Commemorating 9/11

By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
September 11, 2021

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54 Comments
  • Thank you for sharing and caring!
    God Bless America

  • Most definately a different world.
    Since that day, we’ve turned our anger inwards and hate eachother now. If 9/11 had happened today, things would look different.
    Back then, we loved eachother. We clung to eachother. We needed the silent affection and compassion of every stranger we passed on the street.
    If it happened today, we’d argue the same day. Point fingers at the “other” side the very same day. It’s your fault this happened. Not some bloodthirsty animals on the other side of the world, yours hers his. Not mine.
    We’re an ugly hateful people, now. This is the legacy we gave our kids. They deserved so much better than we’ve all given them. Look at us now. Might be different if we all turned our TVs and radios and computers off for 30 days. Hatred is a profitable commodity.

    • Maybe that’s the world YOU live in, Christie, but that’s not my reality. Maybe I’m just blessed, but people were people before 9/11 — ugly beautiful, mean, kind, selfish, caring. After 9/11 people were still each of these types, but leaning more toward the better qualities. I find that most folks react to how I treat them.

      I had a rich, full life in Minnesota for 30 years after serving in the US Navy and traveling the world. Six months ago my family and i moved to Florida. We have begun yet another new life, and i am watching the same patterns unfold. People have been welcoming, helpful, patient and even kind to us, although we are newcomers. (Acquaintances waiting to become friends)

      If you follow the media, politics, Hollywood, etc, you very well may think this country is “systemically” this or that; doom and gloom may haunt you.

      Things weren’t all sweetness and light before 9/11, and they aren’t all dark and dismal now. People are people. It is how we treat each social interaction that matters most. This isn’t meant to be a putdown or a lecture; it is meant to be encouraging. Take heart.

    • Crisitie, I am sorry for your world and life view. This is not my experience. As Kip wrote, people are people. You find what you look for and the media has become an expert in showing only hate and divide. If you look for love and beauty and kindness it is everywhere. If our media showed the better side of humanity, then perhaps people would more likely to be better in their actions. We should look for the good and not only the bad in the world. You can only see where the light is shining. Of course, we must look for the bad and help to remove it but only seeing the evil in the world can lead to despair. I hope you find love and hope in the people around you.

    • Brutal, but true and well said.

    • I understand this feeling from the inside. This blog post from Seth Godin came to my inbox today right before the MDK post on which we’re commenting. It spoke to this feeling for me. I hope it will do so for you. Hang in there.

      *****
      Seth Godin:
      “We are not astronomers.

      Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them.

      Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control.

      But the world is never out of our influence.

      Remembrance, connection, possibility, invention, empathy, insight, correction, care and justice are all up to us.

      We not only observe, but we make changes happen. Our participation (or apathy) leads to a different future.

      The ocean is made of drops. And the drops are up to us. Who else is going to care enough to make an impact?”

  • Thank you for sharing

  • A very hard day. My dog, Suli-a blue Merled Australian Shepherd- and I were 2nd Responders in Northern Virginia. Published in the Poetry Society of Virginia’s Anthology, I wrote poem I’d like to share with you.

    “Green Meadow Farm”

    A mere eleven days since my Pearl Harbor.
    I measure time by then, and now.
    Tentatively I bask in the beauty, wild
    cold water gurgling over hot feet,
    sunk in a silken bit
    of the river Shenandoah.

    Feeling safe feels risky.
    My axis has tilted, irrevocably
    tipped by towers
    turned to powder.

    The body of the river is mine,
    its banks my boundaries,
    its changing depths…mine.
    Whatever catastrophe or terror,
    I must look it in the eye and
    float by whole
    and unpierced…
    wet with wonder despite
    blades of fear.

    I turn to the wild,
    blue-merled dog in tow,
    whose glowing delight tamps down
    the memory of flaming badges
    of money and might.

    Not knowing the costs of freedom’s future,
    I sink in the silt of the moment,
    in tandem with a Shepherd
    who will steadily lead me home.

    © Kathleen E. Allan

    • Beautiful

    • Thank you for sharing. Very profound.

    • Lovely. Thank you.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful article. We drove into DC last evening to view the Tower of Light 9/11 tribute at the Pentagon. There is a great view from the Tidal Basin. It reminded me of how united we were as a nation twenty years ago. Why must we be so divided now?

    • So perfectly said. I, too, turned to my wonderful Rhodesian Ridgeback and to nature.

    • Beautiful poem. I especially identify with the line “feeling safe feels risky”.

    • Thank you

    • Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. It gives me solace on this sad anniversary.

    • Thank you for you kind words. They help a lot this day.

    • Thank you Kathleen.

  • Thank you. The day that blew the heart of America wide open.

  • I lived in Northern NJ then. Today I live in New Hampshire, but this morning the sky is that same beautiful blue as it was 20 years ago. I remember walking in to work and thinking what a glorious day it was.

