"Fiction is the purest art. Commercial fiction is the butter, the darkest chocolate, and the finest malt. That's why we are so addicted to it."--Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli
Seems like yesterday when this happened. Changed so much, so quickly.
It does seem like yesterday. Still so vivid in my memory.I'm in England at the moment. Think I'll do a small survey, see who remembers and how they remember that time in history.
It happened the September before I left home to go to university, so that day has always felt like a very definite marker of the end of my childhood. I was a pretty naïve teen, and a little ashamed to say that events that didn't directly affect me were fairly easy to ignore - until this happened. It was terrifying and confusing and so, so shocking to me. I don't think I will ever stop being shocked by it. I visited the museum last December during my first trip to NY. It was honestly one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life, it almost felt like a pilgrimage. I certainly did a lot of praying there.
When this happened, it all seemed so distant. I didn't "know" anyone in NYC at the time. Now, I do. And not just online. My daughter-in-law grew up on LI and has family there. She lost people that day, to death and to grief. There were cops and firefighters and nurses in her extended family who all rushed in to help and who either died or stood by, helpless, when it was made painfully clear that their services were not needed. And now her loss is mine.It feels inadequate, and perhaps foolish, to hope that the online connections I've made in the years since that day have brought us all a bit closer to each other, that we have made friends and shared dreams and stories and developed an empathy that didn't exist before the days when we could communicate online with just a click. But that hope is all I have. The hope that knowing each other, understanding each other, caring about people who live in other places and who are not like us, learning to celebrate our differences rather than fear them, knowing that we all yearn for the same basic things from life . . . I hope all of that matters. I hope we have now formed connections we couldn't have even imagined on that day. I hope the world and its people have changed, since that day, even if only a little bit. And I rather desperately hope we all have learned something in the past fourteen years. That when we remember that day it's because we all care about each other, today, just a little bit more than we did then.
Stunningly simple and unbelievably powerfully sad image.
May their memory be eternal.
Powerful image, Janet. Very powerful. Tough to find adequate words.
They canceled our bible study class after the first reports came in. I went home and sat in front of the TV and cried. My aunt and uncle lived a block from Lincoln Center and I spent many months every year in NYC. I felt numb watching what was happening. I make a point of listening to the service every year, the reading of the names. It's the least I can do to remember the devastation and pray for those left behind.
I can't express this so I will defer to Alan Jackson. He performed this at the CMAs after 9/11. Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?Were you in the yard with your wife and childrenOr working on some stage in L.A.?Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smokeRisin' against that blue sky?Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighborOr did you just sit down and cry?Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved onesAnd pray for the ones who don't know?Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubbleAnd sob for the ones left below?Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blueAnd the heroes who died just doin' what they do?Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answerAnd look at yourself and what really matters?I'm just a singer of simple songsI'm not a real political manI watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and IranBut I know Jesus and I talk to GodAnd I remember this from when I was youngFaith, hope and love are some good things He gave usAnd the greatest is loveWhere were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?Were you teaching a class full of innocent childrenOr driving down some cold interstate?Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivorIn a crowded room did you feel alone?Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?Did you dust off that Bible at home?Did you open your eyes, hope it never happenedClose your eyes and not go to sleep?Did you notice the sunset the first time in agesOr speak to some stranger on the street?Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrowOr go out and buy you a gun?Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangersDid you stand in line and give your own blood?Did you just stay home and cling tight to your familyThank God you had somebody to love?I'm just a singer of simple songsI'm not a real political manI watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and IranBut I know Jesus and I talk to GodAnd I remember this from when I was youngFaith, hope and love are some good things He gave usAnd the greatest is loveI'm just a singer of simple songsI'm not a real political manI watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and IranBut I know Jesus and I talk to GodAnd I remember this from when I was youngFaith, hope and love are some good things He gave usAnd the greatest is loveAnd the greatest is love.And the greatest is love.Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?
This is one of my favorite memorial pictures. I've used a similar one on my blog today. It says such a lot in one image.The world changed that day. In big ways, like the realization that this kind of terrorist act isn't something that only happens somewhere else, that security and freedom don't always make happy bedfellows, that what happens to one happens to all. The power of the Internet, and 24-7 instant news became real as I was able to watch live coverage online on CNN while at work, and even compare reporting from the BBC. And then there are all the personal stories. The grief and worry as families searched for loved ones; the brave emergency service workers who responded at Ground Zero; the brave soldiers who responded to the attackers; and the rest of us who stared in disbelief, only beginning to realize as the day wore on, that our lives had changed, and whatever we thought would be the thing that marked the 21st century, we never dreamed it would be this.
