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September 11, 2019

9/11

A high school student I know was given an assignment where he had to interview someone who was an adult during the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001.  His final questions to me were "What changes do you remember that took place across the country? Was there anything that was noticeably different to you?"  I mention your 2002 article in my response.  Just wanted to pass this along:

The terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 immediately led to the first and only instance where all of civil aviation was grounded for several days.  I believe all flights were grounded within three or four hours of the initial attack.  Incoming flights from overseas were diverted to Canada or elsewhere.  It was a travel nightmare for anyone trying to travel by air that week.

Many of us took the first opportunity we could to donate blood that week.  We were otherwise in shock over what had happened, and of course we followed the news about any hope of finding survivors amid the crumbled buildings.  Thankfully, and amazingly, some were rescued.

I recall that the popular late night talk show hosts were, like everyone, overwhelmed by what had happened.  People who make their living in comedy or entertainment were especially (and personally) challenged during that time.  Almost a year later humorist Dave Barry wrote this thoughtful reflection in reference to United flight 93, the plane that went down in Pennsylvania: On Hallowed Ground.  There are many other such tributes, which are greatly appreciated by those of us who experienced the event as it happened.

— Jim Kenaston

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I was one of the fortunate (?) few who had no personal connection to anyone involved in the 9/11 tragedy. But all these years later, reading this piece still brings tears to my ears. Thank you, Dave.

I've always thought this was one of Dave's best articles and it still brings tears to my eyes. My dad knew a couple of men at the Pentagon but that is the only connection I had to anyone involved in 9/11. The only thing that makes me feel just a tiny bit better about all of this is we eventually got the b@stard that masterminded the attacks.

I remember.
I remember what Jim K said above. I remember Dave's column 'Just for Being Americans' that opened, "No humor column today. I don't want to write it, and you don't want to read it." and feeling that he was able to articulate what we had experienced.

Found it: Americans

Yeah, nursecindy and I were just discussing how good Dave's piece was that day, one of his all-time best.

I remember that day vividly. I won't bore you with my story as it was peripheral to those personally more affected.

The high school thing reminds me. There was a story on the news about a high school in New Jersey that planted nearly 3,000 flags to commemorate all those killed that day. The teacher in charge made the point that none of the kids had been born when it happened, surely one more reason we need to remember it each year on this date, for as long as those of us who were here are still here to remember it.

MOTW: Thanks for the link to Dave's first article following 9/11. It's certainly a word of healing, even now.

Yes, Americans is a poignant read. I still seek it out and read it from time to time.

It's important to remember this. Thanks for posting the link.

I had just started a new pharmaceutical sales role on September 10th, 2001. I had a training conference call the morning of September 11th. Our trainer suddenly announced that we had to end the call and told us that we should turn on our t v.s or listen to a news radio station. We later learned that her husband was a Navy pilot and had texted her a code they had established if the U.S. was ever under attack. It meant he was being scrambled and would be incommunicado for as long as necessary.

The first day commercial airlines were flying again after the attacks, I had to fly into Newark Liberty Airport where United Flight 93 had departed from and later crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

I remember flying over the Hudson River and looking down where the Trade Center towers once stood and seeing the still smoldering debris.

Upon landing in New Jersey, everyone I spoke with, from airline personnel to taxi drivers and hotel workers talked about people they knew that were missing and unaccounted for. There were first responder support banners and American flags hanging from highway overpasses as we drove from the airport to our hotel.

Mayor Giuliani pronounced that New York City was still open for business and encouraged everyone to return to the stores, restaurants and theaters. Our training class ventured into New York a week after the attack. We went to Ground Zero and walked along the yellow police tape in silent awe as we looked at the devastation and crews still combing through the tangled beams and debris. Our eyes and lungs burned from the acrid smell and gray dust that still swirled with each gust of wind.

Every light pole, newspaper stand and shop window had posters of people that were missing. The closed stores had piles of dust that had seeped in and stood a foot deep in the display windows.

I walked through the firehouse closest to the Trade Center in Midtown where 15 firefighters were first responders and had died trying to save those trapped in the towers. Their pictures were on display with huge floral memorials surrounding them. The grief stricken expressions of their surviving battalion brothers on duty is still etched in my mind.

On this 18th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, may God bless all those that lost their lives and comfort their surviving family members and friends. Continue to support those surviving first responders and Ground Zero workers that are afflicted with illnesses related to their recovery efforts.

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