Home » Random Acts of Thinking » Remembrances


There has been so much on the TV this week about the events of 9/11. It’s gotten me thinking quite a bit about that day; about the days following.

There aren’t man days I could go into detail about if you asked me, “where were you…?”. My wedding, some Christmases and birthdays, a few key events, but that day will never go away in my memories.

I was still asleep, being the nightbird that I am. I got a call from a friend in Idaho telling me to turn on the TV FAST. My husband was still sleeping, he was working second shift at the time. I turned it on just after the first plane hit the tower. We watched in horror as the second plane came in and saw it hit the second tower. We sat there, speechless as the realization that this was not an accident hit home. Even the news had no idea until plane two came along. The shock and disbelief in the voices, the tears rolling down hardened news broadcasters faces, all made it that much worse. We’re used to the news being a calm voice on the ground for the most part; a voice unshakeable and stoic in the face of crisis.

I remember just holding onto my husband as if somehow he would be transported away from me, away from the safety of our little apartment. I didn’t want to let him go. The dog knew something terrible was going on and pushed into our arms and wouldn’t move an inch from us.

Then the news…the pentagon had been hit and there was a plane still missing somewhere in the skies above us. It could be anywhere. It must surely be heading for the white house! Or maybe a nuclear power plant! It felt as though we were being pummeled repeatedly with each new bit of information.

And then the tower fell, OMG.. that bastion of power and strength; a high rise tower. Seemingly impossible that they stand at all, but always there, always a constant, and it crumpled like tissue paper being wadded up. The deafening popping sound as the girders gave way. It sounded like bubble wrap; a horrible bubble wrap.  Before we could catch our breaths, tower two came down. It was surely impossible! This all had to be a movie stunt, right? Orsen Wells revisited and updated, right?

Not being one who watches the news any more than I need to find out the weather, I sat riveted to the TV for days and days following. I could barely sleep because I kept waking up to see what had happened that I missed. There surely had to be some good news at some point.. someone found, a family reunited… something…

But there was precious little good news. They were clung to as if they were a lifesaver, saving you from the horror and consuming fear, loss and grief. To this day, I cannot hear the siren sounds of the rescue and firefighters alarms that they wear without feeling a residual grip of fear and a feeling of wanting to cover my ears with my hands and cry.

I remember crying… a lot…even though I didn’t know anyone there. I remember standing in a supermarket and watching people shop with tears on their faces. I remember the kindness and patience we all had for each other. Parking spaces, normally raced for, were given up with a sad smile and a wave. Couples held hands, watched their children with grateful, but saddened smiles as they ran around. The usual din of the markets, the malls, the stores, were quieted, almost hushed. It was as if by speaking too loud would be disrespectful to what was happening. An underlying current of fear that maybe “they” were coming here next.

And there was an air of restlessness…a “what can I do to help?” feeling. Eager to find some way to help, I remember packing things up to send in semi’s to ground zero. I remember the lists of items that were most needed. Food, water, paper goods, socks, underwear, toiletries, all for the responders.

In the 10 years since 9/11, I have never written about any of this. I jsut didn’t want to think of it except in anger; fury; revenge. Those emotions were easier to deal with. But reading someone else’s blog made me realize that I wanted to write these things down. I wanted to remember.

I can’t wait for my husband to come home so I can kiss him, hug him tightly and thank God that he is there…we are here…and pray for all who will never get to do those things again.


3 thoughts on “Remembrances

  1. It’s healthy and cathartic to share stories like this. I don’t know about you, but my anger was greater than my fear. I was angry at the insane cowards who did this. I was angry at my government for not stopping it before it happened. I was angry at myself because I felt so useless. As a nurse, surely there would be something I could do. It was difficult to just sit and watch.

    But most interesting is the fact that I watched the documentary about the 9-11 Commission Report last night. And I got angry all over again. Let’s hope we’ve learned our lesson. Let’s hope we can avert another tragedy.

    Thank you for sharing. Patsye

    • I was angry as well, although, to my shame, it was sometimes not quite so well placed. I remember after seeing the movie Pearl Harbor for the first time in the theaters being angry as well as shocked by the images which cut no corners and spared nothing to the viewer. I recall walking outside and seeing an asian couple and wanting to scream at their faces for what happened…for what “they” did. It passed obviously, but it was not a moment I was proud of. My anger was not at my government, unless you count wanting them to get planes up right this minute and blow that pissant little country to smithereens, (again not a feeling I am particularly proud of), and anger with the entire culture/religion.

      I suppose there are still some of those feelings, and yet if I am totally honest, were the Crusades any different? If you read the history books from school it all sounds so noble, but if you read the real reasons behind it, it was really not very different at all. How would I feel if I was personally blamed for that when I had nothing to do with it? When I don’t even agree with it, but only because I wear the tag of Christian? How much more scared were those of Islam who had nothing to do with any of this, who did not agree with what a radical arm of their religion and did not ascribe to this sort of action in their beliefs? Would we do what we did to asians after Pearl Harbor? Would we wholesale deport them? I shamefully admit during those days that I wanted to do just that. I’m not proud of it. And yet….

      I suppose I didn’t have the courage to look as deeply into the anger aspect.
      Thanks for reading it and your words of encouragement. It wasn’t easy.

      • Your reply reminded me how valuable WordPress is to us normal folks who want to talk about things, but also know that the TV really isn’t listening. I can not agree with you more. We’ve taken religion and blamed it for just about everything. It is, I am embarrassed to say, the reason I am not religious. Yet I had someone say to me once that I was as Christian as anyone they’d ever met.

        I think it is because I refuse to hold people accountable for what their government does. What started this was our involvement with Osama Bin Laden – we were backing him against the Russians. He was on our side. Then we left them for dead, undefended, and Afghanistan and Bin Laden have been after us ever since. I don’t think it’s just the religion. I think smart people know that spiritual people, truly spiritual people, don’t want to kill anyone. But the way this has snowballed, and the “terrorism” that has permeated everything now, seems so unsolvable to me. I don’t have answers. And I don’t know where to get them except to read, and read, and read. History almost always repeats itself, and today I finished (and minutes ago returned to the library) In the Garden of Beasts, about Ambassador Dodd in Berlin, Germany, just before the war. It’s an astonishing piece of non-fiction, and actually negates my contention that a society should not be held accountable for what their government does. After reading this, I’m wondering what the heck the Germans were thinking when they let Hitler get away with killing his generals and all those others to take over Germany once Hindenburg died. What would I have done? Probably left the country no matter what religion I was.

        And Japan? Yes, it was shameful what we (meaning our government) did to the Japanese in this country, taking their property, putting them in internment camps – not to mention the bomb(s). At least we didn’t euthanize them beyond the bombs – I learned a lot about Japanese camps by reading “Unbroken,” also non-fiction, which in large part was about a soldier’s time spent as a prisoner of war. It was a horrifying account of just how much one person can affect the course of so many lives, but then how this man survived and lived to tell the tale.

        OK. I actually just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful response. It’s a bit unusual to find such honesty among strangers, even in the world of WordPress, though I don’t think of you as a stranger now that we’ve had this conversation.

        If you’re interested in my booklist, (well, I don’t really have an actual list) I love recommending good books to people. History is my favorite subject beyond crafting. And wouldn’t you know I slept through probably every history class I ever took in high school and only realized my fascination with it when I went to college. Now I’m a reader obsessed with it. Patsye

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