Remembering 9/11/01

Sylvia

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On 9/11, Luck Meant Everything - The Atlantic by Garrett M. Graff
Over millennia, we’ve called “luck” and “fate” by many names, often intertwining the concepts with the unseen hand of Providence. In mythology, the three Fates were goddesses who handed out destiny at birth, weaving a future that each mortal would be forced to live out inexorably—the concept of fate serving for many as a necessary explanation for the random cruelties, vicissitudes, and lucky breaks that determine so much of how life plays out. That individuals might just blunder into these events for no reason at all was, for the ancient Greeks, just too bleak a thought.

Yet it’s hard to come away from the stories of 9/11 with a sense of anything other than an appreciation for the role randomness plays in our daily existence—There but for the grace of God go I, as the 16th-century clergyman John Bradford is said to have phrased it—and how it can change the course of history.
 

ilovepaydays

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One of the biggest things that I remember about 9/11 is being unsettled because I was convinced that we would be attacked like that again - and very soon. If you had told me we would spend (as of right now - crossed fingers) 18 years since without another attack like this, no way would I have believed you.
 

MsZem

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A few articles worth sharing - the first few are from USA Today's first anniversary series, so the formatting may be a bit wonky, but definitely worth reading:

Clearing the skies of air traffic on 9/11:

The people who were inside the towers during the collapse - and survived:

And from 2016 - "We're the Only Plane in the Sky", an oral history with those who were near President Bush on that day:
 
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Susan1

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And from 2016 - "We're the Only Plane in the Sky", an oral history with those who were near President Bush on that day:
There was a special about the President and Air Force One on 9/11 on t.v. last night.

I wasn't in New York nor have I ever been there or know anyone who was there that day, but talking about planes being grounded always reminds me how relieved I was when they grounded all air traffic. They had false reports on the local news that morning about a small plane going down in a field and stuff. How stupid was that. We were in the flight path of a local air park that had small planes going all the time (Snoopy and the Red Baron) and hot air balloons (I have a picture of a Famous Footwear high top balloon over my house), so I was used to that sound. It was weird without the sounds on such a clear day.

I was afraid to leave the house all day, glued to the t.v. I didn’t know what else to do so I made cookies - and ate cookies. And I took the trash out around the usual 5:30 and heard a plane. The car driving by me while I was standing at the curb stopped and they got out and looked up too. It was way, way high up and moving really fast. You could only see the sun glinting off of something, but you could hear it. I wasn’t going to be one of those people that call someone and cause a panic and get interviewed and everything, so I called my friend, Peggy, who had been sent home from Wright Patterson Air Force Base earlier in the day.

(She was a civilian but worked in a building without windows and all kinds of security. It was so secure that they had to use a different computer to send emails outside the base than the one they received it on. It’s not like I thought she would tell me what was happening, even if she knew. But she took the time to go to the other computer to email me that morning they were being sent home because the base might be a target.)

She said I probably just saw the President. That maybe he was going to Wright Patt. We found out later that he had been in Nebraska and that’s about the time he was flying back to DC - over Ohio! I never saw anything on the news about anybody else seeing or hearing the President’s plane.

Military helicopters had been flying over practically every half hour all afternoon too - from Wright Patt to somewhere south and back. I’d be on the phone with my mom or boyfriend and one of us would hear the helicopter overhead and two minutes later the other person would hear it, and they did that all night. Weirdness in the sky over Dayton, Ohio.
 

Moto Guzzi

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She said I probably just saw the President. That maybe he was going to Wright Patt. We found out later that he had been in Nebraska and that’s about the time he was flying back to DC - over Ohio! I never saw anything on the news about anybody else seeing or hearing the President’s plane.
A coworker was standing in his yard when Air Force One returned to DC. He said it came in fast with fighter jets at each wing tip. He cheered when he saw it.

I worked at the Washington Navy Yard and could see the smoke from the Pentagon. My sister worked there and we didn't know for hours whether she was alive. She survived but 41 of her coworkers were killed.

On September 7, we went to the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial to join members of our DAR Chapter to lay a wreath and place red roses and carnations on each victim's bench. The Pentagon DAR Chapter was started as a result of 9/11. A man was filming in advance of 9/11, and a short video was shown the next day during the end credits of Face the Nation.

We spoke with a man who was also in the Pentagon that day and survived without injury. We also spoke with two women who wanted to know about the memorial. I explained that the benches were laid out along the path the plane took and their orientation indicated whether the victim was on the plane or in the Pentagon. They are placed according to the ages of the victims with the youngest closest to the entrance. I gave each woman a flower to place.

