Remembering September 11th and the importance of loved ones and endurance
The morning of September 11th, 2001, I was sitting in my office at a prior job, admiring the beautiful blue sky outside my window, when my phone rang.
“I can’t reach your brother anymore. His phone cut off. He was running and his phone just died,” my mother cried on the other end.
For a moment, I had no idea why she was upset or what she was talking about. But then another line rang and a friend’s voice, equally upset, screamed to me, “They’re flying planes into buildings where your brother is.”
I sat stunned for a minute, paralyzed with fear and dread. I opened my office door and there was an eerie feeling in the air. It was noisy, yet quiet and somber at the same time.
There was an entire staff of editors and researchers located in the area just outside my office door. Fax machines were making noise and phones were ringing. But people were walking around stone-faced and shocked. A co-worker was looking for a radio, so I called my sister and we put her on speakerphone so we could hear her television. In no time, the other side of the office started to congregate and joined the others around the same telephone, listening to reports of planes having struck the Twin Towers in NY (before news of DC and Pennsylvania came in).
My brother worked for a Wall Street brokerage firm at the time, just steps away from the World Trade Center. By now, my mom had explained to me that she’d been on the phone with him while he’d been running from his building. He’d called her, absolutely frantic, trying to tell her that planes had hit the Twin Towers and he was trying to escape the area. He was describing an absolutely horrific scene of destruction and death as my mom cried on the other end. And then the phone went dead.
As I looked around at all of my co-workers, all I could think about was how many families were having the same phone call that morning. Being in NJ, most of us had friends and family and business associates in NYC, some of them in those buildings. And for those who didn’t, they knew someone who did. We all shared some moments with one another, before leaving the office to try and find or just be with our loved ones.
I drove straight to my mother’s house, where the whole family gathered and waited to hear from my brother again, not knowing if he was safe. Every few minutes, the phone would ring and it would be a family member or friend, checking to see if he had made it out and home safely. My parents planned to try and drive into the city to see if they could find him, but quickly realized that there would be no entry into NYC with nearly everything blocked off. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that we’d finally heard back from him. He’d borrowed the phone of a stranger and was able to get the call through to let us know he’d made it across the Brooklyn Bridge by foot and could hitch a ride to an exit on a nearby highway, where I had later picked him up myself. We all spent the night together at my parents’ house, thankful to know that my brother was safe, but heartbroken about what our country was enduring.
My mother still has that stranger’s phone number written down and saved on a piece of paper.
September 11th taught me the importance of family and loved ones in our lives, as well as the compassion of those we may not know, and that we can never, ever take life for granted. So many were not as lucky as my family on that day, and my thoughts will forever be with them.
This post is an introduction to my brother and my family’s experience on September 11th, 2001. I tell a more detailed story of the full day and the weeks that followed in this post that I wrote in 2010, and I encourage readers to go and read the full story. In that post, I also detailed the difficulties that my brother and many other workers from around the Ground Zero area in NYC experienced in returning to work after the 2001 terrorist attacks. So many of them were workers in the financial district – just everyday workers who showed up to their jobs on September 11th, never expecting that they might not return home again. A good many of them returned to work in NY, overlooking Ground Zero, after the attacks, despite their fears and the constant reminders of what had happened there. We may have had our troubles on Wall Street since, but so many of those everyday workers came together to keep the markets going as a symbol to the terrorists that America would not be taken down so easily.
To all those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001 in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania, and to those who have perished in protecting our country, we will never forget.
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I was actually on a morning Continental flight on 9/11/01; it was approaching 10 a.m. and we were preparing to land in Harrisburg, PA. Just before landing, the pilot announced ‘I hope none of you have any more flights today, because all flights are cancelled’. That’s all he said.
Wow. Tears are running down my face as I type this. Your story brought those feelings of 9-11 back again, even though I was lucky enough not to lose anybody. (My brother in law was supposed to be at work at the AON company. His pregnant supervisor was killed, as he would have been, if they hadn’t sent him to work in DC that week. He didn’t tell us he was in DC, so we were going crazy with worry, until my husband called his old office in DC, and he answered. He had no idea what had happened.)
I suppose I will always feel this way on this day. It was a day that brought everyone together, and it is so sad that we have been ripped so far apart.
God Bless all of those who lost their lives, and God Bless America.
I was at the gym when I got word that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I’m not sure about the first tower, but I know I saw the second tower collapse in real time. I figured that, with two planes, it had to be an attack. I heard a little voice in my head say “They cannot win this.”
Alan Jackson performed this song shortly thereafter.
The song raised the question of what we were going to do about it. My mother decided that she would keep an eye on FEMA, because she knew that there would be floods and fires after this, and the victims of those events should not be ignored because of this attack. I lived near Washington, D.C. at the time, so I decided to monitor Congress.
I am here at this site, today, because of the commitment I made after 9/11.
Today’s 9/11 has me angrier than what I felt back in 9/11. When Bush and the Saud’s used the occasion to destroy our democracy, by making our Constitution MEANINGLESS.
Plus, having wars that cost us lives and treasure that we didn’t win.
I think in time lots of Americans will figure this out. Heartbreaking. Taken to the cleaners by frauds. Saud’s are frauds. And, they owned the House of Bush.
Hopefully, we will all soon be talking the truth to each other. We won’t let whistle blowers rot in jail. And, we won’t elevate talking heads to the heights once owned by Edward R. Murrow. And, Walter Cronkite.
New heroes? They’ll be born on the Internet. What if the government cuts us off? They can’t replace it with propaganda!
And, the government didn’t really invent this thing, either. It came out of engineering. Gifted youngsters who played with their computers. And, every year the knowledge leaps forward.
N.S.A? We are now informed.
How long does it take to wake everyone?
Not everyone needs to be awake.
I live in Greenwich village. That day I was abed on phone with my BFF.hubby was in Europe..My friend said , “the WTC has been hit,” I jumped up put on old clothes.. Ran downtown. My grand kids 3 &5th grade downtown. Right there. Going against the people streaming out I pushed , stumbled and ran. It was the bluest sky ever.. I ran along the river to the school . The kids were huddled in the corner..a teacher pulled the shade. People were already jumping. The teachers were crying and huddling in a corner.by themselves… Bs . Kids lost. I grabbed one kid”a teacher said , “look at me . Tell their parents I have them with me.. If they come here..” I grabbed both kids. We stopped at chambers st . 3rd grade girl said, “what’s that falling?” i said.. Debris , parts of the bldg..she said, “no g’dmon, I see legs”? Trying to figure where the parents were in the mass of people.. No parents.. The first bldg fell , we said the Lord’s Prayer ..dust came. We grabbed hands. Ran , ran..ran up to TriBeCa then walked. Up. To our place a mile away. Second bldg fell .. No parents( they are tall and easy to see.. I am thinking they are gone.. ) said The Prayer aloud again . Turned around. The Mom was there! Kids were shuttled around school to school . All they wanted to do was study.. School . But the kumbaya folks with best feelings.. Sent teddy bears, origami birds, poets.. All kidswanted was normalcy.. Never forget/forgive, on 9/12 the first signs were out ” no war for oil ” . I quit episcopal church when that Sunday the priest before service, said.. Let’s pray for our mooooslim brothers. It was as if I was punched. Sometimes I still feel like this . Sorry for venting . I needed this
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