My Visit to the 9/11 Memorial

As you know, the Hubs and I went to New York City in August.  The main goal of our trip was for me to attend BlogHer '12, but since we have friends and family there, we decided to go a few days early and see them.

The Hubs was raised in NYC and I lived there for several years.  We moved away in October 2002 and I had not been back since October 2007.

A lot has changed in the city since then.  One of the biggest changes is the 9/11 Memorial.


I really wanted to see the Memorial.  The Memorial is free, but you must reserve passes in advance so that they can control the crowd of people.  I am a terrible planner and I was afraid that if I left it to the last minute I wouldn't be able to get tickets.


Through the magic of Facebook I had discovered that my childhood classmate is now the CEO of the Memorial and a former boss is on the Board of Directors.  I started with Facebook to see what I could find out about getting tickets.  I reached out to Joe Daniels and reminded him that I was a girl he knew back in the 80s and I'd love some inside info on how to get tickets to the Memorial.  He was so helpful and gracious.  I thought he would tell me where to go to reserve tickets and be done with me.  Instead, he offered the Hubs and I a private tour of the Memorial.  This was far more than I expected or hoped for.

We were given a date and time to arrive for our tour.  A couple hours before our tour we were told that Joe had been called to an important meeting and couldn't attend our tour, but his colleague would be happy to show us around and answer our questions.

A reflecting pool with some of the names visible.
It was a somber and rainy day as we made our way around the plaza with our guide - so different from the beautiful weather we had on September 11, 2001.  The reflecting pools are enormous since they are where the north and south tower stood.  Even with the constant waterfalls, they are a quiet and peaceful place to reflect on the lives lost.  The design title "Reflecting Absence" is exactly how it feels.  Around the pools are bronze plates where the names of the fallen are inscribed.  I found this part to be the most moving.  To see the names of so many people and to know they were someone's mother, father, husband, sister, cousin, uncle, neighbor, friend was really powerful.  I also thought it was amazing how they arranged the names.  They're not alphabetical.  They're arranged by "meaningful adjacency."  This means the Memorial planners asked the families who their loved one was close to.  If two people were good friends or relatives or worked in close proximity, their families could ask for them to be placed next to one another on the Memorial.  We were told that they were able to meet just about every single request.

Another special part of the Memorial was seeing the "Survivor Tree."  This is a pear tree that was discovered under the rubble.  It was sent to a Bronx nursery where it wasn't expected to survive.  They nursed it back to health and then transferred it to the Memorial's plaza.  It has grown to over 30 feet tall and it is a symbol of hope and rebirth.

"The Survivor Tree"
I thought the Memorial was a really beautiful tribute and I'm very excited about the work that's being done to finish the Museum.  Even though 9/11 happened in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania that day, the entire country felt like they were there.  I know this because today I'm seeing so many updates on Facebook and Twitter asking "Where were you?"  Everyone knows exactly where they were that day when they heard the news.  The whole country was affected.

I know the Museum has thousands of artifacts and they plan to have a permanent collection, but I hope that in the future, they choose to take some of their extra artifacts on the road to other cities.  Not everyone can get to Manhattan, but we all feel connected to the World Trade Center and to that day.  I know that many people (especially school children) would benefit greatly from a traveling exhibit.

So now I'll ask you:  Where were you?  (Here's where I was.)  


57 comments:

suebee0619 said...

I lived in Jersey City and was about to take the PATH train into the WTC which I did every morning. And then, being the dumbass that I am (this is when they were still saying Cessna) decided to try to drive in to work. My mom convinced me that my office would probably understand if I didn't come in given how upset I was after seeing the fire pouring out of the building. The eeriest thing I've ever seen was just one tower standing in the skyline.

Samantha said...

They actually do have a traveling collection. It was here in Mobile, Al about a year ago. It was insane seeing pieces of debris, a motorcycle driven by one of the men who was killed that was found under the rubble, and countless personal effects that were recovered. It was very moving just seeing those small items. I couldn't imagine actually being there.

Queen Such n Such said...

I lived just outside of DC and my hubs worked in the mayor's office which is right between the White House and the Capitol. It took him 8 hours to get out of the city and with him he brought two co-workers and had found a 5 Star General who needed a ride home. The 5 star General had lost his entire retinue in the Pentagon and to see such a powerful man so shell-shocked and unable to process his surroundings was terrifying. I had to ask him 5 times if his wife knew he was safe. Dropping him off in front of his home and watching him slowly walk to the front door knowing he would never be the same haunts me. I have so many more details of that day I could share but that General is my symbol from that day.