Two carpool members and I always email each other on the anniversary. It was a surreal experience when we were finally released to leave the Navy Yard. The only traffic we saw were the emergency and secret service vehicles. I was driving and thought I'd be stopped when we reached the Pentagon but we weren't.

I was a volunteer at the crisis center for the families of the victims and heard things I don't discuss with anybody other than a few other volunteers. It's still difficult for me to watch 9/11 coverage, but I am extremely grateful that my sister survived.

Today is the 6th anniversary of the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. Twelve of my friends and colleagues died. I always remember those who were lost on 9/11 and 9/16 and say a prayer for them and those who loved them.
 

Sylvia

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Hard to believe 20 years have passed :(... so far I've watched the last 2 episodes of this new 6-episode documentary series and have been so moved by the personal stories:
(also streaming on Hulu)

Excerpts:
With twenty years having passed, to a whole generation the scenes depicted in 9/11: One Day in America weren't a memory. Therefore, beyond their ambition to make a landmark series, Bogado and his team had to tell the story in a way that would educate as well as remind. “We said ‘never forget’, but there's a whole generation that wasn't alive,” he says. “We found a lot of young people really don’t know a lot about September 11th. So there was an opportunity here to craft a series that was very compelling, and had these moral messages about the way people behaved. That really informs people about the scale of the horror, but also the scale of the humanity.”
Chief amongst the motivations for telling the stories of the survivors was to bring to light the acts of heroism, humanity and sacrifice that emerged from the terror of the attacks. “We had debates about how much of the horror can you show?” says Daniel Bogado. “For me it was important that we don’t sanitise it, that we do show the reality – that we have a responsibility to show the reality – but to couple that with stories of humanity and heroism.”
Bogado describes the message of hope as being a common thread in his documentary films, which often focus on a group of people who are oppressed, or some kind of injustice – and that in such circumstances, there will always ‘be people who are helping – people who are making a difference against extraordinary odds.’
 
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Lacey

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We have watched some of the series on tv special about 9/11, not all, but will get to it soon--I usually can only watch one or two episodes on tape per night. I had ordered and read about 10 books about that day about a year or so ago. But watching the tv special makes it seem more real than the books--every minute is just shocking. So Sad.

My oldest called me that morning when I lived in Philly and she Atlanta after the first building was hit. Together, we saw the second plane come in and then both buildings come down. After a while, we couldn't watch any more. She was newly pregnant with her first and we were worried she was crying so much on the phone with me that she might miscarry. It's the most incredible story of my life. Her first was born on March 25.
 

Lacey

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Now that it is actively the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I am having a very difficult day remembering, but I cannot imagine being a relative trying to watch this, those poor people. I have a high school friend who lost her daughter in one of the NY buildings. And there were just two young boys reading names, and at the end of one of their lists, the young boy acknowledged his THREE aunts, wow. My thoughts are really with the relatives.
 

sk9tingfan

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Saw the plane going into the second building from the window of my office. A friend, whose office building was directly across the West Side Highway saw bodies flying out the buildings. A staff member of mine almost lost a sister in law who decided minutes before the first building was hit to go out and pick up breakfast before a conference started. She was hit by debris and was unconscious for a week before she was identified as hospital staff could not find any identifying information on her person. That is some of what I remember.
 

annie720

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NPR has aired a lot of interviews this week and I've learned a lot. And DH and I will be watching the Come from Away performance on Apple+ later today.

My most profound memory was being at work in the DC area when it happened. It was at a large federal complex and as this evolved I felt we could be a target. A bunch of people were watching the initial coverage on our office's single TV located in our branch management area. When the second tower was struck, it took a minute for this all to sink in. Right after that, a banner started running across the bottom of the screen about the Pentagon, but that hadn't made the actual coverage yet. As soon as I saw that, I knew. I quietly but purposely walked around the corner to my desk, packed everything up, and left. I hurried down six flights of stairs and ran across multiple parking lots to my car. My fear was that so many people would be trying to leave at once that I would be trapped. It was a smart move and I was in a suburban area. I can't imagine what it was like for those in DC who had to rely on mass transportation to get home. Was it even running? I should remember. Our kids were at 3 different schools and the schools were saying they could stay for the entire day, or they could be picked up. It was up to the parents. My husband picked them up and I stopped by a Safeway before going home. I envisioned complete disaster and I wanted to have a stocked pantry. After everyone was in the house, I could relax. My elementary-school-aged daughter had two close friends who lost uncles - one a firefighter in NYC, and one at the Pentagon.

