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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reflections of 9/11: 10 Years Later




In just a few days, we will be remembering a terrible event in our Nation's expansive history. On September 11th, 2011, we will be recalling the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This horrifying event that occurred changed all of our lives forever. One writer could not do proper justice to describe the heroism, sacrifice, tragedy and courage that morning a decade ago.

As I did last year, I decided to ask people from all walks of life to share their experiences of that fateful and dreadful day. The following is the result. It is my hope that in the spirit of the day, you will look past the length of this article, read each response and share in the emotion and the memories of that day with us.

I remembered sleeping and all. When I got up, I turned on the FAN anticipating a show to talk about Denver beating the Giants on 9/11, and then when I heard about the 9/11 bombings, it hit me. That was depressing. I was shocked, and I still am. That not only hurt the city, but it hurt the country. It took me awhile to get over it. -Leslie

I was home sleeping when my sister called to tell me that a plane had flown into the WTC. My brother-in-law who is NYPD got there to see the first tower collapse. He lost his close friend who is FDNY and 2 men from the 6th Precinct. Thank God he was safe. Then I went to work and instead of going home at the end of my shift, they kept us until 3am because they planned to send us to use Shea Stadium as a Triage area. But the few survivors were treated in Manhattan. I was numb with shock and grief. So many of our friends lost loved ones. NEVER FORGET. -Gaile


it was a horrible day.... i was dumbstruck at what had happened.. i was only 13 at the time and didnt understand how anyone could commit such a hateful crime... i also found out that day that a good neighbor of mine who was a fireman was called in to work that day which he had off originally... I found out he had gone missing and unfortunately he was found dead... it was just a horrible day... week... month... year... and its one I will never forget as long as I live -Jessica Ann

horrrific day, one i will never forget,. started out as a normal morning, drinkin the ice coffee & watchin the news. then shower, then i was right about to turn off the tv to go to school, & like it came up. and i was shocked. rest in peace to those who died & those who tried to save ♥ -John Paul

i worked on 34th street in the city at that time. i was supposed to have the day off but i went in because i wanted to have a long weekend with my friends. when i got upstairs to sign in was when i first heard, and my thought was wow, its a beautiful clear day, how could someone hit the towers?? then as patients came in we got the whole story. since i worked for beth israel i had to help cover for staff that couldn't come in, and i had no tv...i didn't see the actual devastation til that night... -Mercedes

myself, i was at work in nj, loading a truck when someone told me that the towers had been hit, after saying that isnt something to joke about was told to go into my office and see the tv my boss had on. was standing there watching when the towers went down and i fell to my knees in shock. my bro was supposed to be in one of the towers repairing a computer for his company. i tg he overslept and was half hour late getting to work. it took him over 9 hrs to get home that day. i still close my eyes and see those towers coming down and feel the shock. i must say our boys did very well and the org in using shea to stage nec. space for whatever they needed. gb the men and women who responded to that call who never got to come home and those that did who will never be able to have a normal nites sleep after that.....FIRST RESPONDERS RANK #1 in my eyes. -Debi

it was a gorgeous day. I was supposed to go on a job interview just a couple of blocks away from there that day but didn't go...glad I didn't.When I saw the first plane hit I was really confuseed..I was like..why is the WTC on fire? then when I saw the second one hit..I was in disbelief and in complete shock..I almost had a nervous breakdown. My brother worked in midtown and managed to find a cab to get him home which was in Queens -Shari

I was at work in upstate NY (90 miles away) when someone told me about it and since I am my own boss I walked to a diner which had a TV and sat there for hours watching it all in disbelief. I couldn't understand how someone could hate us so much that they would kill themselves just so they could kill more of us. -Marc

I was at a friends garage, getting a state inspection done on my truck. We heard over the radio that a plane hit the Trade Center. At first we were not really concerned about it, because we knew it was a PERFECT day and just assumed it was a small private plane with a student pilot or something in it. Just as I was leaving to go home, and still thinking it was just an accident, the second plane hit. Then we knew something was going on. Ironically I was the Assistant Chief in my Volunteer Fire Dept at the time. I got home and turned on the TV and couldn't believe what I was seeing, the reports that were on the radio were still saying that it was two small planes or corporate jets. When I saw the Towers, I knew it wasn't a small plane. After watching the Towers fall on TV, I went to my Firehouse, which is in a small Jersey Shore town. I spent the day there watching the TV with several other guys, and waiting and wondering what was going to happen next. Later that day, actually that night, we were sent to the local train station to assist with decontaminating any passengers who were coming home from the City. We didn't have to decon anybody, it had been done before they got on the train, but the looks on the faces of the people getting off the trains, and their relief at being home and seeing us waiting to assist them is something I will never forget -Rick

