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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You on 9/11/2001?

Today I'd like us to honor those who died on 9/11. It's a devastating day of events that we'll never forget. Everyone has their own story about where they were, and how they remember that day. This blog will include photos I took on a visit to NY and the Towers site and a visit to New York, New York Casino in Las Vegas.

The first photo was taken before 9//11.

I was in CA, and got up early. My husband was on a business trip, but my son had to get up for work. I was planning to drive him. I watched TV, and saw the first tower in flames. My son joined me in front of the TV, and we watched in horror as the second tower was hit.

I got a frantic call from my mother in FL. She wondered if my brother-in-law was working in the Towers that day (his building was one of the surrounding ones). My mother couldn't reach my sister or brother in NY. But, I was able to get my sister. She didn't know where her husband was. I relayed messages back and forth from NY to FL.

For eight hours, there was no word about my brother-in-law. Finally, he was able to call my sister. He'd been in his building, filmed some of what happened (works in photography), and walked along one of the bridges to catch a train ride home. When he arrived at the station, my sister said he was in shock and didn't realize that he was covered in dust. He's seen terrible things...dead people, people jumping from the towers, the collapse of the Towers.

One thing he mentioned is the ferries that took people from that area to NJ. Barriers were torn down to allow more ferries. People were anxious but civil. He took footage of this, and let me view his films/photos. By the ferries, you can hear people saying, "Women and children first" and I could see women being rushed to the front and kids being lifted to the bow of the ferry. Strollers were taken and passed along to the front, too.

My brother watched with the same sadness we all felt. He'd worked on the building of the Towers for a summer job while in college. As a teacher on Long Island, he knew children who lost parents that day.

It was my daughter's 26th birthday, and I called her at work as soon as I saw what had happened. She hadn't heard about the towers. And for years, she didn't celebrate her birthday on 9/11.

My husband ended up being stranded without plane travel existing. He and others thought about renting/buying a car and driving from KS to CA, but decided to stay put. They were needed at Sprint. Sprint had a hell of a time trying to keep up with phone lines/connections working throughout their system in the NY area. He returned home when flights were allowed to take off days later. He mentioned how strange his first flight was, with extra scrutiny of passengers...and one man being taken off the plane. My husband went through long passenger approval steps...and this is a man who had top security clearance when he worked at the White House for 7 years.

How eerie it was, looking up at the sky and not being able to see or hear planes. Some military jets flew above my area, and some helicopters, but nothing else.

I remember walking outside and seeing some neighbors all with the same look of shock on their faces. I told them (at that time) that we didn't know if my brother-in-law had been inside the Towers, something he did on a fairly routine basis. One neighbor had her own story of a relative who worked occasionally in the Towers. Luckily, both our family members were spared.

The horror that day of the Towers collapsing, the Pentagon being hit, and the plane crash in PA, will long live in our memories. It changed us. It humbled us. We were vulnerable, right here "at home". Definitely an eye-opener for all of us.

I visited the Towers site a few years later. My brother-in-law came with me, and told his story as we walked around the area. All but the first photo and the last two were taken at that time.

The last photos were taken in Nov. 2001 at the New York, New York Casino in Las Vegas. Along the fence, people placed flags, tee shirts and hats as a makeshift memorial. And, no one spoke aloud along the whole distance of sidewalk fence line...only whispers could be heard.

I flew a week after 9/11 to visit family. People stared at each other in the eerily quiet terminal. I got through my security check, and watched in a sad, humorous way as celebrity "Hulk Hogan" was randomly chosen to go through an extra security check in front of everyone. No one would be exempt from going through extra security measures.

I've told my story. Would you like to share yours?


Amber Skyze said...

Thoughts and prayers to all the family and friends who lost someone on that dreadful day. A day we'll never forget.

Mindy said...

I had just gotten in from work
(11:15PM to 7:15AM) at a local center for the Developmentally disabled in Hamburg, PA. As is my habit I turned on the news as I made breakfast, I wondered WHY there was a science fiction movie about a plane flying into the Twin Towers on channel 10. I checked the channel and switched to a few other channels when the reality hit me...IT WASN"T A MOVIE!!
I watched transfixed as another plane hit the Towers and then the Pentagon.
I didn't know anyone personally who was at either place but I could only imagine the pain the families must have been feeling, and the shock of the victims last few minutes.

