I wasn’t old enough to remember the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. or President John F. Kennedy. Those events in history cemented in our parent’s brains caused them to remember the very place they stood at the very moment they heard.

I do remember the day President Reagan was shot; Miami, living room, age ten, still in my pajamas, Spider Man preempted.

But when the television clicked off I went about my day like a ten-year old should. The way I hoped all ten-year olds were able to on September eleventh, 2001; being protected from the horror.

When I answered the phone in my Alameda apartment that morning I couldn’t register what my mother was trying to tell me.

“I’m okay,” she said. “Go turn on the television.”

I cried non stop for four days. Four entire days. The horror lasting much longer than the dried up tears.

I didn’t know anyone who was hurt in the attack.

My mother was supposed to be on that fated plane from Boston to San Francisco, but she wasn’t, so that’s not why I cried.

I felt in my bones the terror of the people on those plane and (from the windows of the Trade Center, the waving white flags) of victims begging to be saved.

I swore I could see the souls flying to the sky from those buildings.

I prayed for peace and answers for the living in search of their loved ones on the ground.

The pain was palpable, unlike any I’d ever experienced. It didn’t compare to the death of my father. Not close to the memories of my teenage wounded heart, which I once thought might stop altogether from the unrelenting pain.

This was greater. This hit me like a brick in the gut, heart, and mind.

Every year I watch the documentaries commemorating that horrific day.

Every year someone says, “Oh, I can’t do that! How can you watch that?”

They don’t want to remember the pain.

I don’t ever want to forget.

Where were you? What do you remember?


Like they say in church, “Peace be with you… and also with you.” I wish peace for every person ever changed by the tragedies of that day.

4 thoughts on “9/11

  1. I have so many memories and emotions attached to this day. I just started grad school up in Boston and it was the first day of class. We came out of our brief intro and into the main student center and watched as the events unfolded. My husband (then BF) was living in NYC and just came home from a run – his daily route being down the West Side Highway from Chelsea to the World Financial Center where he turns around. He just missed being down there. Our friend called me to let me know if was fine and going up to their apartment uptown.

    They dismissed classes for the rest of the day. I left and went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to finish shopping for my apartment. I think I was in shock. We didn’t have a TV in our apartment yet so I didn’t see any images really. I listened to the radio. I went to my best friend’s apartment that night and watched the news.

    The next day (I think?), I was back at school watching the TV with my friends and reading the ticker at the bottom of CNN. That’s when I saw that the father of one of my closest friends was on the Boston flight – the one that your mom was supposed to be on. I called her sobbing. I also found out then that the other friend in our triangle was missing. She worked in the North Tower.

    The rest is a bit of a blur. I drove to my friend’s house and spent time with her and her family. I remember feeling an urgent need to be in NYC. How could this be happening to my city while i was in Boston? I drove down that weekend, walked into Ed’s apartment and broke down.

    Sorry for the long ass comment but I think that this is the first time in 11 years that I’ve actually written this down. My heart hurts on this day so much. It’s a gorgeous crisp blue sky day in NYC today, much like 11 years ago.

    1. I had never written about it before today, either! Feels fresh still. I had just moved from the city the year before and had that same need to be there… Hard to believe its been 11 years! What an awful time!

  2. I was here, in the office. Our traders keep the TV on, so we were all gathered around after the first plane hit and there was speculation it was a small plane. Then the second plane hit, we saw it live, and everything changed in an instant. We were under attack. We had three guys in lower Manhattan for meetings that morning, where was their meeting? Could we track them down, the phone lines were overloaded. Thier wives had dialed in to the main line, I took the calls, we were a small firm then, very much like family…they were pleading with me, find their husbands. By this point I knew they weren’t in the towers, but they were close by, which was a temporary relief, but later would that be of great concern as the Towers fell. I knew my parents were supposed to be flying home out of Logan that day, they were at the Beach with your mom. When they announced the planes were out of Logan, I went numb. I had no idea what time they were flying out, and at this point, they didn’t know where the planes were headed, only that they had originated at Logan. News was spotty, they were sharing anything they had as they got it. I kept bouncing between the calls with the three wives on hold, dialing they guys’ cell phones and the site of their last meeting, and trying to get through to Auntie’s. Circuits busy, busy signals. All the time watching the awful images on the screen. And then the first Tower fell, again we watched it live. It was surreal to say the least. Now, the wives I had worked so hard to reassure were frantic again, more frantic even. I was bouncing around on phones trying to get through. In the end, the guys would get through to me…the three of them had found each other and would untimately make their way out of Manhattan on foot and it would be an adventure getting back to Boston. There is much more to their story, but it is theirs to tell. I had the happy job of delivering the good news to their wives, on hold on other lines. I finally got through to my parents as well, they were all fine, all safe. We closed the office at some point out of safety concerns. I walked home to Charlestown, crying, numb, seeing the same on others facing and passing tourists who had no idea what had happened. I was glued to the TV, horrified but entranced. The weeks that followed were surreal. My parents kept their rental car, and drove home, much to the shagrin of the car company. The stock markets were closed, we sat in meetings for hours discussing what might happen with the markets reopened, interrupted again and again by bomb threats and evacuation signals. I took the stairs each time more nervous than the next and so frustrated at how long it took to go down those 23 flights. I was terrified. There were warnings from my secret squirrell brother, avoid mass transit, avoid flying, avoid crowds. My job was to fly around the country to see our clients. The day the airports reopened, I was on a plane, nervous as hell . There would be many weeks and months of fretting, about evacuation signals, flying, secret squirrels in harms way…and life would be forever changed. We keep much better track of our guys when they travel, I keep much better track of my parents too…and like you, I will never forget the sheer terror I felt when I saw the plane hit and the Towers fall.

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