Remembering Twenty Years Ago #neverforget

Sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday. Other times it seems like a lifetime ago. Nonetheless, it’s hard to believe two decades have passed.

I’ll never forget the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. It was a clear, beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and a hint that fall was just around the corner. Life was busy in the Hall household. My youngest niece, who was more or less living with us at the time, was getting married that weekend. She had plans to go shopping for last-minute wedding details.

Both my husband and I went to work as did my brother. At the time, I was employed by a small branch of a medical equipment company that also had visiting nurses. That particular Tuesday, I was alone much of the morning—the nurses were out with patients, it was the office manager’s morning off, and the lab tech didn’t come in because she was sick.

Shortly before nine (Central time), the owner made his usual stop before going to the main office. Brian was always cheerful and upbeat, but this day he had a strange look on his face.

“I just heard on the radio a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers.”

My immediate thought was an accident involving a small plane. But Brian’s next words shocked me to the core.

“Another plane hit the other tower a few minutes earlier.”

Attribution: UA Flight 175 Hit WTC South Towner 9-11. Flickr user TheMachineStops (Robert J. Fisch)derivative work: upstateNYer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I knew then it was terrorists. Immediately, I turned on a radio just as a report came of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Fear gripped me. America was under attack. Where would these people strike next? Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles? Would I ever see my family again?

I immediately called my husband who had already heard the news. I phone my niece. Needless to say, she was scared. Since my brother taught at our local high school, I couldn’t disturb him during class time.

After my boss left, I took a small TV/VCR combo and put it in my office. I saw both towers fall. Knew when all planes were grounded. Watched the reports of Air Force One crisscrossing the country en route back to Washington. Heard news of the fourth plane crashing in Pennsylvania.

Not one single customer came into the office that day. Everyone stayed home likely glued to their television sets.

That night, my husband, brother, and I stood outside looking at the night skies. We are on a direct path for airline flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International. It was so strange not to see a single plane in the sky. “This has never happened in our lifetime,” my brother said.

Life went on. My niece’s wedding went as planned. America survived the attacks. There was a renewed sense of patriotism during those days.

Six years ago, I was able to visit the Pentagon Memorial. It was a very moving experience. My brother said the same thing when he visited ground zero in New York City.

September 11, 2001, is forever in the back of my mind. I’m reminded when I look at the clock and it just happens to be 9:11 in the morning or at night. When I think of our emergency response number. If I happen to check my word count to find I’ve written exactly 911 words.

Memories of that day are painful, especially for those who lost friends and family in the attacks. But the 2,977 innocent people who died deserve to be remembered.


38 thoughts on “Remembering Twenty Years Ago #neverforget

  1. It was such a beautiful blue-skied day here in the Boston area. And such a horrific devastating day. I was about to start teaching my creative writing class in a beautiful old library. Suddenly everyone gasped – the librarian had put on the TV in the conference room, and I remember thinking “a library should NEVER have a TV on.” There we stood – readers and writers, librarians and library patrons – watching a most devastating scene. We all went home and cried, called our family and friends, and mourned. WE MUST NEVER FORGET.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful tribute, Joan. I remember the horror of that day very well. My eldest son worked a few blocks from Ground Zero and I could not reach him. You can imagine my panic. A month later, I flew back to NY to see my son and his family. Smoke still clung to the area and no one was allowed near Ground Zero. The whole City was in shock, along with me. God Bless all who lost their lives and their loved ones, and may God help all of us during these difficult times. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine how you felt that day. The son of one of the nurses I worked with at the time had a friend who worked in the World Trade Center. Adam was unable to reach him. Sadly, the young man didn’t survive. Even twenty years later, the memories of that day still seem fresh.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Joan, for that moving tribute. I’ll always remember as well. The Producer and I were helping set up a charity fundraising event and of course, everything came to a standstill. We got the news as best we could and finally word came that the event was cancelled so we left the venue for home. It was hard to watch the news but necessary. I still pray for those who lost their lives then and since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories of that day, John. I read an article just today that many still suffer illnesses from the fallout, many of them rescue workers. There were a lot more victims than those who died that day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Judi, I think this was our generation’s “Pearl Harbor.” I can see why it doesn’t affect younger people who can’t remember much about it. I pray they never have to face something similar.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Incidents like this are branded in our memory forever. I was at work. Rick called me and told me to turn on the news. We had a small TV in our waiting room that normally played a loop about food stamps and Medicaid. We turned it on and gathered around in shock. So many lost their lives that day and I pray that we never forget that we can be attacked. I also pray that it never happens again! Thank you for sharing, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like most, I remember exactly where I was. My children were younger and the teachers kept them until they were picked up by my Dad. I worked at a small new paper and we had the news on and covered the story as best as could be at the time.

    My husband worked in emergency services, I didn’t see him for weeks. Even as our lives moved forward, I know that those who lost loved ones lives would be forever changed in that one moment.

    May they rest in peace. #NeverForget

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for that moving tribute, Joan. it brought tears to my eyes.
    Like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. Afterward, I remember just wanting to be inside for days, safe with my husband. I so needed to be with him. I pray we will never witness anything similar again. We will NEVER FORGET!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely tribute, Joan. My father, who worked his entire career at the Pentagon lost many friends that day. I too remember the exact moment when I learned the first plane had hit the tower. I watched the second plan strike. My parents were golfing at a course close to the Pentagon that day. My mother said to my father and their playing partners, “Look how low that plane is.” Then they heard the explosion. We must NEVER FORGET! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, Jill. I can only imagine how your parents felt when they saw the plane and heard the explosion. My husband had a classmate who worked near the Pentagon. He was in his office when the plane hit.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      Liked by 1 person

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