Sue said...

I was in my office w/ no TV or radio access, but my sister was home and watching. I got all the updates through IM from her. I'd moved away from Tarrytown, NY two years earlier and she had worked in the city a few years prior to that. We were both so worried about friends we knew that were still in that area and were so thankful to find out that no one we knew personally had been harmed. But of course, no one would be the same.

Shelley in So. IL said...

I was teaching in Normal, IL. It was a gorgeous fall day in Illinois too. I was scheduled to have the day off for a doctor's appointment as we were dealing with infertility at the time.

I checked my e-mail and saw the news on the internet for the first time. I couldn't believe it. So I checked my school account and when one teacher sent out updates about the WTC I knew that the news I had seen online was no joke.

I remember looking at the sky on the way to my appointment and marveling at the beauty while such a huge tragedy was happening in NYC. I remember seeing all the other cars on the road and wondering what we were all doing. Didn't we know that the towers had fallen? How could we go out and run errands or go to work?

Later that week I looked up in the sky again because there was an unusual sound. We lived under a flight pattern for the local airport across town. All the planes were grounded so why was there a large jet flying over? I decided it must be Air Force 1. No other planes were in the air and wouldn't be for many more days.

We have moved homes 2 times since then. I have had 4 children. I will never look at a blue autumn sky and not think of September 11, 2001.

Anonymous said...

I was a Junior in HS, going to a Vocational School near Dayton, OH. We were having a Business Professionals of America meeting and no one knew anything til a teacher from another class room came in and told our class we needed to go back to the "lab" and check out CNN.com, that something big was happening. Our class filed out quickly, followed by the others. CNN.com was down due to the shear amount of people rushing to see what was happening, and we had no TV. We heard a scream from across the hall and about the same time someone got CNN.com to work. We were all just frozen in fear. No one understood what was happening, we were a bunch of 16-17 year old kids watching something no adult was explaining to us as everyone just stood in horror as the second plane crashed. Our principal came around and said that there were speculations that Wright Patterson Airforce Base was going to be targeted and that the school was on lock down til further notice. We were all told to go to the "lab" and get under our desks (What would that do I still wonder) we didn't listen and we all stayed watching CNN.com's updates, til the next class where there was a TV. I remember my math teacher telling us it was "No big deal" and that she was going to turn off the coverage if we didn't focus on our work. There were graphic pictures of people jumping from the building being played and I remember just sitting there crying. They ended up dismissing us early and sending us home with no one really knowing if life would ever be the same. My parents were gone that weekend and I was staying with a friend...it was the most isolating feeling I had to come home and know I wouldn't have my parents to explain or console me as the roads had been shut down and they were stuck. We had a big tree in our front yard and I remember sitting outside just looking up at the sky when suddenly a sonic boom went off (we learned later it was due to clearing airspace for Air Force One) and I thought that it was another attack. I sat and clung crying to that tree for a few hours. I may not have lost someone directly, but that doesn't mean it didn't effect me...Now I look at my children and I can't believe they'll be asking me "Where were you?" for history projects... 11 years and it still hurts.

Kim at Let Me Start By Saying said...

I'm getting a bit overwhelmed with all the talk today, and it's still emotional, but I had to come read this.

I still haven't been to the memorial. That spot it still tough for me to be near. I'm glad I get to see it through your eyes. That pear tree...I just don't even know what to say.

As you now know, I was supposed to be in the WTC, but wasn't. Short version: it was so beautiful out, HUsband suggested I delay my meeting & ride with him atop the NY Waterways ferry into Midtown. This headed me towards my office (and his) instead of my clients' offices. That decision changed everything.

Thanks for getting people talking today. It helps.

Anonymous said...

I was at work in Atlanta. I will never forget being on the phone with coworkers in Jersey City who watched the 2nd plane hit and screamed as realization hit that this was no accident. Everything changed in that moment. I remember watching both towers fall on TV in our breakroom and a large motorcycle-type coworker yelling in shock "where did they go???" I remember fearing for family that worked in NYC, as well as family living in Houston and Los Angeles, not knowing if there were other targets. I remember only wanting to hold my 6 month old child in my arms to be sure she was safe. I remember sleeping with the TV new channels on for days and waking up during the night expecting to hear about the next attack.
I really will never forget.

