I started posting this Blog Post on September 11, 2015, as a reminder of what happened on September 11, 2001, and have posted it each year since.

To remind you, coordinated terrorist groups led attacks against the United States in New York, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA, that forever changed the course of history. Today is the 20th anniversary of those attacks on our country. We Will Never Forget.

To commemorate this date, I asked friends and colleagues on my social media outlets to share their memories and how the events changed their lives.  I received several moving experiences from people worldwide and shared them in this post.  As you will see from reading them, everyone was going about their normal lives, yet once they heard the news, they stopped what they were doing and sat glued to a TV to follow the events.

If you would like to comment about how the September 11, 2011, events changed your life, please feel free to leave in the comment section below or email me at allewellyn48@gmail.com.

Posts of Remembrance:

Anne Llewellyn: I was on my way to Portland, Oregon, for work. I was on an early American Airlines flight (7 a.m.). I remember feeling strange as I waited to board the plane, but I could not put my finger on it. I was looking at all the people waiting at the gate and was surprised to see so many people flying early across the country. We took off on time and stopped in Dallas, Texas, as scheduled. Our flight was supposed to go to Portland after a brief layover,  but the stewardess came on the intercom and told us to take our luggage and belongings as there would be a plane change. This was not unusual, just unexpected, as we were all settled in and now would have to go to another gate to continue our trip.

As we left the plane, I called my office and found our receptionist was crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. As I listened, I quickly walked to find a TV and saw the second plane hit the Towers. I stood in shock with so many others.

I called my husband to hear his voice and let him know I was okay. He told me to try and get a hotel as there would be no flights for the next few days. So my next call was to our travel agent. She got me a hotel close to the airport, so I made my way to the hotel. At the hotel, I met many fellow travelers. As it was a beautiful day, we sat by the pool and talked about the events. Once back in the room, I watched CNN to learn what was happening and why the attacks happened. A few days later as no planes were flying. My husband got me a bus ticket on the Greyhound bus to take me home. Traveling across the country on the Greyhound bus was an experience. I was with several women who were also stranded.  We stayed together and supported each other.  Once home, I recall feeling very lucky. On every flight since 9/11, I pray that we will be safe. I will never forget that day.

Dyan Ruhana: I attended a workshop in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The instructor’s demeanor changed, but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t until much later, as I used the restroom, that I saw a television. It seems the instructor wanted to keep going. If she stopped, she had to acknowledge that her brother was dead on the top floor of one of the towers.

Ellen Fink-Samnick: Annually, I post the reflection I wrote on the evening of 9/11. I spent the day case managing patients’ family members and working with valued team members, as I did daily. However, that day was dramatically different because I worked at Virginia Hospital Center, closest to the Pentagon. I used to cherish the view from the window immediately outside my office, for it looked out on the Pentagon and toward D.C. Linda May Grobman published the piece last year in the New Social Worker. Here is the URL for those who would like to read it. http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/practice/such-bright-blue-skies-reflections-on-911/

Julie Fling Irons: I was on vacation in Northern Ireland. We toured the Bushmills Distillery that morning and were leaving the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge when we were told. My reaction was that they were describing a Tom Clancy storyline. This was 2 hours after the world knew. We did not see images for another 3 hours. Ireland was mourning as they discovered an Irish mother and her children were on one of the planes. We spend Friday, the World Day of Mourning, in Dublin. The whole city was shut down for the day. We went to the American Embassy and found a line over a 3-hour wait to sign the condolence books. I always wish we had waited, but we had our 5-year-old daughter with us, and she had just received five stitches in her elbow on 9/12 so we moved on. I found out upon my return that the US was Friday as usual; at least my colleagues were at work in DC. I don’t have a single US paper about the tragedy, but we brought home every European paper we could find. We will always remember where we were on that day. On the good news side, my 2nd granddaughter was born one year later to the day. Happy Birthday, Renee!

Erna van Rooyen: Hi Anne, while this is engraved in the hearts and memories of millions. These millions reach much further than the USA borders. I was case managing at Linksfield Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, and just walked into my office when a colleague screamed NO ….. (with a few other words). We stormed out of our office to the foyer, where the closest TV was, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. My brother, wife, and kids were to fly to Atlanta that evening, immigrating to the USA. Needless to say, it postponed their whole leaving to February next year. So yeah, it touches everyone around the earth.