    Today the sky looks the same here, and instead of enjoying it I feel sick to my stomach. It happens every year on that first sky blue beautiful fall morning. My memory is so visceral…..it is not in my brain, it is in my gut.

    My husband and my oldest son both worked at the Trade Center, and both came home that day. I was so lucky, but still I retch on that first beautiful morning of fall.

    Barbara M. In NH

    • As a fellow New Englander, I agree wholeheartedly. Sunny blue September skies always remind me of that awful day. It’s actually a relief when September 11 is a rainy day.

      I can’t imagine your terror that day. I’m glad your family made it home. <3

    • My son came home that day too, thanks to a box of donuts.

  • Thank you for sharing, God bless you all!

  • December 7, 1941
    November 22, 1963
    September 11, 2001
    Dates seared into memories of different generations that define us.
    One my parent’s generation, one mine, one my children’s.
    For many of us, less than 6 degrees of separation.

  • it’s the first one I watched. Maybe that’s why it was so shocking. Incredible footage. Then watched the one of how Canadian air traffic controllers redirected 240 heavy aircraft to 7 small airports in Canada in 4 hours when US airspace closed

  • I’m reading this in the kitchen as my husband has the TV on in the other room. The names are being read for the 20th time. And for the 20th time, I’m in the city all the time.

    I’m a Long Islander, then and now. A short commute would bring me to “the spot.” I cannot even bear to look at the Freedom Tower. I’ve never been to the museum. I’m curious, but can’t bring myself to go. I pray for peace — for those who died that day, for their families, for my city, for my country and for our world.

  • Someone asked me that day if I knew anyone in the towers. I replied that I knew every single one of them. I will watch the film. But later. Today the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the almost fall Vermont smells are all around me. I will spend the day in gratitude for my life

  • I’m in the North East of England. I remember exactly where I was on 11th September. I was in a big shopping centre, the MetroCentre, in the days when shops had big televisions in the windows, and I watched the events unfolding in horror.
    Today, I’m praying that the Prince of Peace would find His way into the hearts of those who peddle hatred in all its forms, and for all those still affected by that day, 20 years on.
    God bless you all.

    • Beautiful, Corinne. Thank you.

      • thank you Kay…. it’s a hard weekend

  • A very dear friend of mine worked on that documentary along with the update in 2011. I have watched it once and I am glad that I did but, although I own a copy, I have never been able to watch it again. I live in Yonkers which shares the northern border of New York City. Yonkers is a city of hills and my office had a spectacular view of Manhattan. My co-workers gathered in my office with the radio on, holding hands, and crying as we watched the morning unfold. Those of us who arrived at the office early were confused about why it felt like it was sleeting when we arriving. It was such a beautiful day. We later found out that it was glass in the air.

    When my friend (she’s a very private person) was working on the 2011 update, I told her about my friend Jef. A longtime Yonkers fireman and a leader among his colleagues, Jef was the go-to guy when you needed some help. He was also a talented artist who painted murals in children’s wards in hospitals and at the Ronald McDonald House, where he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their services. Jef was one of the first people working on the pile and he stayed until they made him go home.

    Jef was so full of rage to the point that he we was actually scary. But a year or so later, on a sunny summer day, I got a call from Jef asking if he could meet up with me and some other fire fighters for a drink down at the river. They were buying so of course I said yes. They’re a fun crowd. When I got there, they were pretty serious. I had been working with some anti-war groups and, as their totally understandable rage had run its course, they wanted to know how they could work for more peace while still supporting our soldiers. I told them to go inside themselves and use what that already had. That peace was within them and that they could free their own peace and their talents and share it with others.

    Jef used his art. He became a globally recognized artist for his pro-peace, anti-war street art. All of his materials were eco-safe so the art work was never permanent or harmful to property or the environment. He was known as Army of One and his tag was a handprint in red paint.

    In 2011 when my friend was working on the update I told her about Jef. She asked me if he was sick yet and when I said no, her response was “he will be.” Shortly thereafter Jef received his first diagnosis. On January 17, 2014, Jef took his own life. He condition was terminal and he chose to leave the world on his own terms. In this case, I understood and respected his decision – I trusted him with my life so had to trust him with my own.

    I carry the card from his wake in my wallet and I make sure to share his story every year. There are so many stories like this and I have so many stories of that time but this is the one that has become like an extra chamber in heart. It is with me always.

    • What a moving story about a wonderful person. I believe your friendship and influence gave Jef peace and purpose for the rest of his shortened life. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    • ❤❤

    • Thank you for sharing your story and Jef’s.

  • Thank you so much for this. I was looking for this video on the internet this am and could not find the actual film. In the summer of 2001, We had just flown half way around the world to bring our new son home from Vietnam to a place we thought he would be forever safe and secure. We celebrated his 2nd birthday three days before 9/11 and sent him to daycare for his second day away from us in three months of our becoming a family. The morning unfolded with such horror as I watched the Pentagon on fire from a window at my job. I could not reach my husband who ended up picking up our son. I could not get home for hours and hours due to chaos in DC. This documentary reminds us of the ordinary day that began with cloudless blue skies and carefree normality and ended with such fear for the future. But seeing this documentary shows such beauty of the people who helped and never stopped helping. Thank you for sharing this. I look forward to reading your posts every single day.