Mindy :)

Mindy said...

Well said Amber

Mindy :)

Tina Donahue said...

I was at work when the first plane hit. A friend of mine came in shortly after and asked if I'd heard about the crash. I hadn't. We got on the net and by then, the next plane crashed. It was like watching a horror movie, not real life. By the time the plane hit the Pentagon, I really thought we would be at war on our shores.

I'm watching Flight 93 on A&E. What those people went through before their plane crashed is so horrifying. I can't say enough about their courage and that of the firefighers and others who gave their lives that day to save others.

Nancy said...

I was working at NH 9-1-1, handling calls from distressd people. We were near Boston (where some hijacked planes took off) and strange jets (ours) were flying over the state. Scary.I was born 30 miles from NYC, in Huntngton, on Long Island.

jean hart stewart said...

We were at breakfast when a friend called and told me to turn on TV. It seemed too horrible to believe at first, but then I suddenly knew it was real. I had a nephew working in the building. We didn't know till the end of the day he'd walked down from the third floor and all the way to 77th St. before he recovered from the shock enough to call his family.

Sandy said...

I saw the actual hit of both towers and the replay for days. I couldn't write for days. It was just too sad and unbelievable.

Shannon Donnelly said...

There are days you always remember, and this was one of them. I'd gone into work as usual because I never watch the morning news. At the time I was working at Disney Online--and very soon, word spread of what was going on in NY. A few of the executives had TV's in their offices, and all of them went on--folks gathered in the offices to watch. No one said much of anything. We just watched.

Nothing got done that day--there was no work, and no one said anything about it. I had an early lunch with a close friend and everyone was told to go home. Life wasn't going to be normal that day.

Most of us reached friends or relatives via the Internet--there was no use trying to call anyone.

But what amazed me the most about that day was how little life was lost -- how many stories came up of people delayed, who'd missed flights, who hadn't been into work and in those towers. And then came the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

The saddest part of the day is that I've know people who have died since of illness that came from this day--from particles spewed into the air which New Yorkers lived with for weeks.

It's not just the memories that linger.

Anonymous said...

Prayers to all the families and friends of lost loved ones.

I had just got up to make breakfast for my dad and he turned on the TV. I had the beginnings of a migraine and as I watched the first plane dive into the tower I kept thinking that I was imagining what I was seeing and it was because of the headache. I must have stared at that repeating scene for the longest time, forgetting to blink. Then the horror set in.

I'll never forget that day or the countless heroes that came forward. And we'll never forget those who lost their lives that day. God Bless America.

Kari Thomas

Janice said...

I was at home. I got my daughter up for school and turned on the TV. I found my self watching the twin towers burn and wonder what happened. The emotion filled voice of the anchorman told what had happened. Five minutes later the first building fell. My mom called. She asked, "Are you watching this?"

I said yes.

She said, "The second one will fall. Just watch."

Ten minutes later it did.

I think all Americans were changed on that day. We haven't been the same since. In a way, I think I now understand how my parents and grandparents felt about Pearl Harbor. 9/11 is our Pearl Harbor. The day we lost our sense of security.

Six months later, I wrote a poem about 9/11. I don't normally write poems but I felt compelled to write it and posted it on my blog.


Jane Toombs said...

The Viking and I were waiting for me to receive radiation tratment for my cancer in Marquette, MI, when the TV switched to the awful sight of smoke and flames coming from one of the twin towwers. Since I used to live in upstate NY and had been in the tower durig a viait to NYC, it certainly took my mind off myself and the cancer as I realized what a horror this was. Ten years later, I'm still free of cancer, but I don't think any of us are entirely free of wondering where these terroists will strikr next. Jane

Liz said...

mine--a ex-pat American's view from Istanbul, will be posted here tomorrow on my normal posting day. These are all poignant stories. Thanks for sharing them.

Katalina Leon said...

Several months before 9/11-- I would cringe every time I casually glanced at the clock and saw 9:11. The night before my sister and another friend called full of nameless anxiety and sadness over something they couldn't put their finger on.
The next morning we all graphically saw what caused the 9/11 dread.
It makes me wonder if events of this magnitude cause a pressure wave of energy that precedes them?

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