Memories of Sept 11, 2001


What I mourn most deeply is our loss of  innocence and unity.

The 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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3 Responses to Memories of Sept 11, 2001

  1. czarowniczy says:

    Lest we forget Fr Mychal Judge, the NYFD chaplainm who was killed at the WTC site on 911 when, while ministering to victims, he was hit by a falling piece of the victim.

    This clip is from a homily he delivered on 10 September 2001 at the rededication of a FDNY station. As you listen to it you just have to wonder about this speech and his being at the WTC the next morning.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. jeans2nd says:

    It is almost laughable just how naive we were, here in now-small-town Flyover Country. It was a daily struggle, wondering every day was today the day our plant closed.

    We were outside with the smokers, which is where all discussions and decisions took place. We first had to find out what was the Twin Towers/World Trade Center. We were told it was a small plane that hit a building, and oh, wasn’t that sad for them, and why was a small plane flying over NYC, and helicopters had been known to hit a building in NYC a couple three times.

    We stayed outside and watched as the black choppers started flying over us, very low. We were very close to CAK; Wicked Son was 5 minutes from CAK. Calling Wicked Son on my clunky cell, WS was on the school’s roof (as network engineer he had access to everywhere), describing all the humongous planes landing at CAK, plane after plane after plane. We have a National Guard air wing at CAK where more planes could be kept safely (and watched) after landing. CLE of couse was shut down – CLE tower was handling comms with the Shanksville, Pennsylvania-bound terrorists.

    Being the only ones with inet access, we were the go-to guys for up-to-date news. Drudge had quite a workout that day. Closing in 2004, we scattered and never kept in touch. But my few co-workers who experienced that day together remain my closest co-workers.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. glendl says:

    Subject: 9/11 plus 18; “Father Mychal’s Prayer”, Rick Rescorla

    “Father Mychal’s Prayer”

    “Lord take me where You want me to go;

    Let me meet who You want me to go to meet;

    Tell me what You want me to say,


    Keep me our of Your way”.

    Father Mychal F Judge, OFM
    Chaplain, Fire Department of New York.
    2001 Holy Name Province.

    Father Mychal was the first First Responder to die on 9/11. They had just arrived and he was giving Last Rites to a dead person and was killed when a jumper fell on him.

    “I think God wanted someone to lead the guys to Heaven”. a comment by a firefighter on the death of Father Mike.

    May God Rest Their Souls

    Rescorla had prostate cancer and had about 6 months to live. That is one Hell of a bad way to die. He had maintained a level of fitness for a soldier with the nickname “Hard Core”. Steroids to decrease some of the swelling caused by his cancer caused him to bloat up as shown in the picture above.
    He led a recon platoon in Vietnam and one of his men said, if everyone else did 20 pushups, we did 30. If they ran a mile, we ran two miles. Hence the name “Hardcore”
    After the 1993 truck bombing of the WTC, down the stairs, something akin to the fire drills in one’s school days. A few times a year they practiced the drills. Rescorla got 2700 people out, his records indicated there were 3 unaccounted for and he and his 2 assistants went back to find them. They did not come out.

    Lest you missed it, I have so much respect and admiration for Rick Rescorla, American by Choice. Hero Patriot by Choice. America was better because he chose to liv

    An extension to the comment by Timothy B Favero above. Part of that discussion with his friends, Rescorla said, “Are we going to grow old wearing nappies (diapers), sitting in wheelchairs? Or will we go out in a Kairos? [{ Kairos is a Greek word translating as a “cosmic event”, in other words, “going out in a blaze of glory”? }]

    Rescorla suffered from “Survivor’s Guilt”, he lived while so many of his friends died in battle, both the British Army and the American Army. He always wondered why he lived when they didn’t. I write off the top of my head, in lengthy posts, I am not organized.

    I was given a copy of the book “We Were Soldiers, Once and Young”. It had Mel Gibson on the cover. I returned the book and exchanged it for an edition with Rescorla on the cover. It was the above picture but in silhouette format.
    I will try tomorrow to get a picture of the book.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


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