Jennifer said...

I was only a junior in high school, in my chemistry class, in the process of doing an experiment with a penny. Teachers started coming down the hall shortly after the first plane hit the tower and told us to turn on the tv's we had in our classrooms. I'll never forget watching the 2nd plane, as it happened, hit the other tower!! Classes pretty much ended right then. We did hang around and just watch what was unfolding on tv and listening to the teachers try to explain what was happening. I think my generation grew up right then, in that moment, knowing the world won't be the same. The next day, the whole school met in the gym and the teachers spoke to us and we all sang that song "proud to be an american" at the end of it. It was one of the proudest moments of being an American ever!

It's weird to think I lived through that day and now my girls will only know about it through what they are taught at school and what I tell them once they are old enough to understand what happened that day.

I am a military spouse and everyday I have a constant reminder of what being a proud american is!! I'm so thankful for all of those that defend our country and for all of the heroes from that fateful day!!

Penelope Lolohea said...

I was in my 7th grade sewing class, in junior high.

I walked into that class, and all I saw was a building on fire (the second plane hadn't hit yet). I had no idea what the WTC was, or what it meant to our country...yet. It was on TV in every class I went to that day, and many of our teachers talked to us about what was happening--some introducing fear, and some replacing it with hope. There was never such a quiet day at school, as that day.

Jimjams said...

Thanks for sharing your tour today Jen - the Survivor Tree is indeed a symbol of hope.
It wasn't just the whole country (i.e. the USA) that was affected, it was the whole world. I'm a Brit in the UK and was at home with my children when I heard the radio news and then watched in horror as events unfolded on the TV. I had no friends, family or colleagues involved but my heart still goes out to all the citizens of the world who were affected by the events of September 11th.

JenKap said...

This brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing this!

JenKap said...

I was at work, working for a small investment firm at the time. We all gathered in the meeting room and discussed the news, cried, worried. Two years later my daughter was born on 9/11. She turned 9 years old today. While we celebrate her life today, there is always a cloud of sadness among everyone. She asks why the date of her birthday is such a big deal, why is 9/11 so sad? Its so hard to put into words for a child the impact that these events have had on this nation.

Angela Shelton said...

I was in my home in Los Feliz, CA at the time on the phone with Jamie Kennedy - both of us in shock as we watched it on TV together.

Queen Such N Such said...

I still haven't been able to fully explain 9/11 to my 9 yo daughter. The small town we lived in last year in IL had a commemoration for 9/11 and told the kids what their version was. I had never talked about it to my daughter before then. Not because its not important but because up until that day last year, she had no idea she lived in a world where people committed such atrocities and never really felt scared before. I still cannot talk to her about it without crying which is upsetting for all of us. Flying with her last week was trying since she kept asking why we had to take our shoes off, what they were looking into people's bags for, why couldnt we being our toiletries etc on the plane. Why, indeed.

Happy Birthday to you daughter JenKap!

melissa said...

It was glorious fall morning here in New Orleans, just beautiful not a cloud in the sky and cool. We don't have that many days like that here, especially in September. I was on the highway just exiting to get to work downtown. I had on the news listening for traffic and never changed the channel. It was ordinary talk radio when a woman called in and out of the blue said to the host, can you verify these reports I here about a plane hitting the WTC in NY? He said they tout is was a small plane and they had not heard much else. I was maybe 10 blocks from work, I continued on and more and more people were calling in to the radio station with so many conflicting reports, it was confusing. By the time I got to my desk, everyone was in my bosses office and they screamed as the second tower was hit. My boss lived on the other side of the lake and I believe they closed the bridge. We worked next door to the federal courthouse, which they evacuated as well as all the other high rise buildings surrounding us that day. We stayed until the afternoon walking around like zombies, no one working, no one leaving, no one really even talking. I remember on the first anniversary we held a memorial service outside our building, said a few prayers, rang bells with the churches and the rest of the city as thames the towers were hit, then we sang God Bless America and everyone on the street stopped and sang with us. It was beautiful. It was amazing how beautifully all Americans came together on that day- at least something good came of it all, we were Americans united.

L Carilo said...

I was home... ahow-toguide.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-11-2001.html

Anonymous said...

