Remembering September 11th

9/11 September 11th World Trade Center Lights Memorial

It is interesting how sometimes I cannot remember what I was doing just an hour ago, but I can remember the morning of September 11, 2001 like I had a log of it somewhere in my head.

For weeks, I had abandoned listening to the radio, opting for some mix cd’s instead. But that morning, something told me to eject the CD and listen to the radio. The dj was describing what had happened in New York. Both buildings had been hit. I thought they were reading an excerpt from a novel or describing a scene from a movie. When I got to work, no one was working. There was a little tv set up, and everyone was huddled around it. I could not believe what I saw. It was surreal.

Even now, recalling the feelings, it is hard to describe. It was not all just about myself, fearing the threat of terrorism or what could possibly come next. It was about seeing the faces of those people on the ground, the ones who barely got out of the area alive. Imagining the fear of what it would be like to be there, near Ground Zero. The thoughts that were running through the minds of those people on the planes. What it would be like to be in the upper floors of one of the towers, with no other option but to jump. The terror of knowing that a spouse, family member or friend was working in or around those buildings at the time, and not knowing whether they made it. The anxiety of knowing a fireman, rescue worker, or policeman and wondering if they would make it out alright once they went in to help all those they could.

While all the major news networks got to the point of repeating the same video over and over, and objectively analyzing the situation from every angle, I wanted insight on what it felt like to really be there, living through it. So I turned to blogs from people living in New York. A comment on one of those blogs led me to getting interviewed by the LA Times in an article “Personal Web Logs Put a Face on a Faraway Disaster“:

Kristi Johnson, a 22-year-old Web designer, checked, along with CNN, and her local newspaper and radio stations in Phoenix. Blogs whisked her into the whirlwind of events. “The Web logs just supplied details that the media didn’t have time really to broadcast,” Johnson said in an e-mail interview.

“Long journalizations about how it felt to wake up, hear what was going on, give their feelings about knowing that a huge chunk of what they saw on a daily basis all their lives was destroyed. The media pictures were like scenes from a horrible war movie; the Web logs were like your best friend, sitting down and telling you what they saw firsthand.”

For me, what mattered most was the people directly affected. Victims, and the family and friends of those victims. Today, we should remember those people – not the conspiracies, propaganda, politics, etc., but the people – and keep all of them in our thoughts.

Blog Remembrances:
(I’ll be updating this throughout the day. If you have or know of a good site, please add it to the comments.)


  1. says

    I remember that morning too. But more clearly, I remembre a phone call I got a few days later. It was the husband of a client. I was a florist and had done the flowers for their wedding and their baby shower. He was asking me to do the flowers for his wife’s funeral. She was on the plane that hit the second tower.

    It had been a horrible few days – but that phone call knocked the wind out of me. I remember driving to their home and placing memorial arrangements around an empty urn while their daughter sat on her grandmothers lap laughing.

    I often wonder how they are now, so many years later.

  2. says

    I too will never forget walking in to see the morning news that day, and thinking it was an odd time to be screening some kind of contemporary horror movie. That’s all I thought it could be. I was still realising what was happening when I saw the second plane crash, and even thinking of that now, I feel it in my stomach.

  3. says

    @Melissa – That is so sad. That day affected many people across the country, and even across the globe, directly and indirectly.

    @Matt – I still feel a bit anxious when I see photos or videos. I don’t think anyone will forget the mix of emotions they had that day.

  4. says

    I was in the 10th grade when it happened, i was in my morning class when the teacher abruptly turned on the news, what i saw changed my life forever. I joined the army back in 2003, and your quote at the end of this post says it all, Freedom is not Free, which is exactly what i am fighting for, 7 years later!

  5. says

    Im still trying to recover mentally from it. reading all the memorials for the past few days has been tough. i still dont know how to explain it to my kids.