Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Gone

Just This Kind of Day

The sky gave no warning of the darkness that would befall the day. It was bright blue and the sun was shining strong in the September sky. Just like today.

I remember my friend Charlie calling to say that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I had no idea because I didn't have the TV on yet. As we talked on the phone while watching the coverage, we witnessed the second plane hitting Tower II. 

Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America sounded as shocked and confused as we were. It was unbelievable. Surreal. It was hard to believe that this was all taking place against the back drop of a stunning blue sky.

As the events unfolded, I cried my heart out and filled up a notepad with thoughts and feelings. I wrote every little snippet of what the reporters where saying about who was responsible. To watch the evil acts carried out on our beloved New York City and the people who lived there was beyond sad. Then to realize it didn't stop there, even sadder. Next, the Pentagon.  I kept calling Gar to update him on what was happening. It was hard to explain what I was witnessing. When would it stop? Next, Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Who knows where that plane would have ended up had it not been for the courageous passengers and crew. They had phone connections to the outside world for a time and learned what their fate would be at the hands of the terrorists. Instead, they decided to put their fate back in their own hands.

Gar's brother Fran was over from Ireland and working in Jersey City that day and could see all that was happening. He saw horrific things from across the river. Heartbreaking, gut wrenching events. Things he will never ever forget. Things none of us should ever forget. 

As I sat in my home watching as the Twin Towers fell- first Tower I, then Tower II- it was truly unfathomable.  A cloud of ash engulfing the tip of Manhattan. A horrifying picture that will never be gone from my mind. Worse, was the thought of the many many people who worked in the Towers and the number of people who visited the Towers everyday for various reasons. To think they could all have perished was too much to bear.  To say that the first responders were heroes doesn't quite do them justice.  They were the hearts and souls of all Americans who could only sit and watch their TVs stupefied. There efforts saved so many who otherwise would have perished. So many gave their lives to save others.

The stories of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville are of many ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the face of evil.

The terrorists did not succeed in their mission of crushing America's heart and soul or our love of freedom. Instead they made it grow stronger. It didn't divide us. It made our convictions of liberty and freedom stronger. The country pulled together to support each other while the skies fell silent for days.

When we visited New York in November that year, there were still pictures and posters in search of loved ones hung on every surface. It was heartbreaking to know that most of these people did not survive. To peek through the wall at the site, to see the devastation first hand, to see the only thing standing.....the bit of facade from the Twin Towers.....felt like a blow to the gut.

Ten years later, much has happened. Workers gave their all in trying to recover bodies and still people's remains are being identified which must give some measure of comfort to those families. The construction workers are ferocious in their mission to build the freedom tower and the memorial.

In April, I captured the tower and its cranes reaching toward the orange sunset.

The next day, the progress was apparent in the sun.

In August, the Freedom Tower and it's cranes shone bright in the Manhattan night sky.

The next day, up close, the progress made me feel good inside.

When it is done, it will be a heartfelt memorial to those who did not survive and to those who did. It's beauty already shines.

As I sit hear listening to the names of those lost at the WTC being read, the events of  9/11 are still vivid in my mind. And that's how I want them to stay.

Do me a favor today. Do something to remember the events of 9/11. Do something to show evil that good is much stronger. That evil will never be the victor. That good will always stand taller.


  1. I wondered all week if I should write a post on my blog regarding 9/11 but didn't feel qualified to. I was not in USA when your country was under attack, although two dear friends of mine were in New York - their stories of their experiences have more weight than mine. Stories of not being able to contact each other, being re-united, one of them covered, covered in dust and debris.
    Remembrance is important - if anything, it lifts us from our petty everyday niggles and reminds us to be thankful for everything that allows us to live, breath and be with those we love.

  2. Well Cari-Jane, perhaps that's what you should have written. It sums it up beautifully. I think anyone who feels like that is qualified to write about 9/11. We thankfully were not in NYC when this happened and lost no friends. One friends restaurant is only 4 blocks from the site and was effected. But as you remind me, in the end, that's not what counts.


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