I was a senior in college in PA. I heard about it from a handyman fixing our rented off-campus house. I headed into my work-study job in the campus-information office and spent the next I-don't-know-how-many hours watching the TV with students in and out, trying to call home. I have numerous family members who worked in the twin towers, and who were/are FDNY. It took a while for me to get through to my mom who was able to confirm that all but one was accounted for.
My cousin, a LT with the FDNY, died when the first tower fell. The only thing they found of him was his helmet.

Murph said...

Wonderful Post! I was driving in to work that morning listening to the radio. The first report about the first plane came in while I was on 90th south just crossing under I-15. I didn't know it was an attack until I got to work. It was a terrible day, even here in Utah.

Amanda said...

I was at home, and not scheduled to work until later in the day. I turned on the TV that morning and saw what I thought was war coverage. I turned off the TV because I wasn't in the mood, and it wouldn't affect me. When I got to work, and my co-workers told me what was going on I was so ashamed, and so wrong. I don't know anyone personally that was killed, but it changed a lot more than just the USA. I am Canadian, and I will never forget, and always feel the guilt and shame of thinking it was so distant, and not important, when I thought it was somewhere else.

9/11 opened my eyes to teach me that life is precious no matter where it is. War torn countries have innocent lives just as valuable and precious as those that are so close to home. I will always spend September 11th praying for those whose lives were torn apart that day.

Kathy A. said...

I'm a counselor and was at work in an elementary school in Michigan. I was pregnant with my first child. We were all shocked, stunned, numb... like the rest of the world. One of the 4th grade teachers put the t.v. on in her room. We didn't know the 2nd building was going to fall. Then it did. We tried to explain to the kids that they were safe - it happened far away. All I could think was, "what kind of world am I bringing this baby into?" I ended up leaving for the day - I couldn't focus. I remember how quiet the skies were. What a truly horrible event. I will never forget it. I don't think anyone will. My heart goes out to the families of those lost, to the emergency workers, and to everyone affected by the tragic events of 9/11.

Dee said...

I was at work in Spring Lake, MI. I was the only person in the office of a metal stamping plant because everyone from the office was at an off-site workshop. We had over 150 people working in the shop when one came running in yelling at me to turn on the TV now. My work space was in the conference room and the TV was next to me.

He rigged up an antenna for us to catch the broadcasts. It was only set up for presentations, not TV watching. I reached my family in southern NJ, made sure they were all OK. People from the plant also reached out to family of theirs in NY, NJ, VA and PA. I knew the bosses wouldn't mind. They didn't.

I tried for 4 hours to reach the bosses offsite. Finally one of them called in to check in on me at lunch time. He thought I was joking when I told him the towers and pentagon had been hit and a plane downed in PA. Really? NOT something I'd joke about. They cut their workshop short and came back to manage the situation at the plant, not that there was much anyone could do. A couple of people had left because they were directly impacted. But other than that, it was just another day. And as one other poster said, a beautiful and clear one at that.

Some people in our plant had friends or family in the towers. Or who were supposed to be there. It was a somber and tear filled day. I'd lived in NYC in the early-mid 80s but have no tie to it today.

Anonymous said...

This is what I wrote 1 year ago in a FB note. Ever since I wrote this I wanted to start blogging, but not sure who would read it.
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kristen-n-painter/10-years-ago/10150274532960895

Faithe said...

I was a first grade teacher. I had no clue what was going on. I had to be at work at 8:15, school started at 9:00. I hardly spoke to anyone that morning as I was leaving immediately after school to fly to Memphis to attend my husband's grandmother's funeral. We were also going to tell his parents they were going to be grandparents themselves. I got a phone call. I went across the hall to take it only to have my husband tell me I would not be going to Memphis as all planes had been grounded. I was stunned. My fellow teacher's son was going to school in NYC. I remember the panic as she tried desparately to reach him and the relief when she did. Later I spent the afternoon with my neighbor who was from the city. We were outside watching the kids play (how normal they can be) when we heard a loud bang. We ushered all the neighborhood kids inside wondering if we were under attack. We later found out that it was a sonic boom from military jets going to the coast.

Now 11 years later I teach 4th grade social studies. Talking about that day was hard. I cried during 2 of my classes. Helping the kids to understand that this is a day to honor those people who died, gave their lives to help others, and the heroes from all walks of life both near and far to help those in need. It is also important to remember that we not judge all people of a certain religion or from a certain country because of the actions of a few terrorists. If we do, we are no better than they were. We looked at the pledge of allegiance and what it means:

I promise my loyalty to the flag (that represents my country) and to the government for all Americans, we are one nation under God, we cannot be broken or divided (as proven on that day) with freedom and fairness to all.

