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Some Memories Of September 11, 2001

I hesitated sharing this here, but, maybe someone else needs to remember too, or someone needs to know more about that day, and this may move them to learn. It is not just about the deaths that occurred with that event but also about the survival and hope of those that lived and suffered losses that cannot be measured. So many of us struggle with the same issues of survival, and loss, and hope for the future.

 

September 11, 2017

Some stories need to be told again and again, in spite of the emotional upheaval they cause in those telling the story. I want those who did not live through it to have some sense, some taste, some bodily inclination of what the experience feels like, some embodiment of the intensity of emotions that traumatic event triggered in so many lives on that day.

Always a solemn day...with many memories... I remember many details of that day in 2001 and some things are out of focus...

It was both surreal and alllllll tooooo real...Emilee and I were in Manhattan, about three miles from the Towers that morning...at West 19th St. and 7th Ave.

As Emilee stepped outside the building we were in for a continuing education class I had, which was in an old converted synagogue, she heard and saw the shadow of the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, pass overhead, unusually low and loud. Several minutes later, news of that plane's crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC), at 8:46, reached us.

For my own education and remembrance...the times:

8:46 American Airlines Flight 11 (92 on board) hits North Tower (Floor 93-99)

9:03 American Airlines Flight 175 (65 on board) hits South Tower(Floor 75-85)

9:37 Am Airlines Flight 77 (64 on board) hits west side of Pentagon

9:59 South Tower of WTC collapses

10:07 United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, PA killing all 40 passengers and crew

10:28 North Tower of WTC collapses

In an hour and forty two minutes, the WTC was no longer there, and thousands of people had lost their lives.

Approximate numbers...about 3000 initial deaths, divided as follows:

265 on the four planes

2,606 in the WTC

125 in the Pentagon

over 6000 wounded

These numbers include first responders that died that day.

This was mostly for my own reeducation, and stark, sober remembrance, which became even more concrete for me the day I visited the 9/11 memorial a couple of months ago and touched so many of the names inscribed there.

I will never forget the vision of the throngs of humanity in a wave washing up Manhattan from the south end heading north up the Avenues away from the destruction. Faces and clothed bodies covered with ash, a scene from an Ingmar Bergman film (someone whose films are somewhat difficult to understand, with much symbolism), a mass of post-apocalyptic zombies with blank, bewildered, lost vacant looks on their faces as if the word “shock” had been scrawled across their foreheads.

At about 6 PM the evening of the attack, from an apartment in the upper east side of Manhattan, Emilee, my brother, and I, watched for the first time that day, with our mouths agape, the news and pictures of the collapse, as it was played over and over again.

We then drove back to Long Island where we were living at the time. There was NO TRAFFIC. Talk about surreal...and as we drove away from Manhattan heading East, we saw, directly behind us, billowing, smoldering smoke drifting South, I believe (thankfully), from the South end of Manhattan.

Smoke, where, up until that morning, stood two massive, distinct, very visible dominant structures in the skyline. Smoke, and empty spots where the Towers were. Too surreal to fathom, too surreal to comprehend, too surreal to digest. In shock, as when suffering the very initial stage of a sudden death. Only multiplied several thousand times.

Some tragedies we try to forget. Others, like this one, as painful as it is, need to be remembered, and recounted to others, so that it is NEVER forgotten. We have to make it vivid, and visceral, and felt as deep as deep can be.

And we need to remember all the people who helped that day and in the days following, how all of humanity came together to help each other, how hope came out of tragedy. It is the hope and the working together that will save us from further destruction and save us from extinction. The respect and love for each other, that is the glue that will save the world. That is what we need to foster and remember and carry forward in this world. That is the environment that is conducive to healing and growing and finding solutions to this country’s and the world’s problems. 

