Tears on 9/11

Michael Burstein, who grew up in New York, reports:

This morning, as I was taking the T to work, I was reading the New York Times. On pages A14-A15, they revisited some of the families who lost loved ones in the attacks, in the same "Portraits of Grief" style they used to eulogize the victims in the months afterwards. I found myself uncontrollably and spontaneously bursting into tears. I had to stop reading. ...

Lewis Forman reports from the Blue Line:

... This morning you could feel the silence in the train from Maverick Station. Most people reading today's papers about the events of 5 years ago. There was an eerie calm as people made their way out of the State St. Station into the cool of the morning. ...

More accounts:

Kimberly Atkins reports:

... This morning hundreds of people stood along Beacon Street outside the State House here as Gov. Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey led a ceremony honoring those who died, and lowering the flag in their honor. ...

Like Michael, I also grew up in New York. My father lives a mile from the World Trade Center; his office is two blocks away. I spent that morning alternating between the office conference room, where we had CNN on a large screen, and my desk, where, inbetween working on news stories related to the disaster, I kept dialling my father (and not getting through). A few hours later, he got through to me - he was fine, as was everybody else in his office (normally, he would have been at work by the time of the first attack, but he'd gone to vote first since it was primary day that day), but he was worried about me because somehow he'd become convinced that I was on one of the planes (I'd flown United to Los Angeles the month before).

I got home early. Every so often we'd hear the roar of a jet - I'd go outside to see a fighter flying overhead. Sense of shock - and what do we tell our daughter (then 3)? We decided not to tell her anything then; what good would it do to frighten her? But if you had kids then, what did you tell them?

Meredith O'Brien recounts breakfast this morning:

This morning as the kids were having breakfast and I was hurriedly making school lunches, the news on the radio chattered in the background. The phrase "9/11" was uttered almost incessantly.

"What's 9/11?" asked Casey, 5, who was but six weeks old on one of the darkest American days occurred. ...

Martin Lieberman writes:

... I watched the 9/11 documentary on CBS last night, and I don't remember how I felt watching it the first time it was broadcast in 2002, but last night it made me tear up and pause many times, as I felt like I was back on that day and I was living it again. So I thank these movies for existing and being as good as they are. ...

Sco remembers childhood visits to the World Trade Center:

... Some kids had pennants of their favorite baseball team in their rooms, I had a pennant of the World Trade Center. ...

I've been back to Manhattan dozens of times in the past five years, but I've never gone down to Ground Zero. I think it's because I want to preserve the place in my memory without seeing what it turned into. It's like remembering a friend for what he was like in life, and not what he was like on his deathbed. I suppose this post is my way of doing just that, an overdue requiem for the buildings I always felt a connection to.

Timmah was working in Washington that day:

... We then heard a plane was missing, but the thought was it was coming towards DC. We also heard the Mall was on fire, bombs were at the FBI building (one block from our office), State Department, the Metro, everywhere. Rumors were just flying around. We were trapped. We were soon told to move away from the offices with windows and move more inside the building. Then we saw the Towers start collapsing. It all didn't seem possible. How was this happening? ...

Jane had just finished some consulting for a company at the World Trade Center:

... I left the office sometime in the mid-afternoon along with most of my co-workers. By that time I had found out that most of the people I had worked with on my last New York project were likely dead. I did not know them well, they were my client and I was just a consultant brought in to work on a particular project. But still I had worked beside them and recognized their faces in the coming days when the news started showing the flyers family members had created looking for lost loved-ones. It was confirmed later that everyone at that company who was at their desks that morning died. ...

ChezNiki remembers trying to reach her mother on the phone:

... All the phones in Manhattan were dead. I left messages on my mother's phone in the Bronx. She didn't have her cell phone yet. Relatives started calling because they could not reach my mother. I had to tell them I didn't know where she was, that she works in the Bronx, but she has training in other parts of the City and may have had to take the subway under lower Manhattan and Id heard all train service was suspended ...

John Daley posts a pre-9/11 photo.