LeeAnn Giles Moore: I was at my desk starting my day when the news started to filter in. Wild rumors were flying along with all the unbelievable news reports. Trying to get Internet updates was futile as sites were crashing. My friend and mentor immediately considered the possible military response as her son was of an age where he might be called up. A large group of us just stood together and prayed. When our employer dismissed us, I headed straight to pick my son up at daycare and tried to explain what was happening to a 4-year-old. Fourteen years later, he still wants to join the military.

Johann Achim BeiBel: I was onboard Lufthansa flight LH 456, seat 16c, en route to Los Angeles International. After 10 hours in the air, we had to turn back, stop for fuel in Island Keflavik KEF, and finally go back to Germany. My longest flight ever.

Editor’s Note: Thanks for sharing, Johann. Did they tell you why you were turning back? I don’t think we had access to the Internet at the time. It’s probably best you went back and not stranded somewhere. I am sure that was a stressful day for all airlines and passengers.

Johann Achim BeiBel: No, the pilot made a smooth U-Turn. Nobody realized that we were on our way back. The IFS with the moving map was shot down before – due to technical problems…..when the Captain told us that we were flying back, he said something about an accident with a plane in NYC. But when we arrived at KEF for our pit stop, we realized because of the many big planes standing in line for fuel, something terrible must have happened….

Cara Newman Fandel: I was getting ready for work. My boyfriend called to tell me what was happening and I thought it was some joke. It took some time for the news to settle before I realized how horrible it was. I think I was in denial.

Pat Trefny Ford: Craig and I were at a conference in Reno, Nevada. We had driven down there from our home in Edmonds, WA. It was our 30th wedding anniversary, and Craig had made reservations for us to spend the night and celebrate in Lake Tahoe. Our celebration was very low-key that night. My sisters all live in CT, and one of my brothers-in-law worked in NYC then. I was able to reach my sister and found out that he was safe. It took him over 2 days to get home. I will never forget that day and the solidarity this country achieved for a short time. We were all proud of our country then. I wish we had that solidarity and pride in our country back again.

Windy Williams: I was at work, and it made me realize that we should never take anything for granted…Also, September 11, 2005, was the best day of my life…I became a grandmother…No more sadness on this day; we feel blessed that God has given us Marley on this day. She is a special child and envisions making this world a better place…Happy Birthday, Marley!

Sue Binder:  I was at Hackensack University Hospital, and, unfortunately, we had a distant view of the WTT and the smoke coming from them. Unfortunately, it was easy to see. We went into Emergency mode, thinking that some Nurses would go over to help. Unfortunately, that request never came. It was a day I will never forget, and I send prayers for all involved!

Charlotte Moon: I was teaching at Driftwood Elementary. I received a call from home to turn on the TV. I had it on until the school principal told us to turn it off.

Donna Wallace: I was a Family Counselor for DHH students at Seminole Middle. The television showed the attacks happening. We were instructed to turn off the sets. Everyone was in shock.

Cheryl Smith Rizk: The night before, I had gone to a Tony Bennett/KD Lang concert, so I ran a little late to go into my office. I was listening to The Today Show and heard that a small plane had hit one of the towers–I poked my head around the corner to see what was up and saw the second plane hit. My first thought was–we were under attack. I called my husband, who was working as a contractor for Sprint at the time, and told him what had happened. By the time the plane had hit the Pentagon, he was pulling into our driveway–anyone who was not a Full-Time employee at Sprint was escorted off the Sprint campus–they were afraid of terrorism. I spent the rest of the day in front of the TV; I never went to my office. I was just amazed that life was going on–the phones at my home care company were ringing, customers were coming into my DME store, people were going to the grocery stores, etc. I knew our country was changed forever. I remember watching over and over again the look on President Bush’s face when he was told the news. I can only imagine what was going through his mind: Will there be another attack? Where is Barbara, Where are my children, etc.? That is my memory.

April Chitwood Cordero: I was at work…preparing for our day of pain management and procedures.

Silvia Lozano, I was with my parents in Del Rio, Texas because my aunt had passed away. We did not know what had happened because we left very early to leave Fort Worth, and we were not listening to the radio. It wasn’t until we stopped for late lunch and walked into a Dairy Queen that we knew something was wrong. It was very silent while the TV was showing what had happened. Everyone was watching, and some were crying. Our first thought was disbelief, then sadness. We did not eat but returned to the car and listened to the radio to our destination.

