Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Next Generation Remembers 9/11

Today our sons were among a group of scouts who planted flags in honor of the victims of 9/11. Even after we explained the reason for this memorial, I doubt our sons truly understood why they were there. After the flags were planted, they couldn't wait to untuck their shirts and play in the dirt.

Maybe it's impossible to comprehend something horrible unless you were there, or witnessed the events unfold on television. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and 9/11--if you were around when these events happened, it's likely you remember exactly where you were when you first heard the news.

On September 11, 2001 I was home with our three sons. The boys who planted flags today were only 19 months old and our oldest was 4. My husband, a firefighter, called from his Los Angeles fire station and told me the shocking news. I'll never forget it.

Do you remember where you were when you first learned about the attack? And did you know any of the victims? Please share your story.


  1. I was a sophomore in high school just sitting down to my second class of the day, Spanish. My school's president came on the intercom and at first I thought it was a terrible accident, but then he mentioned the second plane and I knew it was a horrific attack. I distinctly remember my Spanish teacher gasping in shock. We were let out of school by 11am and I watched the television news all day. I didn't even change out of my school uniform. It was a weird, scary, and sad day.

    It's odd to think kids will ask me where I was on 9/11 just like I used to ask my parents and aunts and uncles where they were when they heard Kennedy was assassinated.

  2. I was in middle school then, watching it on the news in my maths class. It was bewildering, and so, so terrifying. It feels as though it happened only yesterday, but yes, my little sister, even brother, probably won't remember it.

  3. I was in the shower getting ready to have a great day. After all, September 11 is my birthday. My mother-in-law called and told us to turn on the tv because something was going on. We thought it was a horrible accident and then the 2nd plane hit and we knew something horrible was unfolding. A lot of people thought I had a horrible b-day. In a small way I guess I did. Overall though, I felt blessed to be alive and to know all my loved ones were ok. My heart still breaks every time I think of those that lost their lives on that Sept 11th. God bless their soul and those that will always miss them.

  4. I was just bumming around on a day off when the news bulletin came on tv. At first I was just shocked, then I stayed by the phone in case I was called in to work. While I live nowhere near NYC, at the time I worked in aviation and figured the airspace would be closed right quick (they had enough staff though). Don't think I'll ever forget sitting by the phone, watching the news, in tears for all those who were lost and injured and left behind, all day.

  5. Thank you for your post, Julie.

    We had just moved to China and were still settling in. A new friend I worked with called our apartment and told me about what had happened, but I barely believed him. I know I didn't experience all this as closely as Americans who were in America. We didn't have internet in our apartment yet, or any kind of cable TV, so all we heard were rumors. It felt surreal, but I didn't watch actual footage until I returned to the States more than a year later. That's when it hit me how much this event had rocked the American collective psyche ... and for good reason. RIP brave men and women, victims of 9-11.


  6. I was actually attending a funeral that morning and then I went home to change to go to work. My sister-in-law called and told me to turn on the news. I sat on the couch dumbfounded. The second plane had just hit. I still get (have) goose-bumps thinking about that day.

    I remembered thinking this was the end of the world. Truly. If they could hit New York, who's to say my little corner of the world wouldn't be next.

    Let us pray it never happens again. Anywhere.

  7. I was a single career girl, and I remember us all standing in the newsroom watching the live broadcast on the Today show. A friend's sister worked in one of the towers and several other friends worked in NYC skyscrapers. My husband was in Chicago, which was also shut down. I remember frantically calling everyone's cells, but the lines were all jammed. Finally we started getting emails that everone was OK. Then a few days later, the longer emails describing what it was like to walk home with ash floating in the air all around you... no one spoke. I wept for my friends--for all of us. It was a tough time. And it is important to remember...

    Thanks, Julie~ :o\

  8. Julie, I think you're right about remembering an event. The teens and young adults probably can't remember that day.

    I was working at a major corporation and when I arrived, I noticed everyone was looking at the TV monitors in the lobby and whispering.

    There was a television studio in the basement that few people knew about so me and a few co-workers went down there. I remember watching the whole thing unravel while on the phone with my best friend. I couldn't eat for days afterward.

  9. I believe I was in school when it happened. Everybody was scared and crying and they were keeping us in the school. People were trying to use their phones but they weren't working.

    Happy writing,

  10. Someone on staff had heard somehow and we were told at recess - we kept the TV on in the staffroom all day. When kids heard at lunch we dicussed it in the afternoon - carefully. I don't think I'll ever forget that day.

  11. Thank you for posting this! I, too, worry that as the memory recedes, so too does the importance of the event.

    I lived in the D.C. area at the time. I was at my office, a mile away from Dulles airport. I watched as all the planes were being grounded, escorted by Cessna planes. I picked my father-in-law up at the metro station at Falls Church (he worked in downtown D.C., and watched people emerging from the station ashy and bloody, having come from the Pentagon).

    One of my best friends saw the second plane hit the South Tower (she worked in an adjacent building). She was one of the masses running from the rubble when the first tower fell down. One of her colleagues perished in the same rubble.

    My niece and nephew were in a preschool a mile away from the Pentagon. I didn't find out until many hours later that they were both okay.

    We lived, at the time, only a few miles from the CIA building in McLean, VA, so we lived for months with the sound of fighter jets flying over and around our house. I woke many mornings with dreams of burning buildings and the taste of ashes in my mouth.

    All that, and I didn't even lose any loved ones in the tragedy. It was a horrible, horrible day in history. I, too, struggle with how to teach my children. My kids are younger than yours - neither were born at the time. To them, it will just be history. Yet hopefully not forgotten.

  12. I was at work, when the first plane hit the tower, and we all rushed to the TV, because it sounded so weird. And we witnessed the second attack on on TV.
    Though I've lived and worked in India all my life, my entire career had been in finance, so all of us knew people who might well have been in the WTC when the planes struck. None were, but for many weeks after that, I walked with my eyes scanning the sky for stray planes with malicious intent.

    Thanks for the timely post.

  13. I was at home and saw it on television. I didn't know anyone personally, but I could imagine. And respect the bravery of the heros.

  14. I do remember, but the more impressive story and a must read is Meg Cabot's blogpost about it. If you aren't in hysterics while you read it, something is wrong.

  15. I was running a delivery for work that morning and the news came on the radio. I'll never forget the feeling of shock and sadness that hit me that day and the weeks that followed.

    Thank you for this post. ♥

  16. Where we were is something I think none of us older people will ever forget. I was in my major professor's lab, working. He came running in to tell me the news. We turned on the TV, disbelieving. I think it took several days before I could process the reality of it all. What a sad day! Still is.

    Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  17. I was at work with Habitat for Humanity. All the staff in our regional office were preparing to head out later in the week for the annual Jimmy Carter workcamp. Instead we spent all morning watching the horrifying news.

    I'll never forget when my boss called me aside and suggested that even if the others still went to the JC workcamp, he didn't think I should go. When I asked why, he said, because your husband is from Turkey, he's a Muslim, and there might be a backlash.

    There was. My husband reported that everyone in our small community went out of their way to be especially nice to him and make sure that he was NOT treated badly in the days that followed.