What a powerful statement that we make everyday without giving thought to its true meaning.

Anonymous said...

I was getting ready to go to work. My mother called to tell me to turn on the tv. The second one hit while I was on the way to work.
A college classmate was in the tower, he made it out alive. But an old family friend that enlisted to fight the war on terror was ambushed in Iraq as he entered a house. It was sad enough before I found out I knew someone in the towers, but it became personal when I heard his story. And when John gave his life for his country my heart broke for his family...without 9/11 he would not have been fighting that war.

Kelly and Sne said...

I was in San Diego on a vacation/birthday trip as part of a business trip. I was getting ready for my business meeting when my Irish boyfriend who traveled with me said to come look at this on TV. It felt like I was watching a movie - like Bruce Willis was going to arrive any minute and save the day. I got really pissed off when he kind of brushed off the whole event (I guess the Irish are somewhat immune to attacks on their soil). I told him "no, you don't understand. this is going to change EVERYTHING. this means war." It was strange that there were no planes landing over our heads any longer and anyway my friend had forgotten his passport so had no photo identification (yes, they let him fly out without it!) so we knew that we weren't flying anywhere soon even if the planes did start again. You would have thought that we'd be happy about that as it was a gorgeous day in San Diego and we were staying in a beautiful resort and had rented a Mustang convertible. But the weirdest thing was the feeling that I just HAD to get home to Chicago as soon as possible. So we drove that Mustang from San Diego via Las Vegas (the last place where we could find room at a hotel) to Chicago. Although this event did lead to meeting my husband since, after Mr Irishman left, my 90% work travel schedule went to 0% I decided I needed to get out more around Chicago and met Mr Right that November and the rest is history...

KittyCass said...

I can't imagine how moving going to the memorial was. I hope to visit someday.

I was at home, asleep. I was in my 3rd month of working as a 911 operator for a large city in Texas, and had just gone to bed a few hours before.

My dad came and woke me up. I turned on the TV in time to see the second plane hit.

Most of the morning was spent watching TV, speechless. I remember calling my mom, who was at work, and the guy I was casually seeing at the time. None of us could really find words to say.

Shortly after, my dad got called into work. He is/was a police officer. He didn't come home for 3 days. The city was in a panic and there was some concern that water treatment plans were at risk, so all the treatment plants in the area had police presence 24/7 for about a week.

Later, I got out and drove somewhere and remember being startled that there were no planes anywhere, other than jets. I live relatively close to a major international airport and a Joint Reserve Base, so there are ALWAYS airplanes/jets overhead. I also remember the song "Proud To Be American" playing over and over again on the radio and everyone driving with their headlights on in respect. I can't hear that song now without thinking about that day.

I went back to work two days later and for weeks and weeks it was nuts. People called 911 because they felt planes were flying too low, there were suspicious middle eastern people walking around, someone had looked at them funny, and they felt that person could be a terrorist. It took quite a while before things returned to "normal".

Rebecca said...

Jen, did you go to MHS?? Joe Daniels was a year ahead of me in high school.

On 9-11, I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and at work as a physical therapist in NJ. Word starting leaking in and we all went to the Occupational Therapy room to watch the news every few minutes we could. Patients were trying to reach loved ones but the bosses were trying to get us to keep on trucking like it was a normal day. It scared the hell out of me to think what kind of world I was bringing our first born into and wondering how I'm manage to keep him safe.

The day after, I remember driving to work when "Proud to be an American" came on the radio. I could hardly drive because I was crying so hard. Damn pregnancy emotions.

We lived in Red Bank, NJ so we could smell and see the smoke from NYC. Two families on our block lost loved ones.

My younger brother was working in DC and it turns out the plane that hit the Pentagon flew over his building. My older brother was in Atlanta. No one knew for sure what was going on and he worked in one of the tallest buildings so they evacuated the whole building.

There are very few days on history I can remember so many details about but 9-11 is one of them.

mary said...

I was getting ready for work and my husband told me that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. At that time there wasn't any information other than that being given, so my husband and I sat on the couch and talked about how it was probably a pilot that had had a heart attack or such. As we were talking about this we heard the announcer gasp loudly 'Oh my God' and we turned just in time to see the second plane hit the other tower. I will never forget that sight as long as I live.