 

 

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June 11 that year they put Timothy McVeigh from the Oklahoma city bombings down, Sept 11is my brothers birthday, this happened and I said I was sure glad there were no more birthdays on the eleventh of any month that year in the family. Thank You for the memory.
Thomas likes this comment
it is a tough date for a birthday....my stepdaughter's mother in law's birthday is today...so she has adopted the Neal and Emilee practice of celebrating allllllll month....this way her birthday is not such a solemn day and the rest of the month they just forget about it.... celebrate every day of the month.... your brother needs to make sure to do that also... tell him happy birthday month...send him some emails the rest of the month... you are welcome...
Thomas likes this comment
he has CP to max and probably don't even know it is his birthday.
awwww....some people with CP have very little cognitive impairment and others have a lot...I gather he has quite a bit...I am sorry to hear...who cares for him? I send him happy birthday wishes just the same...and today too...day 12 of his birthday month
he is in a group home with three others since mom got sick and ultimately passed and everyone else was so busy with their lives. He is a sweetheart and I want to go see him again. He is in Illinois, again.
so...what is that, about two hundred miles??? just looking on the map to see where Missouri is relation to Illinois...would you drive there? or that is too much for you to do comfortably? That is a long trip. Are You are not sleeping well? I see your post was at middle of night...
I sleep here and there. go to bed and sleep a couple hours and that way most of time. sometimes I take something.
It is about 400 miles to where he is. 230 miles to Doc at st. Louis one way.
It is about 400 miles to where he is. 230 miles to Doc at st. Louis one way.
It is about 400 miles to where he is. 230 miles to Doc at st. Louis one way.
It is about 400 miles to where he is. 230 miles to Doc at st. Louis one way.
then another couple hours there to him.
Wow... that's a big trip just to the doctor. I guess we have no choice we have to get you one of those jet backpacks then you can fly yourself there
did not put the part that June 11 was moms birthday(my sisters also, what a birthday present for my mom) when they put McVeigh down.
Not exactly the most desirable of birthday presents
Not exactly the most desirable of birthday presents
We were exiting the subway at Broadway and John Street - about two blocks away from the WTC - between the hitting of the North and South Towers. People were milling about, agape - and we didn't know what to do except continue on to our offices on John St. We were soon evacuated, and made our way through the thick dust cloud: inches of brownish gray dust on every surface. I'll never forget an abandoned luncheonette, it's door fully afar, a tray of doughnuts in the window covered by two inches of dust and debris, Surreal is the word alright. We walked home to midtown east, silent and numb. I'm still numb about it - and have huge gaps in my memory of the day.
Thomas likes this comment
Your words put me right back in the feelings of that day. Emilee and I sat I don't remember how long it was definitely couple of hours I think in a cafe because we couldn't go anywhere because couldn't really move my car until way later in the day and we sat there watching listening to the ambulances constantly going by one emergency vehicle after another after another. I think we were on 2nd Avenue and I think it was somewhere around 5 that week finally attempted to drive our car uptown. It was earlier when we had to get from 7th Avenue over to 1st Avenue and I think 30th when we saw all the people walking up the Avenues from downtown. It was a rough day for anybody but Emily had PTSD so it was particularly rough for her that day. Thank you for sharing some of your story. I always feel such a bond with other people when they talk about that day end I also feel that it links us together as part of a larger Humanity
Thomas likes this comment
*soft paw* Watching it on TV, words like "armageddon" flashed through Nan's mind. It still does when she sees pics of that awful day, where thick, thick ash covers a scene where just a few moments before humanity was going about it's daily life - just as you describe in the luncheonette. Shocking doesn't seem strong enough to describe it. Hugs to you Aunty :*)
Neal likes this comment
