until this day, Americans were not tragically affected as much as we were in our lifetime, with all that death and terrorism.
You sometimes take for granted that you are safe, that you are not going to be affected by what the world has going on. Unfortunately though, we, Americans were. I am an American and if I had been in another place in this world, this tragedy would still strike a sense of uncertainty, of being unsafe, and of loss. I cannot speak for the other parts of our world but I am certain tragedy no matter where, who is involved, or how it is in reference to us, we all are impacted.
I believe my naive sense of being safe in America left that day in September.
I was watching this tragedy unfold live on my American news program. Even my kids had a sense that something was really wrong. I remember calling my husband at his work and feeling so panicked and scared at the same time. He always tries to reassure me of things so he was desperately trying to make sense of what I was telling him at the very same time. He was in shock and he tuned in to news on the radio station he was listening to. It was so fresh and so new that I remember the news correspondents were trying to make a judgement as to what they were hearing . You could tell they were struggling to find the words to say what they were being told and what they were seeing for the first time. It soon turned to panic in their eyes and I found myself glued to the television. I was trying to come to terms with it all.
Never before had something like this and of the same magnitude happened in my lifetime. I was just all struck.
I think the hardest thing to watch was the many individuals that were jumping from the high-rise buildings and out of the windows to free themselves from being burned alive. That was terrible. I have no words to describe that. I had o take my young kids into another room so that they would not see me cry or see those poor helpless people choose the fate of their own lives. They would willing jump rather than BURN alive. How devastating is that. Imagine you were their loved ones and you saw them jump. The news replayed these kinds of scenes so much you felt like you knew every detail of those days following.
I think that I shall never look at another high-rise building the same. I now dread being in a hotel, even, that has many floors. Even though I was not in those buildings it has greatly impacted me.
Those Twin Towers were huge and those people , some of them, never had a chance to survive.
I still feel the impact of that all .
What kind of person does it take to bring such devastation to another group of individuals, that you do not know?
I often try to think of who all was in those buildings. I think of the child who might had been visiting their father or mother at work. I think of the mother who lost her child or children to this event. I also think of the many people who realized they were not going to make it and what went through their minds as they accepted their fate.
It is so sad and disheartening to know that those people, their families and their friend’s lives were so abruptly changed forever. They will try to go on with their daily lives but the world will remind them always of that day. They will see it on the television all the time and read it in the papers and books and magazines. They will never get a chance to let it rest.
They will have mourning for their lifetime.
I am so sorry for that. I have a hard enough time with personal mourning of a loved one myself. To see that magnified would be so unbearable.
As if life came to a stand still, that day back in September 11, 2001, I saw one of the saddest events that forever will shake our minds, our security, and our faith. I saw a nation come together, but I also saw it crumbled just a little more. I lost hope in some of humanity that day as well. Those who did this horrendous thing, they are not human in my mind. They were cruel.
I hope we all learn something from this tragedy. I hope we became stronger together because of it. I also hope that everyone knows we are not guaranteed a tomorrow and we should live fully today.
As on September 11, 2001, I will remember, and so will all of America and even beyond.
We all should stand together, less we all fall.
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