At the time of the attack, I was teaching a class called "Reading Workshop" for Middle Schoolers. I was with a seventh grade class when the principal came in to tell us what happened. We stopped our lessons and prayed (I taught at a Christian school), as did all the other classes. A few days later I had the students write a paper describing the experience - everything they remembered about the day they learned of the attack. I also wrote a letter describing my memory of the classroom experience. I read their papers (which was enlightening - we forget what it feels like to be 13). Then I made a copy of my letter. For each student I placed a copy of their paper and my letter in a sealed envelope and I placed them in a file. Then at graduation in 2007, I gave each student their sealed envelope.We often hear the question "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" I know where I was (which is actually an amusing story for another time). I wanted these kids to remember the nuances of where they were and to be able to remember who they were at the time, also.I might have lost my job had I still worked at a public school, because I think I might have been on my knees, anyway.
Just gave a short speech at work to honor the seven employees my company lost on American Airlines flight 11 that hit one of the towers. My hands are shaking, can barely type. Rest in peace.
Before 9/11, I never thought much about the sorrow that could be living in the hearts of complete strangers, that would undo me. After 9/11 I never looked into another stranger's eyes the same way.
I was trying to hit deadline and my middle son Cody called. "Mom, are you watching tv?""No, I'm working on stories.""Turn the tv on. A plane just hit the world trade center."I turned the tv on just in time to watch the second one hit. I don't think I'd heard him cry as a grown man before. I'm crying again now. It will be one of the turning points of my life.
I was a middle schooler in the midwest when the attacks happened. My classmates and I were in social studies class and were were learning about the power of media in making history. We were watching the news as it happened.Never had a room gone so quiet so fast before. Our teacher just stopped. He was so mesmerized he couldn't turn off the television. We just watched. A friend of mine burst out in tears because her step-dad was visiting NYC. He was supposed to be in one of the towers when it happened. He wasn't.All those people...9/11 is burned into the memories of so many. May those lost that day rest in peace.
We had just finished moving into quarters on Ft. Benning, GA. My husband was at work.You could say 9/11 had a direct impact on us, our neighbors, friends and coworkers long after the dust settled and most everyone else went back to their lives. You could also say it still hasn't settled. Evil exists, and it can't be placated with good intentions and humanitarian supplies as much as we may wish it could. Right now, there are people in harm's way trying to keep that evil at bay. My prayers go to them, and all the innocents caught in the crossfire.
There are two dates the world remembers where they were and what they were doing, regardless of how long ago. The day JFK was assassinated and 9/11.E.M., thank you for writing the words to that song, it's so powerful. It made me cry reading them and remembering how we cried on that horrible day 14 years ago.KD and Susan, if only the world cared more today, but look how it took a photograph of a small child washed up on the shore for countries to react to what's been going on in Syria for almost 5 years. I could write a lot more about this, but this isn't the time, or the place, so I'll refrain.To the brave men and women who did heroic things without a thought for their safety and to the spirit of New Yorkers on that day fourteen years ago, there's still hope for this mad, mad, world we live in.
We lived in a small town in Northwest Wisconsin. I was by myself in our office working on a Timber sale contract, and a call came in - I was notified by my kids school that they were in lock down. "Why?" I asked, ready to go into cop mode, and they told me to turn on the news. I went on the internet...then quickly emailed my friends on the east coast, then drove to the school...My daughters remember teachers crying, sharing what they could so that young minds could comprehend... The weeks that followed afterward, with no planes in the sky except for the military (we were near the Canadian Border)- knowing this was unnerving. My daughter who was in Jr high had her poem selected to be read out loud at a special service the county had at the courthouse. My kids were never the same; innocence lost that the world is not a safe place...Although thousands of miles away, we hurt for our country, for the people who were killed, for those families who would never see their loved one again. We all were never the same. No, we will never forget.
A sad side note: I was listening to the radio this morning and they were asking "young people" if they remembered what they were doing on 9/11. One said he was only 12 or 13 and didn't really remember, but he knows that the emergency 911 number is because of the attacks that day. I don't know who taught him that, but the number came about, in large part, because of the murder of Kitty Genovese. It was the impetus to push forward something that had only been knocked around for years. But the really scary thing is, this kid was 12 or 13 and doesn't remember 911 before 9/11?Also, they did an article in January on the last surviving search and rescue dog from Ground Zero, Woodie, died this year. We remember all the rescue people and sometimes forget the four legged ones who worked so tirelessly in the aftermath and brought a smile, if only for a moment, to the humans who searched and rescued and needed the comfort.