Wendy Hunt-Flanagan: I was in my den on the phone with my friend Deborah Ann when the first plane hit my heart sank.

Bonnie Zickraf: I was at work at a case management organization and running from meeting to meeting that morning. Whenever I came out of a meeting, someone would say, ” OMG, a plane hit the towers. I came out of another meeting, and someone else told me another plane hit the towers. I came out of another meeting, and someone else told me that a plane hit the Pentagon. I immediately stopped and said, “Not our Pentagon! Several of us went out to lunch at a nearby restaurant that had TV sets, and I could not believe what I was seeing. Well, we all know the rest of the story…

Margaret Chu: I was in Manhattan working on 34th Street for a large managed care company amid an NCQA survey, sequestered in an interview room with the surveyors when the first tower went down. I stayed the night in a nearby hotel as all the bridges were closed. That evening was eerie as midtown Manhattan looked like a ghost town and felt like Twilight Zone with soldiers armed with rifles on army jeeps…. we could see the smoke from downtown Manhattan and people in a daze walking from the area in the earlier afternoon… as I was the survey coordinator, I also had to make sure the five surveyors from different parts of the country were OK … How did it affect me? I think it affected me profoundly on a personal level. It made me realize how precious life was and what was truly important! Our Best Man, Joey, was in Tower 2 but made it out! Many others did not. Our prayers to all those who were not so fortunate on that day.

Vivian Weaver:  I was in Aruba in a meeting at the Bank. There were no televisions in the meeting room, but the managing director had the TV on in his office next to the meeting room. I remember him coming into the meeting room and telling us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We assumed it was a small plane and an accident and continued the meeting. A little while later, he informed us that a second plane hit. At that moment, the meeting stopped; everyone was in shock and very upset. All the TVs in the Bank and Aruba were being watched. I went to my office and tried to access CNN and other websites, but they were all jammed. I gained access to Le Monde from France and watched there. I remember all parties and events in Aruba were canceled for about 10 days. The first time there was a social event, it was a meeting of the Alliance Francaise (French Club), and there was a moment for reflection.

Renee LaFollette: I was in Houston, Texas at work as I went in early to complete some reports for a meeting that morning. I was working at an MSO and finally received a phone call from my boss telling me to have everyone go home. Later at home, I watched the newscasts with everyone else, wondering how something like this could have happened on Earth. As they called for volunteers to provide the medical care, I was told I was not to even THINK of volunteering. I was an Army-trained Combat Support Hospital ER triage nurse there, and a HEALTHCARE company told me I would be fired if I volunteered. I quickly found another job. I was devastated not to be able to respond, and my heart broke for all those people who lost their lives and the families they left behind. I will never forget that day.

Emily McCrater:  I had just left my son at the bus stop and was getting ready for work. My mom called me and said to put on the news about the plane crash. As we were watching the Today Show, we saw the second plane. We were shocked. We went to work, and I remember hardly any traffic on US1, and we had the TV on all day. Everyone, even the homeless newspaper vendors, was in the shop with us glued to the TV. We couldn’t wait to get our kids out of school, and that evening, everyone hugged their loved ones tighter and a little longer, and the community came together. It is a day I will never forget.

Cathy McMeekin Denson: I was driving to a rehabilitation facility to meet with a patient and heard shocking news on the radio. Upon entering the facility, several nurses and case managers were in the patient’s room — as we watched the TV, we could not believe what we saw and heard. I will never forget it, the emotions of shock, fear, denial, and then the sudden personal bond forming in the room, at that moment, among all. The patient, as devastating as his condition was, held his head high, smiling and sharing his pride for America and our God. All hospital sounds common to any facility stopped, stood still, and silence replaced this moment. I remember calling my company and letting them know. Several televisions had been delivered by the time I arrived at the office. There are so many tears and unanswered questions. For weeks, I watched the news while sleeping on the sofa, calling my Mom and daughters, desperately wishing we lived in the same home where we could hug and protect each other. This day in history shall never be forgotten.

Kathleen Fraser, I was having an early morning CMSA meeting at a Cracker Barrell in Katy, TX, when the 1st plane hit the Tower. Horrible, horrible day!!!!