Deb said...

trying to go on our honeymoon-- flying from San Francisco to Boston. Honeymoon cancelled. We took an impromptu roadtrip instead-- all the tourist attractions and nice hotels were vacant and we got great deals. I suppose I'm glad out honeymoon wasn't planned a few days earlier. A devastating day for everyone, never to be forgotten.

TNMom said...

Man, I have sat here and read all of this and just cried and cried. Such a sad thing to hear the kids and teachers that were in schools....wow.
My story is nothing special, I worked evenings so I was in bed, my mom called me and told me to turn on the tv, something terrible had happened. If we only knew then HOW TERRIBLE! The thing that I will never forget is being scared to get out from under my covers. I was paralized with fear. I didn't get up all day to eat or anything, I was scared to death - I just watched tv and cried! Now we have to teach our kids about this horrific piece of our history, so tragic and sad.
Thanks for sharing this with us Jenn.

Heather said...

I was driving in to work and the radio was talking about a plane hitting the tower. There was confusion about whether or not it was a small plane or something bigger - then the second plane hit. When that happened, the radio announcer said "it's an attack. We're under attack. This is no accident." I called my husband and told him to turn on the tv. I got to school and pretty much all classes, all day were watching the news. I'll never forget that when the first tower collapsed, one student said "oh that was cool!" I reprimanded her quite sharply and told her there were probably thousands of people who had just died and every single one of them had friends, families, someone who cared about them. It was definitely NOT cool. She was pretty quiet after that, and I think the other kids realized that was pretty serious.

Rosie said...

Kim, I haven't been there either. I used to work downtown (a year earlier) and usually had lunch/breaks at the WTC plaza.

JenKap said...

Thank you very much!

Dana said...

I was at work at the Census Bureau and pregant with my first child. At first I heard "a plane hit the WTC". I assumed a single engine propeller one person plane and a coworker and i asked "who would be stupid enough to not miss a HUGE building". Then we heard about the second. At that point I was freaking out. Called my hubby and crying asked to leave work. We share a complex with the Naval Intelligence building. There were rumors that the State building was hit and other places in DC. We ended up leaving. My brother worked IN DC and we couldn't find him, I remember freaking out. Finally found him, he worked right down from the state building and they evacuated because they had rumor of a bomb or something. Thankfully that was false. I remember wondering what kind of world I was bringing my child into and was terrified, sad, and depressed. It was one of the scariest days of my life.

debrah said...

Jen, I am married to a widower of 9-11 Here is my post about that day - the longer posts are our stories of coming together - Like a free book on blog :)
This one, however is about Lisa, who perished on flight 11
http://mizzymuse.blogspot.com/2012/09/lisas-lesson-91101-story.html

debrah said...

Meant to also tell you that you wrote a beautiful piece!

Snarky Girl's Rants and Raves said...

I was at home, in Graham, Washington, getting ready for work. It was early here for us, so I was sitting on my bed, applying my makeup and watching the news. I wanted to know what to expect weather-wise.

I see NYC on the news. I'm instantly interested because my husband is from there, and we have good friends and family still there, and the east coast is rarely shown on our news.

Then I see the plane. Hmmm...is this a new action movie they are showing filming of? It's amazing how real it all looks.

Then I saw the tickler running across the bottom of the screen. I screamed for my husband who was downstairs getting our toddler ready for daycare. I screamed so loud he thought I'd hurt myself. He wasn't far from wrong. I told him to turn the news on immediately.

I started dialing my friends numbers. The lines were down. We didn't know if we should go to work or not. Were we all under attack? I worked in a high rise in Seattle at the time. Would we be a target? We went off to work, with an ominous dread. Everyone had the news on. We were transfixed. We were scared. And we were woefully, painfully in shock. I remember my boss at the law firm I worked for, he was one of the partners, he said perhaps the most callous thing I'd heard from anyone, then and now. He said, "It's not really affecting me. I've never been to New York." WHAT?!!! I never looked at him the same way again. I've also never looked at a highrise the same way again, and I never will.

debrah said...

Sheesh - must've been douche bag boss day that day! I worked in media sales in Boston and had an ominous feeling my clients wife (he's now my husband) was on the plane. I lived near the Plymouth Nuclear plant and had panic attacks thinking a plane was going to fly into it while my little boys were in school nearby. My boss said "F'n relax everybody....Get back to work, make calls, you're all blowing this out of proportion." Asshole. Thanks for the vent session. I feel better. XO to all of you, especially Jen for being funny AND thoughtful!