The Couch Potato is reminded daily of the attacks:

... Each day on my way home from work, I pass a small square in Dracut, Mass that is dedicated to Capt. John Ogonowski, the pilot of Flight 11. Most people are not aware that in addition to being a skilled and experienced pilot, he was also a farmer and supported sustainable agriculture. His farm is thriving under the care of his surviving family. It's a beautiful place with rolling fields and an old white farm house and his family's work is a fitting tribute to him. ...

Janet also sees constant reminders:

... Every time I walk outside and see a bright blue sky, with just the right amount of crisp coolness in the airI think of that day. Remember what a beautiful day it started out to be? I think of that day when I see fire engines, planes, skyscrapers, even large flakes of snow slowly falling from the sky. ...

John Palfrey flew from Boston to Montreal this morning and arrived on time:

... THANK YOU to the brave souls at every airline who got up this morning to make it so for me and for many others.

Rob Sama: Never forget.

Barry Freed remembers:

On September 10th, I was in L.A. flying back to Boston. I came back in the late afternoon, and decided I wasn't going to go to work the next morning. I was living in Mission Hill with roommates, on co-op at Northeastern. I woke up and turned on the TV and started watching the news coverage. At first, it seemed like an accident, and that’s how the news was reporting it. But after a while, when the second plane hit, you knew that something different was happening. ...

Beth remembers 9/11 and Katrina:

... The chief similarity between Katrina and 9/11 is the depth of the despair I felt, and still feel, when I contemplate what happened. I was 21 and just barely 25 years old when both of them happened--perhaps more so with 9/11, but to a very real extent both of these events slashed at my faith in humanity even as they created a new understanding of reality--just how brutal, just how merciless, just how impossible life can sometimes seem, and yet how even the most futile gestures of compassion can glow, radiate, like the miracles of a saint. ...

Chuck reminds us that at least one of the terrorists stayed at a Rte. 9 motel (since razed for an apartment complex):

... Five years ago on September 10th, my pregnant wife, myself and our two-year-old son went for a rare Monday night dinner out. After arguing about where to eat we ended up at Johnny's Luncheonette in Newton Centre. My wife remembers going to the Barnes and Noble on Route 9 that night, next-door to the motel. I don't remember that, but I do remember thinking later that it was certainly possible that the terrorist was sitting at the lunch counter while we dined, or even at the next booth. ...

Ben Ostrander was a BC student:

... I watched for another half hour or so and then made my way to O'Neill Plaza outside the library at Boston College where the school had quickly planned a prayer service. That's when I lost it. I stood in the back, just wanting to be part of the group there. There were thousands upon thousands of students, professors, and others standing there. Many people were in tears. That is when I realized the magnitude of what happened. ...

Hub Politics posts the list of Massachusetts victims.

The Outraged Liberal is, well, outraged:

... Are we safer now than five years ago? Dick Cheney, Don Rumseld and George Bush say so and we must either believe or be held out for scorn. Cheney's astoundingly arrogant and mean-spirited claim that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for being attacked may simply be the lowest of the myriad divisive messages spouted over the last five years on this side of the Global War on Terror. ...

Ed Deevy recounts an experience yesterday:

... At Shannon Airport yesterday morning I saw a couple of hundred U.S. soldiers hanging out in the airport lounge area. One soldier told me he was on the way home after spending one year in Iraq. Most of the soldiers looked like they were in their late teens. They were the lucky ones. I thought about all those who were brought home wounded or in coffins.

When I think back about all the patriotism and national unity after 9/11 I feel particularly saddened to realize how much this tragedy has been exploited for political purposes.

Sandouri Dean Bey writes:

... Five years ago, 19 fanatics used box cutters to hijack our airplanes and wreak havoc in our skies. Since that time, our government has used those events to hijack our country and wreak even greater havoc in the world. ...

Michael Femia will never forget a frozen George Bush:

... Maybe in his address to the nation, he'll tell us how the goat story ended.

Joe Dwinell is glad to hear the planes roar:

I took a stroll outside to see the jets heading into Boston below an almost full moon and thought, "That's how it should be."

We need to soar; we need to rise above the fear. ...

Betsy Devine writes:

... Think back there now--didn't you then wake up every morning, determined to go forward as a better person?

Those are a few things from that black time worth remembering.

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