Elinor Adler: I was on my way to work listening to a tape on getting volunteers. On I-95, I noticed people in their cars had strange looks on their faces but I didn’t know why. When I got to my downtown Miami office, nobody was in sight because they were all in a guest office looking at the T.V. In disbelief, there was screaming and crying when the plane hit the towers. Only then did I find out what happened. We had to evacuate because I worked in a government office. Like everyone else, I was in shock. It was the longest and scariest ride home since the McDuffie riots in Miami. I found peace later while visiting the site and the new Memorial again.

Lora McCann, I worked as a business office supervisor in an ophthalmology practice. The patients were glued to the televisions, and the administration wanted me to turn them off. Crazy times! I’m glad my time in that practice was short-lived!

Susan Woodward Sullivan: stated it is still hard to believe it happened…. Such a tragedy!  I was crying in front of my TV!

Stefany Almaden, I was trying to get to my office early that morning, 5:45 AM PST. As a news buff, I always have the news on; it is the last thing I shut off before leaving. As I was doing that and preoccupied with the mounting work, I had to leave early to clear. I thought it was a scene from a movie or something. I thought, how sick can that be? Once I got in the car and drove off, the news was on again KNX (CBS radio), It hit me like a rock; my stomach gripped, and I needed to throw up (sorry for being too graphic). I cried to the office, “shell-shocked” as it was PTSD for me; what I ran away from coming to the land I loved as a child and growing up. These ba$.ads rob people of their lives, peace, and joy of living in freedom.…I’ll never forget that day. It changed my life, my perspective, and the value of communication with your loved ones.

My son Danny had his birthday on that day, and we want to celebrate it at his favorite Italian restaurant…Danny’s lips were curled down, and he said,” Mom, I cannot be happy in this place when everyone around is so sad.”…while it was wise, I wanted him to celebrate life but be sensitive to others…so, yes…never forget.

Donald Pazour: I was with Washington, DC-based colleagues visiting our White Plains, New York branch office. So tragic, so frightening.  Still hard to comprehend. I pause with thoughts and prayers for those suffering the losses most closely.

Janet Minard Coulter: I was at work, and we gathered around the training TV so we could watch the news It was so sad. It was also my friend’s birthday, and we had planned to take her out for lunch. I was all for canceling lunch, but she said. we had to eat anyway, so we went to lunch, which was very odd. The restaurant was pretty empty. That evening we were scheduled to sample wedding cake in preparation for our oldest daughter’s wedding. I told my daughter we needed to reschedule due to a national crisis. She was not very happy. I called the bakery, and they were closed. The day ended when I ran over my kitten in the driveway. The accident broke her hip. She almost did not make it but is still alive and well. A day I will never forget.

Anonymous: I will never forget how devastated I felt on that very sad day. I was home alone and nine months pregnant, wondering if that would be the day I went into labor. Then my Mom called and told me to turn on the t.v., I turned it on just as the second plane hit the tower, I was stunned. I felt so scared. I became terrified that I would go into labor that day and have to go to the hospital. My friend, who was also pregnant, came over so that we could distract each other from the horrible events that were taking place on that day. My daughter was born three days later, on the 14th. The events of 9/11 triggered a lot of anxiety in me, and I started having anxiety attacks that lasted the first few months after delivering my daughter.

Maureen Orr: I worked with a local psychiatrist in Coral Springs with litigated cases as a Legal Nurse Consultant. We had no TV, so I listened to NPR. When the final plane went down only 20 minutes from where my father was living in rural Pennsylvania, I had a feeling that it was the end of the world. Within days, my husband volunteered with the Red Cross in New York. Horrible day. Our country lost its soul on that day in many aspects.

Jenn: I worked in a family practice physician’s office and had just come out from assisting with a pap test when one of my co-workers told me about the first plane hitting the tower. We all went to the waiting room and watched TV news when the 2nd plane hit. I remember feeling shocked and wanting to hug my brother, who lived in New Jersey then.
Visiting the site and the memorial years later was healing and comforting. We put our hands in the flowing water of the memorial and felt our skin cells becoming part of those who mourn.
Prayers for the millions of those who were affected by this horrific tragedy.

Thanks again to all who contributed. Never Forget!


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