Kim at Let Me Start By Saying said...

Rosie: I know eventually I'll go down there, but...I don't know. I was down there once while it was being made, but not since it's been all completed.

Anonymous said...

This is a moving story, but this country hasn't had a 5 Star since Eisenhower.

Mama Moo said...

You know I read someone's facebook status yesterday saying something to the effect that it's been 11 years, why does everyone make such a big deal, people need to move on. I'm paraphrasing of course and while can appreciate that our media makes a big deal out of everything 9/11. I'm 30. I don't remember any great wars, and neither do most of this. 9/11 is a definitely a defining time for America.

I was actually was not near NY, in fact I lived in Bremerton, WA and was a young Navy wife. My (then) husband went to work that day. I was still asleep when my mom called to tell me the first building was hit and said I should turn on the news. I turned it on in time to see the second building hit. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, definitely something out of a horror movie for sure. Shortly after I got a call from the ombudsman saying the our husbands may not be coming home, to pack their bags to go out to sea for them and if they come home, it will be to retrieve their stuff and leave. The concern was that they did not want any submarines in port in case their was an attack. That truly had never occurred to me. I remember being very scared, no one really knew what was going on still but I knew it might mean my (then) husband leaving without saying goodbye and I didn't really know what that meant. He didn't go that day, but the next day I had to drive him so I would have the car if they left that day.

We didn't live on the military base and almost instantly there were Marines stationed at the gates with terrifyingly large weapons and tanks with riffles pointed at the gates. It took hours to get on base. Multiple check points and once you were on the base there were armed Marines EVERYWHERE.

This person I know that posted that people should move on got to me because it affected EVERYONE. I lived on the other side of the country and it instantly affected my daily life. Homeland security, the crazy security in airports. Threat level is something that is used a lot. So much has changed. The people lost that day were only expecting to deal with their annoying boss and hopefully enjoy a nice lunch outside not be buried under a building.

Wow, that was long, but writing it reminded me I need to find a place to write it for my young children. Thanks for the opportunity to share that.

Mama Moo said...

Oh, that first paragraph I meant to say the media makes a big deal of everything, but I think 9/11 is different. It deserves remembering.

Mama Moo said...

I won't ever understand those that say it didn't/ doesn't affect them. It affects EVERYONE to this day.

Mexmom said...

I was at home, half sleep didn't work at the time newlywed, so when I woke up and turned TV just watched in awe, I was in Huntsville, AL far away from NYC and even there phone lines were really busy and calling my parents was really a nightmare since they were so worried and they lived in Mexico so they didn't know if I was safe indeed.

Maura B said...

My hubby and I were at the Inn at Sunrise Point just outside of Camden, ME. 6 months pregnant with our first child, taking our last vacation before kids. Getting ready for breakfast in the main inn, turned on "Today" show while hubby took shower, just after the first plane hit...covered my mouth with my hand in horror, recalling the beautiful view from Windows on the World as a child, thinking about everyone working on the floors above impact. Watched in horror as 2nd plane hit. Called home to check in w/my dad to find out if a cousin was still working in tower 2 (she was on vacation in Ireland...lost most of her co-workers). Found out later that one of our best friends lost her 23year old cousin working his first job out of college in office at top of first tower hit. It was a sparkling clear day in Maine, and every single sparkling clear day since then, I think of the victims, and their families. One of the American pilots grew up in my hometown, and my parents knew him; one of the passengers on one of the Boston flights was the ex-husband of my downstairs neighbor that I used to say hi to in our shared foyer. Thanks for posting Jen, I hope the families know that we will never forget

Anonymous said...

Great share. Last 5 star was actually Omar Bradley though in 1950. Eisenhower and Arnold were ranked in 1944. 5 star or General of the Army rank is typically reserved for wartime.

Mara said...

I was a junior at Oklahoma State. I had classes that started at 7:30 in the morning and didn't end until 3 p.m. that afternoon. NOT ONE of my professors mentioned the WTC's. NOT ONE!! (And this was before everything could be accessed on your cell). Even students weren't talking about it. I do remember sitting in Chemistry and overhearing a guy tell his buddy that "it probably had to do with gas and oil in the Middle East" but that's about all that was mumbled ...

