Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering the Unforgettable

Today, we at Twitarded are taking a hiatus from our usual shenanigans to remember and mourn all those who had their lives viciously taken from them in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

TK's Thoughts
It sounds trite, but 9/11/01 seems like yesterday. I can't possibly look back on that day without seeing it from a mother's perspective. My son was three weeks and one day old. When I got out of bed that morning, my biggest fear was that I'd never have time to shower again. Within hours, the entire world changed.

Thousands of people so similar to myself needlessly perished that day. The only thing separating me from them was a simple matter of being in a different place at a different time. So many people were deprived of the opportunity to see their children grow up. I can never forget watching the non-stop coverage and waiting by the phone for news from friends and loved ones in the following days. I won't ever forget going through all the cordless phone handsets as their batteries died because I was afraid to hang up with my husband. His building was on lock down and they weren't cleared to leave until sometime that evening.

I remember listening to the 911 calls and seeing the emergency personnel rush into the burning towers, knowing they were unlikely to return alive. I remember seeing Pentagon employees running from the building, throwing their shoes and ID badges aside because they feared a sniper was in the area. I listened to the phone calls from United 93 and wondered how I was ever going to explain all of this to my child. I've had ten years and I still have no explanation, though I think of it nearly every day.

I hope no one ever forgets. It's the least we can do to honor the victims and those who mourn them.

JJ's Thoughts
"Someone crashed an airplane into the twin towers," my mother told me over the phone, alarm in her voice.

"What kind of jackass would do that?" I replied, incredulous and baffled. I imagined some newly licensed pilot in a little bi-plane and thought, what a horribly dumb accident. Then the news reports starting trickling in and that dumb accident turned into a tragic, terrible accident. I didn't want to think it was anything else but that - an accident. But it wasn't until the second plane hit the South tower and the news that there were more planes involved did I realize it wasn't an accident at all.

We were sent home shortly after to be with our families and as I drove home, I listened to Howard Stern (my go-to for everything back then) as he choked up and nearly sobbed, dirty jokes and irreverent humor long forgotten in the wake of a rapidly unfolding tragedy. Later, as I stood in my parent's front yard and watched military planes from McGuire Air Force Base fly over, I tried to wrap my head around the utter devastation and enormity of the situation.

Sometimes, I think I'm still trying. I try to imagine the people who lost their lives, what they were thinking when they clasped hands with co-workers to jump out windows, making that one last brave and terrible choice. Or the families left behind, who said goodbye to their loved ones that day without ever thinking that they wouldn't be coming back. All the brave rescue workers who rushed into the wake of the attack, determined to save lives and losing their own instead. On United 93, how ordinary people defied the unimaginable inhumanity they faced and decided to fight rather than to submit meekly to their fate.

We can't forget them. Not any of them. And we can't forget all those who joined together during the aftermath - the rescue workers and ordinary citizens who donated blood, resources and money, who took leave from their own jobs and lives and traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to help New York City and Washington D.C. rebuild.

The city is different now. It still moves and hustles and produces and acts the same way it did before the attacks. It's still beautiful and chaotic, messy and fun. It's really the occasional conversation that brings it back. "Before 9/11..." "Remember Sarah, who used to work in Corporate? The one who quit to work in the North Tower a couple months before 9/11? Yeah, well she used to say..."

Post-9/11 is the city I know best. The skyline, without those two towers jutting into the sky, is the one I'm most familiar with, the one I see nearly every day when I go to work. Sometimes, I have to really think to remember exactly where those towers belonged in that skyline.

But I will never forget they did.

LKW's Thoughts
I was faced with a deadline the morning of September 11th... the newspapers were waiting for their ads and I couldn't find anyone in my office who was supposed to be working on them.  I was fuming... I was at my deadline. I had no idea what was happening at 8:46am, and every day I regret my attitude that morning. I regret that I was tapping my foot, arms crossed, waiting for my stupid newspaper ads to be done. What was wrong with me?

