Memories of Sept 11, 2001

southtowerhitThe thing that really stands out in my memories of Sept 11, 2001, is the astonishing unity of the majority of Americans – sadness, love of country, enormous anger towards our enemies.  Remember the members of Congress standing on the Capitol steps, singing God Bless America?

My friends, coworkers and I exchanged emails, as we tried to find ways we could help and honor those who had died in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. We joined in the candle lighting on the Friday after the attacks. We watched the service at the National Cathedral, where our President gave an uplifting address to the nation.

bushatnationalcathedralHe said, “It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded and the world has seen that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave.
We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible. And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. ……… On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come. As we’ve been assured, neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth can separate us from God’s love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.”

It seemed that almost everyone wanted to contribute, to give money, give blood, or donate time, fly flags, say prayers, light candles. We were united as a country as we had not been for a long time.


One of the emails I received contained an editorial from a Romanian newspaper. Perhaps you received it too. I’m repeating it here because I think it is an interesting assessment by an outsider of what America means.

Editorial from a Romanian newspaper by Cornel Nistorescu

Why are Americans so united? They don’t resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are.

Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about.

The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colours of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: “God Bless America!”.

Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three times, on different tv channels. There were Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stallone, James Wood, and many others whom no film or producers could ever bring together. The American’s solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds, was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert.

I don’t know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of America didn’t sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made you green with envy because you weren’t able to sing for your country without running the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or suspected of who-knows-what mean interests. I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds of thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which nothing can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.

Only freedom can work such miracles!





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25 Responses to Memories of Sept 11, 2001

  1. Gil says:

    I was getting ready for work and saw tower 1 on fire. Then saw tower2 get hit and had to go to work. We had tv and radio on that day in a place where people didnt want reminders of death and tragedy. That day, no one cared. People had to listen, to hear every last bit of information and soak it in no matter what.
    Im going to explain to kiddo it is Patriots Day but not tell him so much of the detail yet.
    Never will forget, ever.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Lucille says:

    Never to be forgotten….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. czarowniczy says:

    We’d been working AQ and OBL for a few years, about 7 to be exactish, as at first they were players in out NEO operating areas. Later they became main players in our proposed operating area as other ‘agencies’ had put them on their radar.
    The morning of 911 I was on the road at ~ 7:45 CST when the first airliner crashed into the North Tower. By 8:00 when the 2nd plane hit the South Tower I was driving into my office’s parking lot. My plant was in the back and there was only the two of us and my partner never listened to the radio or browsed the internet so it was about 8:30 CST when I turned my computer on and all hell broke loose with news feeds – and then the Pentagon attack was announced.
    About 8:45 my SSO from the Navy SCIF called my cell phone and asked if I thought it was AQ and I said I’d buy the steaks if it weren’t. She then asked if I were going to come in and pull all of my AQ materials if needed and I said yes, after 4 PM.
    Things were slow getting filtered out at my office, the ‘command’ structure was scared to make an independent decision, preferring to wait for DC to tell them what to do. No work was getting done, every computer on every desk was tuned to a news outlet and everyone was glued to the screens. Finally at about 10:30 the bosses sent out a facility-wide message saying anyone who wanted to could take the rest of the day off with pay. WOO HOO! A day off payed for with death and destruction – the place emptied most riki tik. A few of us were asked to stay behind and provide man the office just in case, and I did, only to be told at noon they were closing us down for the day.
    On the way home the streets were normal, normal traffic, normal everything. On the ferry across the Mississippi some deckhands had heard something about the attacks but the situation was foreign to them, they didn’t even know what the WTC was or that the buildings even existed.
    When I got home the first thing I did was load a VHS tape into the VCR and over the next few days Czarina and I taped 24 hours a day and we still have a plastic tub full of those tapes. They
    contain images that the MSM has scrubbed from the public’s vision. We have those hours of people jumping, live, from the buildings to keep from burning and the shock, live as the buildings collapsed. We’;re going to convert them to disks so that out grandkids, great grandkids and their kids will have a realtime, unedited record of what happened.
    Next day I was in work as usual and, about noon, got a call that orders were being cut to put me back onto active duty. The orders were cut on 21 September (the volume of us being called up was large) and for the next 18 months I was loaned out to Federal civilian agencies that were suddenly thrust into strange waters.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. On 9-11-01 I was driving my son to school when I had a strong urge to pray for President Bush…it was right around the time the first plane hit. Later I was home with my 3 youngest kids when my husband called from work telling me to turn on the TV that something big was happening. I think I was on ABC & trying to make sense of Peter Jennings & seeing the split screen with the Pentagon on fire & the remaining Tower belching black smoke. I saw that second tower fall on live TV (I still hadn’t really grasped what was happening) & immediately burst into tears at the witnessing of countless lives being snuffed out. My kids called 9-11 “the day that mommy cried” because they rarely ever saw me cry & that day the sorrow was uncontrollable.

    Fast forward some years later to one of the 9-11 remembrances…where Barak Obama was a participant who read or recited scriptures that were supposed to provide comfort. Now I Never liked or supported that individual but was willing to overlook personal animosity & give the benefit of the doubt to him, it was the Word of God after all. I have never before or since had my skin crawl in listening to Scripture being recited. God’s Word pouring from his lips came across as some kind of abomination at least to my soul. I thought there must be something wrong with me to have perceived him/it that way. Some time later I had a conversation with a woman from my mom’s prayer group of many decades. She expressed similar & even more vehement reactions to BHO quoting scripture…

    Thanks for this moving & sobering post Stella…

    I shared a link to your post at CTH & also wrote on this topic here:

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Justice says:

    I know that God lives and this is His nation. We must do everything we can to protect what He’s given us. But, I hope he returns very soon, because I think it has gone beyond our own control.

    Even large corporations are fighting against us now. It’s unreal how powerful evil is in this world as they insist on destroying everything good and true. They are unaware they are destroying everything that gave them the freedom to live and achieve.

    Liked by 3 people

    • stella says:

      There is hope. Corporations are made up of people, and they are not all evil. Everywhere in this country there are good and honorable Americans. Evil can be confronted and defeated, with God’s help.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. auscitizenmom says:

    So much of that morning was just a blur to me. I got a call from my mother that my father had internal bleeding……again. He had almost died 2 or 3 times before of it. She wanted me to come down and take them to the ER. Don’t ask me why they wouldn’t call an ambulance. Long story. Anyway, on the way to pick them up, I heard about the first plane. I can’t remember hearing about the second, but I saw it on TV when we got to the ER. Back then we weren’t supposed to use cell phones in the hosp. Didn’t matter, mine didn’t work inside anyway. I had to go out to make calls. So I would run out and call and run back in to see how my dad was doing.

    My 13 yr old son was at home alone, and of course, my first thoughts were of him. I wasn’t sure what to tell him, but it didn’t matter. By the time I got ahold of him my husband’s mother had called hysterical and told him to turn on the TV. So, I think he was pretty scared. We lived on 20 acres at the time. My husband was out of town working at a building a couple of blocks from the Pentagon.

    I never had much interest in NY City. Too big, too much city. I had never even heard of the Twin Towers. But, that didn’t matter. We had been attacked and it didn’t matter to me what building it was. I just have a hard time with what all has happened since then. I believe we had a terrorist sympathizer in the WH and we are now in a worse position than before in a lot of ways.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. lovely says:

    Father Mychal Judge.

    For his boys.

    For his city.

    For his God.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Pingback: September 11th Remembrances | Special Connections

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