It wasn't until I came home from class and flipped on the TV that I about fell over. I couldn't get over how no one said a thing the entire day...

It is my hope that 9/11 will be remembered and honored as D-Day has been. It's an life-changing event in the history of the US and it is so important that we must not forget!

Anonymous said...

I was getting ready for high school that morning. I had the local, St. Louis, news on. They had the WTC on saying a plane has hit one of the towers. I just happen to glance at the tv when it showed the second plane hit the other tower.


Anonymous said...

I was working - in a defense company. A civilian worker for a government contractor. So many military people were in the building. They all rushed out...and came right back. They couldn't get anywhere. Everything stopped.

Thank you for sharing your story. I don't know when I'll get to the three sites, but in this life time I will.

Krysti said...

I was 13 years old and in the eighth grade. I was in the band room that morning putting my instrument away when one of my classmates came in saying that planes had hit buildings in New York City. Because he was a known exaggerator, no one believed him.

Right when I got to my first class, an announcement came on that there was to be no TV, internet, or radio broadcasts in any classrooms until further notice. At the time, it seemed really weird; looking back on it now, though (especially as a teacher), I can see why it would be necessary. I grew up in Colorado Springs, and it is a very heavily military school and city...we have five military institutions in our city (Air Force Academy, Shriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD, Fort Carson), and the administration at school was trying to protect any affected students and prevent fear.

Throughout the day, students were constantly being called down to the office and picked up early. My English teacher had broken the rule and had the TV on, but she turned it away from us and wouldn't let us see. We went home at the normal time and found out there.

I remember the next day I walked into my history classroom first thing in the morning and my teacher sat down with us and told us that he would answer any question we had as best as he could. Someone asked him why it happened and I vividly remember him choking up and telling us he didn't know, and he wasn't sure that anyone really did know.

The only other memory I have is that exactly a week later my family took their years-planned trip to Disney World, and there were absolutely NO lines. It was unreal.

Faithe Proulx Barrett said...

What happended to the comments that were here the other day? I wanted to look back at something and the comments are gone!

JenPiwtpitt said...

We are in the middle to moving them to another platform. They should be back in a day or two. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Furtheron said...

In NYC - on 42nd St - just arrived the night before from UK. Had colleagues in the air flying in and a couple downtown...

Always just remember the taste of the dust - horrible. And the look (or lack of) in people's eyes for the next few days in the city, just vacant.

Anonymous said...

I was in my first week of high school in northern NJ, a commuter town where almost everyone had family who worked in New York. My mom took the PATH to the WTC stop every day, but she hadn't gone to work that day. My enduring memory from that day is that the front office staff was getting so many phone calls from parents who worked in the city that they started putting up Post-It notes on the glass window of their office -- "Suzy Q -- Dad is safe," etc. -- and crowds of kids were outside the window looking for their names to pop up. Also remember my big sister coming into my math class to remind me my mom hadn't gone to work that day and to tell me we were going home, and seeing the smoke over the skyline on our drive back.

MamaLemma said...

We live in the DC suburbs, and my hubs works downtown at Georgetown University. What was most terrifying to me was the misinformation that kept being reported locally in the hours following the attack. With the phones down, I hard a difficult time getting in touch with my husband, and the local news stations kept reporting bomb threats and potential terrorist activity at various locations throughout DC, including some locations very close to my husband's office. He didn't come home immediately, and when he finally did leave the office, there was no traffic going in or out of the city. He looked out the rear-view window to see smoke rising from the Pentagon. Our home is only a few miles from Dulles Airport, and the absence of air traffic over the following days was truly eerie. I remember -- as clear as if it happened yesterday -- a nightmare from those days in which a plane crashed in our back yard, and my neighbors and I had to help people.

This summer, we took our kids to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. It is a very well-done and moving memorial, and gave the kids a real appreciation for what happened.

Anonymous said...

It was the single most terrifying day of my life. I was a freshman in college, I got up early that morning to go to the health center to get a pregnancy test, I went to class and our teacher dismissed us, this was before the plane crashed in Pennsylvania and all they knew was that a hijacked plane was heading west, living relatively near Chicago we were all scared and unsure if Chicago was the next target. I returned to my dorm and got a phone call that I was indeed pregnant. I sat in my dorm room, staring at my 13 inch television scared out of my mind, not only was my country being attacked but I was about to bring a life into it.

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