The next few weeks were nerve-wracking, just trying to get back to normal. Everyone was on edge. You would jump if you thought you heard the sound of a plane, because they weren't supposed to be flying. At Back to School night, a parent in the auditorium accidentally leaned against a light switch on the wall and turned off the lights. Total panic! For an entire year I wouldn't watch anything on TV but Animal Planet. I didn't want to hear news of any kind. It seemed like whenever I brought up the internet, stories about anthrax jumped out at me, so I had to stop that. Oh, and I threw away the clothes I was wearing that day. It was the first time I'd worn that outfit and I knew I couldn't wear it again.
 
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Judy

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I remembering being at work and one of the sr staff running up to tell us of the first plane. I tried to get on the internet but everything frozen .. then a mgr calling me and saying he was eating breakfast and then the second plane. The pentagon made me terrified and I was thinking are they going to hit us next. What is happening. I remember getting home and I watched tv for about 5 minutes and I couldn't handle it .. all those people looking for their loved ones.
 

Cachoo

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Between the US Open, football and 9/11 commemoration I am a couch potato today. My focus has been more on the National Geographic channel about the folks in the building who were a floor below impact and their ordeal. It kills me that about 1/3 of the people evacuating in the second tower after the first tower was hit heeded the announcement that it was safe to stay at work and went back up to their offices. And then the second plane hit. Also there was a special on the air traffic controllers in New Foundland going from seven flights average on one site to hundreds. I can only imagine the reaction when word came down that American airspace was closed. You’re WHAT??? I watched a bit about the info found at the compound when Bin Laden was finally found. Nothing surprising…
 

Judy

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Really appreciate all your experiences especially those that experienced and endured seeing things firsthand.

❤️
 

LadyM76

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I watched several documentaries about 09/11 with my 14 year old last night. It was like watching all the horror for the first time. They had never watched most of the video from that day, and said they had never learned much about it in school either. We both teared up multiple times and ended up holding hands while we tried not to cry.....such a sad day.
 

Moto Guzzi

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My sister was working in the Pentagon that day. She said she left a meeting at 9 that morning and was trying to decide whether to turn left and see a coworker about a travel fund issue or turn right to go back to her office. She turned right after deciding she'd call her coworker before going to see her. Back in her office, coworkers were gathered around a computer watching news about the plane crash at the World Trade Center. Minutes later, there was a report of a second plane crash.

They were trying to learn more when there was a loud boom and shaking. She said she thought at first it was a sonic boom or a bomb. They could hear an announcement on the PA system but it was garbled. They decided to lock up and evacuated. She said they could see dark smoke billowing down the hallway but didn't know what had happened..

Once outside, word spread through the crowd and then a warning came that a second plane might be approaching so they all evacuated further away. There were rumors of shooting in the metro and bombs in DC which turned out to be false. She said her cell phone wouldn't connect and eventually died. We didn't know for hours whether she had survived. She said a kind stranger offered her and others the use of his phone so she was finally able to call her son a few hours later. After a series of bus rides, subway, and walking, she arrived home late that afternoon.

She, her son, and I sat on the couch for hours watching the news coverage. Gradually, she learned of the deaths of 41 of her colleagues, including the woman she had planned to see. She said she's thought of them often through the years and still sees her friend's smile and thinks of the future that was taken from her. And she sometimes thinks of the "what-if" had she turned left that morning.
 

Simone411

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I was at work that day. My co-workers and I heard on the radio about the Twin Towers. Then the local radio station interrupted its usual broadcast to announce that President Bush had left Florida on Air Force One and was headed to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, La.

All of us were in shock because we couldn't believe it was announced on the radio regarding where President Bush would be. We were so afraid after the announcement because we knew the terrorists were still attacking and hijacking the planes. We were so worried that the terrorists might attack Barksdale Air Force Base since President Bush and Air Force One was there. It didn't make any sense to announce over the radio.

 
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Cachoo

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I watched "Sixty Minutes" last night and they did an excellent job in their coverage of what happened that day. I knew about Orio Palmer and his heroic efforts but last night there was more detail and also stories about others there that day.
 

sk8pics

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I remember I was home from work with a virus of some sort, running a fever, and I was lying on the couch dozing and watching TV. I’d fallen asleep and woke up to footage of the first tower smoldering and couldn’t figure out what was going on, surely it was a movie…. Two high school friends of mine lost family members.
 

MsZem

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This is really good:
There are things that matter more than sports, but that game and the Piazza home run helped a lot of people at a time when they really needed it.
 

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