On September 11, 2001, four coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States forever changed the course of history. Today is the 17th anniversary of those attacks on our country by terrorists. Much has happened since this day to remind us that we live in a dangerous world, but I don’t think anyone who was alive on this date will forget the events of 9/11/2001. Take a minute to remember the day and say a prayer for peace as well as for all who were killed, injured, or directly impacted.
To commemorate this date, I asked friends and colleagues on Facebook to share their memories and how the events changed their lives. I received a number of moving experiences from people from around the world and share 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.
As you read the following posts you will find each one to be thoughtful and sobering. If you would like to leave a comment about how the events of September 11, 2011, changed your life, please feel free to leave in the comment section below or send it to me via email at [email protected]
Also, if you have not done so today, please take a minute to remember all who lost their lives, were injured, or were impacted directly by the events of September 11th. Thank you.
Posts of Remembrance:
Anne Llewellyn: I was on my way to Portland, Oregon, for work. I was on an early American Airlines flight (7 am). I remember having a strange feeling 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 so 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 all take our luggage and belongings as there was going to have 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 to let him know I was ok. 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 was able to get 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 going on and why the attacks happened. A few days later as no planes were flying. My husband was able to get 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 say a prayer that we will be safe. I will never forget that day.
Dyan Ruhana: I was at 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 did I see a television. It seems the instructor wanted to keep going. If she stopped, she then had to acknowledge that her brother was dead for he was 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 every day. However, that day was dramatically different for I worked at Virginia Hospital Center, the hospital 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 have toured the Bushmills Distillery that morning and were just 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 went into mourning as they found out 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 made our way to the American Embassy and found a line with 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 5 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 1 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 as well) we stormed out of our office to the foyer where the closest TV was and that is where we pretty much spend the rest of the afternoon. My brother, wife, and kids were to fly to Atlanta that evening immigrating to the USA. Needless to say that it postponed the whole leaving for them to February the 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 thought ahead to 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. 14 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, we had to stop for fuel in Island Keflavik KEF and finally back in 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. Probably best you went back and not stranded somewhere. I am sure that was a stressful day for all of the airlines and passengers.
Johann Achim BeiBel: No, the pilot made a smooth U-Turn nobody realized that we are 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 are 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 that 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 kind of joke. It took some time for the news to settle in me 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. Needless to say, our celebration was very low-key that night. My sisters all live in CT, and one of my brothers-in-law worked in NYC at the time. 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, Sept 11, 2005, was the best day of my life…I became a grandmother…No more sadness on this day, we just feel blessed that God has given us Marley on this day. She is such a special child and has visions of 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 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 we were told to turn it off by the school principal.
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.
Anne Llewellyn: posting for Cheryl Smith Rizk: The night before I had gone to a Tony Bennett/KD Lang concert and so I was running 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–that the phones at my home care company were ringing, that 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.
Anne Llewellyn: posting for Silvia Lozano from the South of France, La Provence!! I was going to Del Rio, Texas, with my parents 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 was 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 got back into the car and listened to the radio all the way 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 at that time.
Bonnie Zickraf: I was at work at a case management organization at the time and running from meeting to meeting that morning. Every time 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, 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, in the midst of 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 5 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 I 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 on earth something like this could have happened. As they called for volunteers to provide the medical care, I was told I was not to even THINK of volunteering. There I was an Army-trained Combat Support Hospital ER triage nurse, and I was told by a HEALTHCARE company if I volunteered, I would be fired. Needless to say, I quickly found another job. I was devastated to not be able to respond, and my heart broke for all those people that 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 were unable to believe what we were seeing and hearing. 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. As 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 then again visiting the new Memorial.
Lora McCann, I was working in an ophthalmology practice as a business office supervisor. The patients were glued to the televisions, and the administration wanted me to turn them off. Crazy times! 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 myself, I always have the news on, and 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 all the way 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 are robbing people of their lives, peace, and joy of living in freedom…I’ll never forget that day. It changed my life, my perspective on life, 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.
Post published comment:
Ann, This is a wonderful post! Thank you for writing it. Sharing with all of my social media. 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.
Thanks again to all who contributed. We Will Never Forget!