  • Thank you Kay.

  • Thank you for this post and thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences. We were living in Northern New Jersey at the time and as the news and then the days unfolded, working on a craft project for a group I volunteered with helped me deal with the enormity of the tragedy. Those of us who did not lose friends or loved ones that day felt that it was important to show love and support for those who did, even if we didn’t know them. Because you never know what someone is going through, there was a general warmth and kindness everywhere you went in the weeks and months that followed…people were more generous, patient, and friendly at stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices, and even in traffic. That spirit of kindness is what I will always remember.

  • Incredible film, thanks for sharing it!

  • Thank you for this post, for the stories is the comments, for the poetry… for the community here of hope and healing. I sit here in a hair salon with tears filling my eyes. We had just moved across county to the greater DC area and of all days to not have TV, this was it, as the cable was not yet turned on. “Old-fashioned” radio was how my mom and I learn about the events (she was visiting from the Midwest helping us move in). Husband witnessed the smoke and fire at the Pentagon from his office building… I can remember just wanting him to be home with us, to witness the news and unfolding events together. By not having TV that day I believe we were spared the horror in a little way. Please be kind to one another and spread compassion and peace.

  • I learned to knit when I was in the 3rd grade in the late 1960s. I was taught by a wonderful woman who was born in Norway. My knitting life malingered in my 20s and 30s. I was 41 when 9/11 occurred and I started 3 projects in the week after the attacks.
    I have been thinking a lot this week about the fact that a source of so much joy in my life was reignited by so much sadness.
    Thank you knitters and sharers.

  • I worked in the financial district at the time and was on the subway to work when the first tower fell. We all felt a jolt but had no idea what was happening, until we emerged into chaos at Bowling Green. I will never forget the walk home through the falling debris and seeing military jets zooming overhead.

    • And now I work across the street from the Freedom Tower…. Watched it being built. I have never visited the museum, but the fountain-pool memorials are very moving.

  • Another great documentary is “Boat Lift” narrated by Tom Hanks. It’s the story of private boaters stepping up to evacuate people from Manhattan on 9/11. It is what I love about studying history: the stories of regular people doing extraordinary things.

  • If you have not seen it I highly recommend Come from Away. It is a musical based on the 38 planes that were diverted to Gander New Foundland on 9.11 with 7800 people aboard. Very moving and ultimately very joyful.

    • Also read The Day the World Came to Town. It is the story from which Come From Away was adapted.

  • Thank you for sharing this, Kay.

  • On 911 I had just sat down at the kitchen table, turned on Jane Pauley who was exclaiming what a beautiful day it was with a gorgeous blue sky when the program was interrupted by a special bulletin. A few minutes later I received a call from a friend who told me her husband was on the top floor of the World Trade Center. After making sure she had someone with her, I contacted several people from church and we began a chain of calls for prayers. It was a very long phone call filled day with no good news and until this day no news of her husband’s remains. The concern and kindness of good people helped all of us endure and forge ahead in a world turned upside down.

  • Thanks, Kay. Very moving film. I vividly remember the long walk home that day after seeing the towers on fire, and our small group stopping at your apartment to find out what had happened and watch the news coverage.

  • It is unbelievable that 20 years have passed since that day. I lived in a suburb close to Manhattan, so I have heard so many personal stories of fear. There is one story that has a happy ending. A nurse who was taking care of my mother had a niece who worked at the WTC. She had been frustrated that morning because she locked her keys in her car, so was going to be late for work. It turned out that mistake probably saved her. I wish everyone could have been saved.

  • I have to agree with Christie. Perhaps this comes from living in our nation’s Capitol but I have found the actions since Charlottesville horrifying and too common. The insurrection on 1/6 saddened me at least as much as 9/11 and probably more. Those were Americans tearing down the US flag to put up a Trump flag. They were Americans smearing feces on the walls of Congressional offices. Americans beating police, carrying guns into sacred halls strutting down the halls of the Capitol with Confederate flags. All done by American terrorists, not foreign adversaries I do not understand how anyone can say things are not worse today.

  • Thank you as I had two traumatic experiences 20 years ago one on September 5, and then six days later 9/11 changed life forever for everyone. For reasons unknown I cried for hours until I could make sense of my sudden recognition 20 years after these two devastating experiences. I could finally grieve the loss of my life as it had been on that horrible day and my personal day on the fifth day of that year. Time passes slowly when grieving and twenty years is nothing but a hallmark of our ability to continue.

  • I live in Somerset County, PA, the final resting place of those on Flight 93. That day is always in our thoughts here.

  • My husband saw the second plane hit, when he got home after being stripped and sprayed down he came to our front door in shock, dazed and tears. It was an awful day and months that followed