When I found my coworkers, they were crowded around a small black and white, rabbit-eared television. I joined the huddle just as the second plane hit. And I was hit with the severity of the situation -- my ads long forgotten. A coworker rushed out of the room in a panic. His dad lived across the street from the World Trade Center. He was frantic as he tried to get a hold of him. We just stared at the screen, trying to make sense of this event that was taking place before our eyes.

I do remember it like it was yesterday. I remember watching hours of television footage and sobbing. I remember worrying about my (future) mother-in-law -- she both lived and worked in Manhattan (she was not in the general area jsyk). I remember worrying about what was next. I remember the heroic acts of those who sprang into immediate action. And in the following weeks, I remember a sense of community that I had never felt before. I remember the amazing display of patriotism with the way America came together in the face of darkness. I remember standing out on my porch with a candle along with everyone else in my neighborhood -- a sign of solidarity -- we would not give up.

Personally, the attacks on September 11th didn't affect me. I didn't know anyone who perished in these attacks, but like everyone else not in the immediate areas where any of the three tragedies occurred, I felt great sadness for the victims and their families. And I felt angry.

I will never forget.

Our thoughts are with everyone who was touched by this tragic day.


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  2. Truly epic post ladies..
    Remembering is what we do, and feel..I was at work, and they let us go home, I later found out my cousins fiance was in the south tower and was not heard from until a few hours later..He was fine, and was actually helping people out of the buildings till a fireman told him to go..several minutes later the tower fell. I remember the panic, and shock I felt watching it all unfold on tv, and the sadness I felt in my heart for all those people who's lives would be forever affected by the tremendous loss of life.
    Never Forget 9-11.

  3. Gorgeous post ladies. I remember like it was yesterday waking up to my roomate barging in my room after a night of drinking. I wondered why she would be so rude as to wake me up so early. But when she said "Jamie, get up. The twin towers are gone!" I immediately sprang from bed to the couch and didn't move all day as I watched all of the news coverage and cried. We finally got up that night to walk downtown and get some food but all of the stores and restaurants were closed in honor of those lives lost. Town was silent.. everyone was mourning the tragedy of 9/11. We will forever be mourning the lives lost on that day and thankful for all of those who risked their lives to help.

  4. My husband works at the Portland Jetport in Maine and thats where the terrorists flew out of before Logan. He was working security for TSA that morning and he, along with all his other coworkers, were fired for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those mindnumbing days after 9/11 my husband had to endure people saying 'Good job asshole for letting them through!' It broke my hubbys heart. 'All they had was their jackets and a Koran... what was I supposed to do?', he'd say, teary eyed. He suffers to this day, thinking about physically
    touching these psychos when they went through the metal detectors. He actually told them to have a nice flight. Can you imagine what they thought?

  5. A beautiful post and worthy tribute, ladies. Thank you.

  6. @Kerri - Oh my goodness what you and your husband have been through. I hope your husband has got the help he needs to cope with such pain.

  7. Thank you for posting this.

    I remember feeling like a huge asshole that day. My wedding anniversary is 9/10, and ever year before hubward and I had children we would take a "honeymoon do-over week." I remember, and have pictures of us in NYC with the towers in the background from 9/11/00- Exactly a year before this happened I stood at the base of the towers.

    Well on 9/11/01 I found my self fuming at the STL airport because they just posted a delay for our flight to Florida. In the middle of what I'm sure was me ranting like an asshat someone screamed to look at the T.V. and we watched the second plane hit.

    I never went to Florida, and I donated the refund to a relief effort.

    I will never forget.

  8. Beautifully written, ladies. Truly, a wonderful post. (STY, hope all is okay?)

    @Kerri - hugs to your hubby. He couldn't have known. They would have found a way anyway.

    The thing that has touched me most today is the display of genuine emotion I keep seeing - we watched the memorial services on the news this morning, and this afternoon hubs was watching football and all of the beautiful tributes at those games. So many tears and so many thoughtful, sad faces on the screen. If I could say one thing, it would be to challenge everyone to feel that pride and patriotism EVERY day, not just today. My American flag is hanging by the front door. Not just today - it has been there all summer. Let's not make this a once-a-year day of remembrance and honoring the people who were lost and our incredibly brave first responders and military - they should be honored and remembered EVERY day. God bless them all.