Nan & Pop had just returned home from a party (we dogs hadn't been born yet). Pop went straight to bed but Nan flicked the TV on in the lounge and saw images of what she thought was a movie (Towering Inferno or something). She muted the sound while she had a shower then settled on the sofa to apply moisturiser etc. It was while she was settling that she saw the ticker tape at the bottom of the TV screen and realised the programme was not a movie. So she unmuted the TV and watched agape. Yes, surreal, like a dream, this couldn't be happening. Was it a hoax? No, unfortunately it was very very real. It was like slow motion and a speeding bullet all rolled into one. She cried when she saw people waving from the towers, and when they jumped or fell. Cried when the towers collapsed. She cried a lot that night and the following days, and to this day she weeps when they replay scenes on TV. The shock of what happened, the terror, the desperation, the loss - it was palpable and still echoes around the world. Yes, it is something we must all remember and strive to never let happen again.
Neal likes this comment
Your words have so much more emotion in them then minded I think I was avoiding a lot of my emotions when I wrote that post but you are motions were so right on and so much what I was feeling that day and so much what I still feel when my thoughts go back to that day. I too cried a lot that day and have a difficult time watching any of the replays. Particularly hard seeing people jumping from the towers because there was no Escape with the floors burning underneath them the ones that were trapped above the burning floors it was no way out and so many jumped. Thank you for sharing your story
Thomas likes this comment
Well said, Thomas. Nan sounds like a very sweet and sensitive person. You are lucky to have her as your Mum. 🐶
Thomas, Neal like this comment
*soft paw* Neal, however hard it was to watch it from a distance on TV, Nan can only imagine how incredibly difficult and enormously emotional it must have been to be there on the spot and witness what you and Emilee saw. It is little wonder that you need to keep some of that emotion at bay, to feel it little by little, otherwise it could well be all-encompassing and just too much to handle. Hugs :*)
Neal likes this comment
Neal: Question, do you remember where you were when JFK got killed?
Thomas likes this comment
Exactly yes I do I believe I was in 2nd grade I also believe I was at and all County choir practice so I was pulled out of my regular elementary school to go to some different school which is a little bit of a distance away and I guess I got a ride there I don't know my mom had to pick me up there and when she picked me up and I got in the car she was listening to the news and that's when I first found out I guess I was 10 years old he was killed in 1963 if that is correct then I was 10 years old
Thomas likes this comment
Nan was only 1.5 years old when JFK was killed but she remembers exactly what she was doing when she heard Elvis Presley had died - she was 15 years old, it was the early afternoon and she was making scrambled eggs for her lunch. The news came over the radio .. her scrambled eggs burned a little while she listened to the broadcast.
Neal likes this comment
did not realize you were such a young one. I was in 2nd grade in music class and the janitor came in whispered something in the teachers ear and then left and the teacher walked over turned on the television and there it was.I was 8 years old. Did not even know what a president was or who, although I soon found out.
Thomas, Neal like this comment
sorry Thomas. Thought I was telling Neal I did not realize he was so young. LOL
Thomas likes this comment
guess we are about the same age then. I was also in 2nd grade and in music class.
Thomas likes this comment
interesting...we were both in second grade and both in a class having to do with music..... I was aware of the president...i remember liking him a lot... i think my dad did, so of course I did.... i used to impersonate him before he was shot.... i did it once in front of my class...
Thomas likes this comment
I was listening to the news when I found that out, I think, pretty sure.
Thomas likes this comment
My birthday is June 11th also. And I remember Timothy McVeigh getting lethal injection. Google Marcy Borders, The DUST LADY from 911. She died in 2015, 42 years old from stomach cancer. No doubt caused by that dust which was probably asbestos flakes.
Thomas likes this comment
I will look that up...thanks...
Thomas, Marcia like this comment
Thanks Aunty ... we hadn't heard Marcy's story so Nan googled it .. so sad *soft paw* :*)
Neal, Marcia like this comment
Yes, Thomas, isn't that sad. I specifically remember Marcy on TV because she was the first one we saw all covered in dust like that. And she was even striking in appearance when covered in dust. Poor lady.😥
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February 10, 2017

North Haven, CT, usa 06473

In Memory of a Loved One

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