I stood there - on my street in Brooklyn - with the plume of smoke going overhead - and watching the charred pieces of office paper - and other things - slowly drifting down - and the tears pouring down my face - From the numbness grew sadness - mixed with fury - - - When they reopened the Subways - a couple of days later - I went to my office and took out one of my American Flags and hung it on the wall in my department - - - The CEO saw it and told my department head that he wanted a large one for the lobby - - - Since I did the purchasing - I looked everywhere - but everyone was totally sold out - and no-one was expecting stock for weeks - - - Then I found a large Flag Company whose offices and warehouse within the Ground-Zero Frozen Zone - - - I got through to them and they pre-sold me what I wanted - available as soon as they could get in there - - - They called me when they did & e-mailed an authorization letter to go to their office - - - I went down - cried with them - and took the flag - 9' x 17' - back and hung it in the lobby - - - It now hangs outside the entrance of our Wilmington offices - - - -Ernie

I remember sitting in my car on my way to work. I was eating a bagel and listening to the Howard Stern show, pre-satellite radio days. Robin Quivers, Stern's co-host was in the middle of relaying the morning news when she said a plane hit the World Trade Center. I worked and still do in fact for Cablevision, and made it in that day thinking some fool in a Cessna, probably drunk, flew into the building. At the time Cablevision owned the Wiz and as I walked into the store I saw that everyone was huddled by the massive wall of what is now considered old fashioned Cathode Ray Tube TV's. There was complete silence other than the TV commentators. This was no Cessna flown by a drunken fool. The store background music was no longer playing and as I literally walked over to see what was happening, the second plane struck. We were all in shock and many of us were openly weeping. One of the most unnerving moments happened a few days later when a group of men dressed in traditional Muslim Thobe robes came into the store and tried to purchase 10 satellite telephones, which the Wiz did not offer. Within aprroximately 30 minutes the ATF in full body armor and weapons at the ready entered the store. It was the most surreal and frightening experience I've ever been a part of. -Joe

The most compelling story I have about 9/11 actually happened on 9/12. I couldn't get into the city the day before, obviously, so I just spent the day watching the coverage and waiting for my wife to get home (she had to walk over the bridge). But the next morning I went into work early because I couldn't sleep that night. I left the house and never forgot the smell in the air which blew into Queens. Honestly, it was a combination of smoke and death. It made me sick. I waited for the train at a crowded stop in Queens ... I mean, wall to wall people. And it was dead silent. You could hear a mouse walk on cotton. It was really eerie. Then to get into Manhattan and not see cars but see army trucks? I'll never forget it. -John C.


I recall the morning of September 11th, 2001 vividly. I worked at an alarm monitoring center. I could not call into NYC to dispatch their authorities on any alarms, the phone lines there were all down. I called one alarm company in Newark to let them know we couldn't dispatch on their customer's alarms and the woman told me to turn on the TV. When I told several co-workers what she had told me, we turned the TV on and were horrified. We all watched in shock and disillusionment. My wife called me to make sure I was safe. When she heard the news, she immediately thought the worst, as we all did. That morning will live on in me for the rest of my life. It is a day when the entire country was brought together in harmony to mourn. I watched the coverage for days. One by one, each building toppling after another. It was an experience I will never forget. I cried for days in the wake of that morning. The images are still fresh in my memory. The destruction, the bravery, the tears, all will remain with me for the rest of my life. -Frank


I thank those courageous men and women who served and did their duty that day and beyond. I hope we never forget the victims or their families. The pain, the suffering that they all have endured and still do.

On this tenth anniversary of that day, I pray for the souls of those lost and for those they left behind. It is my sincere hope and wish that everyone who reads this will do the same. At least for a moment, remember the fallen and the morning that changed our world.

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