  9. @Kerri - My heart goes out to you and your husband when I read your comment. I hope your husband can find peace. It wasn't his fault.

    Thanks Ladies for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    I will never forget.

  10. Kerri I live in Portland, and worked in Jewelry..the terroists came into our store and bought watches and gifts to send home to there familys the days before..We also felt awful. Your husband should not have had ANYONE say anything,he did his job. Are you still in Maine? and are you on twitter?

  11. Thank you for sharing Ladies.

    I live far far away from the US - in Australia - but have tears welled in my eyes thinking about those lost and those who lost someone on that awful awful day..

    Even though not so many of us here were directly affected we too lost our innocence on that day and it has changed the way many of us view our world too. We mourned along side you all.

    Kerri - my heart goes out to you & your husband too, noone should ever ever say something so awful to him. A previous commented was right, he couldn't have known :(

    I will never forget

  12. Kerry- I'm joining in on the chorus of saying that it wasn't your husbands fault. He couldn't have known that those two fucktards were going to do what they did, and last I checked, TSA can't bar you for flying because you have a Koran... that would lead to a lawsuit courtesy of the ACLU. No one has Alice Cullen's ability to see into the future. He couldn't have known and the people who are total dicks to him should realize that too.

  13. I worked on a lower floor of a high rise near Times Square and had been running late that morning and walked, crabby and grumbling, past a perfect view of the Towers down 6th Ave about a minute after the first plane hit. I remember numbly walking back home with a coworker down that same avenue as I watched the Towers crumble. My husband (then my fiancé) spent 8 hours trying to get from Jersey City where he worked directly across from WTC back home to Brooklyn where we lived. Cell phones weren't working, I had no idea where he was. he finally arrived home and we just looked out our window in disbelief. There was ash on our windowsill for a week.
    This particular anniversary has been really hard. Our condo overlooks downtown Manhattan and our kids love watching the Freedom Tower's progress. But I hate that hole in the skyline like a widow hates the empty seat at the dinner table.
    @Kerri- your story broke my heart and I hope those negative sentiments did not last long.

  14. What blows me away, is that my son doesn't remember the initial where were you when? I was helping his 8 y/o self to adjust his cargo pants for school, having been watching about the "accident" in the towers. I happened to look down to tighten the string when I heard the newscaster gasp, and looked up. I started wailing. It was 6 am in WA State, and I had a bus to catch. I was on the bus when the towers fell, and everyone w/ radios started crying and gasping. Remembering that day makes me want to live my life to the fullest. Today, in remembrance, my son and I went kayaking in Puget Sound. That's what the victims/rescuers would have wanted--to spend time with their own families.

    @Kerry-Show your husband all our comments. We're all behind him and wish him well!

  15. I had just gotten home 3 days earlier from having my daughter via c-section so she was exactly 7 days old. Sometimes I forget her birthday and have to subtract 7 days from 9/11 to remember.

    I live in California so it was really early in the morning, but my husband was home from work helping me recover and was sitting in our home office working and watching TV. He woke me up (which I was not happy about since I was barely sleeping as it was) and turned the TV on for me. We sat there the rest of the day glued to the TV.

    @Kerri - I am so sorry for the stress that must bring your husband and family. It was horrible that the terrorists made it on, but they had studied the rules so they could get around them and the TSA was only following protocol. Eventually they will find another loophole and try something equally as horrific. We are lucky to live in a free society where people are allowed to travel freely, but it makes room for bad people to do bad things.

    I still cry when confronted with 9/11 in certain situations and could barely watch the ceremony this morning. I actually had to leave the room.

  16. Thanks ladies. This is the first time I have had a vested interest - let me rephrase - the first time I have thought of 9/11 from the perspective of knowing anyone that may have been near the area.

    Here in New Zealand, it was September 12th. I woke up before 6am to go to work (nursing) and the radio announcers as I woke up suggested that I turn off the radio and turn on the TV. That had my attention.

    We spent almost that whole day at the hospital rushing back to the nurses' station to listen to the radio whenever we could between tasks.

    America's grief was felt far further away than just your shores. The world remembers your darkest day alongside you, and holds your hand on this day.

