Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

I can't believe it has been 10 years since 9/11. My heart still sinks when I see the footage of that terrible day. My heart goes out to each and every one of the victim's families who were affected by the tragedy.

I will never forget where I was when I heard that a plane had hit the first tower. Sam and I were driving into work and heard it on the radio. The minute I got into work, I went down to the conference room where people were gathering and we watched footage all day as the tragedy unfolded. In the days after, I was glued to the tv, sobbing as the stories were told of the people who died and the many heroes that were born that day.

I was especially touched by the story of Todd Beamer, who was a passenger on United Airlines flight 93. He tried to call his wife Lisa to say goodbye and was redirected to an operator. He asked the operator to call his wife and children and tell them that he loved them. Then he said "Let's Roll" and he and three other men stormed the cockpit and attacked the terrorists. The plane went down in a remote field rather than it's intended target. A few months later, his wife had a baby girl. Todd Beamer is a true hero.

Alan Jackson wrote a really amazing song in the days following 9/11. This video is set to that song, though it is not him singing.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?


Elizabeth said...

I tried to write a bit about the Aussie perspective on my blog.
I agree the images are still as haunting 10 years on.
We woke up to media reporting of the attack and I was really upset because I couldn't get hold of my little brother in Canada.
Great post and song.

Greg said...

Thanks for such a poignant, personal post about this tragic event.

I appreciated reading about your memories of that day. Everyone says that our nation will Never Forget 9/11. After 10 years, I wonder if sometimes we do forget. But we shouldn't.

9/11/01 was our generation's equivalent of the day that JFK was shot. I wasn't alive when that happened, but I bet that none of our parents have forgotten where they were and what they were doing when they first heard that President Kennedy had been shot even though it was nearly 50 years ago now.

When I first heard about the twin towers falling, I was on the top floor of the tallest building in Philadelphia in a meeting that was taking place on my second day of my professional career.

I couldn't help but wonder if Philadelphia was also a target and whether my wife, who had spent the day before touring Philadephia's historic spots (the Liberty Bell, the U.S. Mint, etc.) was safe or not.

I remember watching the footage with her throughout rest of the day and also being overwhelmed thinking about the brave firefighters who were rushing up the stairs to save lives at the same time that the buildings fell down around them.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we came together as a nation and were grateful for the outpouring of support from countries and people around the world. The song you posted really captures the spirit of love for our fellow man that we experienced. I hope we never forget what that felt like.

brooke said...

Greg, thanks for leaving such a heartfelt comment. I hope I never forget the way I felt in the aftermath of 9/11 and I know I will never forget all the brave firefighters who gave their lives for their fellow men.

Linde said...

I remember the Tuesday morning. We had jus finished faculty meeting and the teachers had left to head to class. One of my teachers was at the back of the room looking at her lap top. She then told me that a plane had hit the first tower. Didn't know what it really meant at that moment, but later in the day we saw it unfold. The day, in general, was pretty "normal" in that we did not have the TVs on with the kids and kept to the usual routine.

I also feel so badly for people who lost loved sad!

One positive is that it brought the country "back together" even if for just a little while.

Sam said...

Last night I watched a History Channel special, "102 Minutes That Changed America," which tracked September 11th in NYC using actual footage. It was chilling to see the panic and horror as the morning unfolded, especially when the South Tower fell.

One of the most horrifying aspects of the World Trade Center attacks was how people on the upper floors were trapped and were hanging out their windows desperate for air/rescue. And some chose to jump rather than deal with the fire.

Terrible stuff.

Liz said...

Even though it's been 10 years, it honestly still hurts like it was yesterday. Can't imagine what those families are still feeling.

I was just home with a baby Parker...he had had his first ear infection and I had been up most the night. I just remember freaking out and trying to get a hold of Mark since he had many clients in the WTC. It's weird that you can remember so much of what you thought or said to people that day.

Linda said...

It's been hard to see all the 10-year anniversary coverage - brings back all the pain and sadness and anger. I watched the video & cryed. We were at Ground Zero for the 1st anniversary. I want to go back again and see it now.

Em said...

You know, with everything going on in my life this year I have been avoiding 9/11 coverage, tributes, etc. like the plague. But it doesn't mean that I don't care or have forgotten what happened that day.

I think what's most profound is how the country and especially the city of NY still feels the loss so acutely. When I lived there about 5 yrs ago, one of my bosses got choked up telling me how, from her apartment downtown, she watched people jump. It's not something that can be described when walking around Ground Zero, hearing such a personal story told, or remembering personal experiences from that day.

Thanks for the touching post.

Linda said...

I know how to spell "cried."

Lauri said...

I put this post on my facebook..but wanted to add it to your blog. "I won't ever forget 10 years ago today. I was getting my girls ready for school, turned the news on and saw what was happening in New York. Shortly after turning the tv on, I got a call from Tom, who was in the cockpit of a 737, ready to take off. He had received a call over the radio that the flight was canceled, due to a emergency. He knew something was wrong and called me from the cockpit and asked what was going on. I had to tell him about the Twin Towers and what had happened. I received numerous phone calls from family and friends calling to check in on Tom, to see where he was and if he was safe. Thank goodness he was. I will NEVER forget. I hope each and every one of you won't either."

Stephanie said...
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Stephanie said...

I will never forget that day either--it was the day of my daughter's 5th birthday.

Okay, I don't want to take away from the importance of September 11th, but I want to tell you an experience I had.

The night before, as I was doing some last minute errands to prepare for her Princess party I was rear-ended at a stop-light by some lady who had obviously been drinking or something...and then she drove off. I was shaken up and got her license plate # and watched her swerve on and off the road as she drove away. So, after doing a police report, I bought the party stuff I needed and could barely hold stuff in my shakey hands...I got home determined to make and decorate the birthday cake for my daughter's party as my body began to painfully stiffen up. With the help of ibuprofen I finished the cake and other preparations at 6am and finally went to bed. Steve woke me up around 7:30 am and turned on the tv and told me I had to see this. I opened my eyes and that was the end of my sleep. Miserable day. So, on top of everything, the big question that morning was would my daughter even have anyone come to her birthday party that day. It didn't seem like a day to celebrate--everything just seemed so insignificant compared to what happened that day, but we decided to still try to go on with the party since a 5 year-old wouldn't understand. Surprisingly, only a few kids were kept home to be with their family. The party was as good as could be expected. Actually, with all the chaos, the party was therapeutic.

That was back in the days when I would stay up all night, if necessary, to get things done--I guess I don't care enough about anything more than sleep anymore, that is the last thing I'd want to sacrifice.

A few of the lessons I learned that day: remember what's most important, sometimes we put too much time into things we think are important but aren't; People may be more important than parties but parties are more important to children; There are few greater joys than making your child smile, it can brighten even your toughest day; We never know how many tomorrows we have left, use them wisely, and make sure those you love know it!