I was home when it happened, sleeping in, as I was ill and needed a lot of sleep. I got a phone call from my friend's mother saying my friend was fine. This is my friend who lives in NYC.I had no idea what she was talking about.I turned on the TV, just in time to see the second tower fall.It was very surreal. I'd never been to NYC at that point, and NYC itself was still not quite real to me. And then this happened.My first visit to NYC was in 2004. The wound was still fresh at that time - you could feel it everywhere. My friend took me to that church nearby, and we spent a lot of time there. As Laura Mary said of the museum - it really felt like a pilgrimage. My friend had lost friends that day, and she cried while we looked at images and items that carried so many memories.A Canadian publisher decided to put out a poetry anthology about that day. I felt I needed to contribute. I wrote a couple poems, but because they had rhyme and rhythm, they weren't considered good enough for the real anthology... but the editors decided to take ALL the poems and include them in a CD at the back of the book. (No one got paid. As I understood it at the time, all proceeds were to go to a relief agency.)I just read one of them now, and I can see that maybe the rhythm is off a bit here and there, but I think the message is still pretty strong, so I'll share it here.They Tried to Kill MeThey tried to kill me, violent men,But here I am, alive.I thought that I was safe at home;They attacked me from inside.I'm still in shock, the wounds still hurt,But I will soon be right.I didn't have a chance that day,But I know how to fight.They hit me twice in my two legsWith daggers of sharp steel.They hit my back, so strong it was,With a force that made me reel.They missed my head, but left a blowWhich often throbs with pain.Throughout it all, they missed my heart...So I, alive, remain.They tried to kill me, hate-filled men,But here I am, alive.They missed my heart, they missed my soul,And so I shall survive.
Yesterday I remembered today's date. I wondered if QUOTKU would post that photo. It's the memorial image which popped in my mind. I wrote a blogpost then wondered if I should take it down. It is a day the whole world remembers.
Of course, like everyone else, I distinctly remember where I was, at work writing a weekly report. A co-worker called from Ottawa and asked me if I'd seen the news. I said no b/c...work. He said pull up a news channel on your computer.And so, I did.A couple weeks ago I looked at some 9/11 photos (again) of the jumpers. Some of you might think it morbid. I don't because when I look at them, particularly the iconic one, the symbol of the horror of 9/11, (if you don't know it, it doesn't matter) I've tried to put myself in their place. I've tried to imagine in that moment, in that second just before, were they already gone? Had they somehow collected themselves and their thoughts and become "otherly" already? I hoped so. I'm a writer, and I want to understand them, their minds, their thought processes which took them "there," to those spots where they stood, and beyond. If I can even grasp one split second of that resolve, capture it and put it into words, as a writer I would have learned something.
BJ, I loved it. E.M. my dad who passed in March was a HUGE Alan Jackson fan, and that song was one of his favorites.
Angie, after writing my comment here, I went to my blog and wrote a post, The Good And Evil In This World We Live In. Don't take yours down. Some things need to be said. I hesitated putting Aylan Kurdi's photo on my blog, but after thinking about it for a long time, I decided to post it rather than to have it pushed under a rug, so to speak. I like what Benedict Cumberbatch said today, “No one puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
My hubby lost an Air Force buddy at the Pentagon. When you're a military family you know you will lose friends in wartime. You don't expect war to come to your front door. We will never forget.
I have no words. Just needed to join.
And so many questions not yet answered. It is still an open wound.I ended up in New York a week and a half after it happened. The call had gone out requesting every environmental company on the east coast. Send you best person. I was one of those.The mass of hurt and pain in the city only succumbed to anger. Some of those called in almost didn't make it back out. People weren't able to comprehend that it was a hazardous waste site. You could not stop those who were still looking for the missing. It was only rivaled by New Orleans after Katrina in comparison of awful conditions and the loss.To me and many other trained professionals something didn't fit right. The puzzle had some missing pieces. And there is still the matter of those twenty five pages of the commission report that are under lock and key for political reasons.
Donna I have also wondered the same. Curse or blessing writers have to go there. Thank you for putting into words my thoughts.
I have asked classes every year, "where were you when it happened?"Every year, they had powerful stories.Last year, the freshmen looked at me with confused eyes. They didn't know.This year, we're reading 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive in the Twin Towers.It won't be easy.
The picture brought tears to my eyes.Thank you. We remember.
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