    The American rugby team, here in NZ for the World Cup, were guests of honour yesterday in the first memorial service for 9/11 this year. Because of our position next to the date line we often have 'first in the world' things, and it was really touching that this was able to happen for the American lads here to represent your country in sport.

  17. @Kerri ~ I'm so sorry for what you and your family must have gone through.

  18. Thank you for the beautiful post, ladies. I was tuned in to the NFL today and when I heard "Taps" being played in tribute followed by our National Anthem, it brought tears to my eyes. I live and work in central NJ. On the morning of 9-11-01, I was at my job on the 10th floor of a 13 story building (I still work there) when I heard the news about the first plane hitting the WTC and like JJ, thought "how in hell could a small plane not see such a huge obstacle?". Then the second plane hit and I thought, "OK, this is no accident". When the plane hit the Pentagon, I totally freaked and felt this overwhelming need to be home. Once home, I remember talking to my mom on the phone and watching the second tower collapse as it happened and just crying uncontrollably. I left my then 6-year-old son in school because I felt he was better off there than at home seeing me so upset. He was in the 2nd grade then. He's a high school senior now. That alone reminds me of how much time has passed.

    God bless all of those lost on that tragic day and those who were left behind to mourn them.

  19. I just wanted to thank everyone for saying such wonderful things. My husband, Scott, knows it wasn't his fault, no matter what those assholes said. And your right, TSA had no right to fire a bunch of screeners, but they needed to blame someone by beefing up security. And we all know how fun it is to fly now. *rolling eyes* More than anything he struggled with being in the presence of such evil. I mean, you hear about it, even read about it, but to actually come face to face with it and not realize it until after... well, it sort of shakes you to the core.

    @Double dippin- Yeah, I'm still in Maine. We've moved to Buxton two years ago and Scott still works at the airport; Peidmont Airways this time around. As horrific as that time was for everyone he still loves the airport. I'm sorry to hear that you too faced these guys. Did you feel the same way Scott did? It's sereal, isn't it?

    I don't have a twitter account but Im on face book under the name Kerri Hennebury. I seriously have to change the profile picture. I look like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters!

  20. Beautiful post ladies...just beautiful.

    I, too, remember almost every detail about that morning. A friend of ours called and woke me up (Seattle)to say a plane had crashed into the WTC. We turned on the news. I was supposed to go downtown Seattle that morning for a conference. I road the bus down with my bff. Everyone was talking about it on the bus. When I got to my conference downtown a warning had been issued to all big cities with high rise buildings. They cancelled the conference (it was in a high rise building on the 23rd floor) and sent everyone home. I went to my bff's office and we headed home. Everyone downtown was getting increasingly nervous. The bus tunnel was packed with people going home...everyone was stunned. We got back to my friend's house and she and I sat and watched the news, holding each other's hands and bawled. We were watching footage of the people jumping out the buildings. Those images will never ever leave my memory.

    I found out two days later on 9/14/01, my 5th wedding anniversary, that I was pregnant with my first child. Talk about a week of strange, conflicting emotions.

    I, personally, did not know anyone that perished on 9/11 but it still guts me every time I think about it, hear about it, or I see photos. I did visit Ground Zero in 2004 while pregnant with my second child. I had been up in the WTC twice see the big holes in the ground was jarring to say the least. I read the names and bawled and bawled.

    @Kerri--I am so sorry your husband carries this with him. He sounds like a lovely man. I wish you both well.

    I love you people. xo

  21. Reading all these comments, I'm really having one of those "it's a small world" moments, considering how people all over the globe were impacted by the events of this day ten years ago. Being inundated with footage from that day as the anniversary approached was difficult - there was one moment last week where I turned on the radio and didn't know that they were re-playing a clip of the broadcast from that morning and for a second, I thought something awful had happened AGAIN. But while it can be painful to remember, we all know it is so important to never forget.

    I was at work that day too, and my whole company ended up crowded around a tv that we'd wheeled out the front door and into the parking lot so we could all see it. Watching the events unfold was horrifying. Like Tiolie, I also had the almost irresistible urge to flee home, but didn't. We had a coworker who had an appointment in one of the towers that morning (he was fine), and we had many clients in the buildings and surrounding area (not all of them escaped). I remember seeing the cars in the parking lot at the train station the next day and thinking "they are not coming home" - it was so painful. At the time, I lived in the town where Todd Beamer and his family resided. The impact and aftermath was inescapable in this area.

    @MyAfterCar - I'm fine - thanks! I just have some personal baggage around this day - it marks a different anniversary of a loss for me and it's hard for me to separate the events, so I decided to sit this one out and stick with the comments instead.

    @Kerri - I am happy to hear that your husband has moved on as best he could after dealing with something so devastating, and that he still stays in the aviation industry if it's something he loves. Nobody should have the right to take that away from him.

  22. What a beautiful post. It brought some beauty to my memories of that horrible day, so thank you for that. I have family in NYC and my cousin was working downtown that day, and I have another cousin that worked in the towers before 9/11, so I was very familiar with them as I had been to her work many times. We live near Hershey and went to NYC a few weeks before the start of school in 2001 and also visited family in the Bronx. When we went to the city, we did some typical tourist things and my son, who was 11 at the time, wanted to go into one of the towers. I told him that we didn't have time for that. They would be there next time we came...well, needless to say, they were not. He wrote an essay about that trip and quoted me in it, saying they would be there next time. I have that essay and will never get rid of it because the memories are just too precious. Who could have ever imagined something like that? We all lost our innocence that day.

    And I will never forget.

  23. I was 18, almost 19 when this happened. I live in the Seattle-ish area and at the time still lived at home. I remember my brother barging into my room & saying "Terrorists attacked New York!!!" We both sat in our parents room & watched TV. When I got to work in Downtown Seattle our whole office watched this teeny black & white protable TV. I remember being so upset & crying but also it felt more like a movie than real life. I tried to donate blood but I couldn't because I had gotten a tatoo a few months before. I remember friends having to go to war afterwards.

    Sitting at home yesterday & rewatching everything was really upsetting. I spent almost all day sobbing off & on. I know it's horrible but I understand a lot more about everything now than I did then. Seeing all the home video footage & knowing a lot more information. I don't remember ever actually seeing the people jumping from the buildings, only hearing about it. I never forgot about it but it definitley moved further back in my mind. Until this last weekend. I think it's good for everyone to remember why may have strict security at airports & government buildings. It really puts everything back into perspective.

    My heart still goes out to everyone that endured that day and everyone who lost their life.

    9/11/2001 Never fogotten.

  24. Such a beautiful post ladies.
    I too will never forget that day, I was at work early being that it was a Tuesday and our site’s maintenance day, we were on the phone with our software vendor from Atlanta and he told us about the tragedy. We immediately went to our computers to watch new footage and it was the live footage of the second plane, I was stunned that people could do something so heinous.

    Kerri I'm sorry your husband had to endure such ignorance, how could he know. I'm also glad he's been able to move on.

  25. I was at work that morning, and when one of our parents came in to drop off their child, they made the comment about a plane hitting the WTC. At first, we thought the same thing JJ did - how could you make a mistake like that? We turned on the radio, and as more information started coming in we realized this was bigger than an accident. We wheeled the old tv into the classroom (I was working with infants at the time, hopefully they weren't traumatized) and tuned in as the 2nd plane hit. We spent the rest of the day watching in disbelief. I remember sobbing and just holding those babies like a lifeline. I later learned that one of my friends was supposed to be on Flight 11 out of Boston. She was moving to LA, and ended up rescheduling for a day earlier. She still wonders about the person who took her seat.

  26. Thank you all so much for leaving your comments and sharing your experiences.

    @Kerri - I hope your husband does indeed find peace. I'm sure the realization that he was in the presence of these terrorists must have been very... unsettling and shocking. There was no way he could have ever known at the time. I was once speaking to a guy who lived in the same apartment building in Jersey City with one of the terrorists. They never had a clue.

  27. I don't mean to get political (bear w me here, you'll see where I'm goin…) but I think the following thought can a little bit of real breathing room, or a lil tangible consolation for Kerri and her husband…
    As major fuckwads as these fuckwads were (may they burn unequivocally in hell), I am one of those who hold the opinion that there MAY be bigger fuckwads to fry. This therefore would make these fuckwads' passing thru security a possible moot point and perhaps nothing Mr. Kerri could have done about it anyway.
    As far as coming into contact with evil, dam, I mean DAM!!, I hear ya. That would beat me up good too (Reminds me of a fine read, M. Scott Peck's People of The Lie).
    But to proceed from my first words to MyAfterCar's neighborhood candlelight vigil…
    As soon as I read that, MyAfterCar, I thought of the solidarity and love that flourished in the days after the attack. THAT was a gift as big as the sorrow we all suffered and a gift we need to nurture and grow. I think we should spread neighborhood vigils like that as often as possible. I want to take that feeling of togetherness back from the powers that have affected our society to what it is now. Just heard today how some part of Ireland dealt well with some crisis because of their pub culture which makes them actually talk with each other, like you lovely twatwaffles shoot ideas all over the place w twitter ;). I love the idea of a neighborhood candlelight vigil. We just need to keep it all about ALL people and living safely in community and not let it get coopted into any nationalism or anything antagonistic toward a generalized enemy.
    Now knowing how all you whoors are super productive women, moms, and wives I know there is nothing you can't do!
    Now imagine Twitardia saving the world! Let's do it!

    As for what I did that day…
    Was getting ready to leave from work, from my upstairs apt in the Myg home, I think I met Mr. Myg for some words upon the news of the first plane, found out about second plane once I got to my first shoot at a hospital, and immediately thought of preparing for any localized attacks. My preparations? Get lots of batteries and film (yes, it was that film stuff then) to capture anything that may happen locally. My sister lived and worked in the city but I knew she was midtown and she was indeed okay, tho had to walk for many hours to get back home to Long Island City ( I think that's where she was).
    I think I dealt w it as I do most things in a kind of striding, practical, half denying momentum and now realize how much I miss the towers when i try to remember and imagine just how they looked. I can't believe I have difficulty retrieving vivid memories of being there because I was a 9, 10, 11, 13, 15 y.o. kid (we visited any time someone from Brasil came to the states) who waited in line in that lobby with impossibly tall ceilings, felt that elevator accelerate while watching the lights of every tenth floor light up, stood right up to those tall windows on the superduper top floors, looking down from that AMAZING height (i think it's trickling back… :), who went out on the roof and felt that wind, looked at the "toy" bridges, looked through the coin binoculars, in that 70's, 80's world. Dam. It's gone.

  28. I was at home, in South Africa, studying. I had just set myself up in front of the tv for a 'studying while watching CNN' session. Love studying to the news, don't ask. I didn't grasp what was happening at first, and then the second plane hit! I didn't study, or move from the tv for the rest of the day.

    Here in SA we have had enough of our own problems that sometimes it can feel like we're totally disconnected from the rest of the world. But that day, that week, that month, I didn't feel like a South African, I felt like a united member of the human race. Although the USA was the target, I don't think there were many countries that were not represented in the losses from 9-11. We were ALL American, British, German, African, Australian, Mexican, Chinese..... And we had all been attacked.

    And the stories of the individuals that started to come out later! The thought of those brave souls on United 93. I can't imagine living through something like that, and yet so many of you did.

    Regardless of politics, religion, race or creed, humanity was attacked that day. Goodness was attacked that day. And yet the attacks didn't break apart as they were meant to but instead built something stronger.

    I was lying in bed on Sunday night just thinking of those poor people on the planes that struck the towers and what they must have been feeling as they saw those structures getting ever closer. I just can't imagine. And to think, those suicide pilots thought they were doing something right, for the greater good, as their god would have wanted. Shame on them and shame for them. I hope in death they are faced with the absolute realisation of what they did....

    You guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  29. I was at home, watching the horror unfold with a 5 month old on my hip. My husband was on a flight to NY. I've never felt fear like I did that day. My husband eventually came home, but for so many others, their loved ones did not. We will always remember and grieve all the lives lost on 9/11.
    @STY Thinking of you.


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