Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th

I lived in a 3 floor 13 room queen Anne Victorian duplex and the men who boarded the plane from Boston and rammed it into the first tower slept not even a mile from my house the night before.

I turned on my television and saw that plane crash into the first tower. I called my daughter Jessica at work. "Jess, something terrible just happened." I didn't know when I said that that another plane would crash into the second tower minutes later.

"I know Mom. They're calling us to the lobby to tell us what's happening. Seven of our people are on that plane to Los Angeles. They're going to tell us who."

I followed those seven people for days and weeks and months. I followed how many children they had, the messages they left their families from their cell phones, their parents trying to describe the pain. Most were barely 30 years old, except for their supervisor named Sue and later I wrote a short story about her.

There are few people in all of America and in the world who don't remember the details of the morning those planes crashed into the towers, and the U.S. pentagon and a fourth in a Pennsylvania field.

But for me living in Boston, so many Bostonians were on the first plane that crashed and disintegrated into grey matter, for me it was incredibly close to home.

This means my hairdresser lost her friend and her friend's two year old daughter and when I looked at their photos at the counter I already knew their names.

The owner of the north end shop where I was browsing started crying, talking about her best friend, and I cried with her.

I wonder if my daughter thinks it could have been her, with a slightly different decision here or there, it could have been her.

This means I know the ins and outs of the airport area these guys boarded.

This means I had muslim clients who feared for the safety of their children.

That just about everyone I know knew someone who was killed.

This means that I could not forget no matter how hard I may ever try.

All week I've found myself choking up and starting to cry at some mention on the radio or from a photograph or from someone's memory.

This means I pray for peace deeper and harder than ever.

For god sake's: that morning was horrific. Unimaginable.

What few in all the world could not grieve the loss of a child, parent, spouse, cousin, friend, neighbor, into thin air? Eye to eye, not from a faceless distance, who would see it otherwise?

9-11 is about the value of human life and the humanly wretched depths of love and hate. I know where I stand.

Thank god I know where I stand.




  1. 'Out of life's school of war: what does not destroy me, makes me stronger'. Yes, too, have done a lot of heavy thought this week, sticking to watching PBS specials of how those of us left behind struggle and survive. I thought it interesting that one person said, since 9/11...we survive.

  2. teri, my heart follows you. you are a model of how to bear grief and somehow hold on to all that is precious. mike is no doubt proud as hell of you. ♥

  3. kj, thank you for sharing your very personal story. i feel like i want to, HAVE to, hear everyones. even though my heart breaks with every word and image. i don't think i'll ever get over the shock and horror and deep deep sorrow.

    but then the love thats risen out of this, that probably makes me cry more. so much love.

  4. Thankyou for sharing such personal thoughts. I've written about 9/11 as experienced from across the ocean, but cannot add the same heartfelt touch. Mine are only words, not experiences. I will never forget.

  5. Beautiful post KJ on such a sad subject!
    I didn't lose anyone I know I just lost a little piece of myself.
    Today I will think of all effected by this tragedy. And hope everyone will be safe. Let us remember and I hope love and reason will prevail. This hasn't solved anything , just made certain gaps bigger.
    Innocent people became victims and the whole world got involved.
    I hope people will see that you can achieve more by putting hands and hearts together.

    May you all be safe♥

  6. While reading this the tears come from my eyes sad and WHY???
    Thinking today about all the people who lost someone for nothing,praying for Peace...

  7. Goosebumps.

    I'm reading your post, then turning off the computer to have three hours sleep before getting up to watch the live broadcast of the memorial.

    . . . just about everyone I know knew someone who was killed. That sentence stunned me, kj. I have never read any account by someone who was in Boston at that time, had never thought about those cities of flight origination in quite this way. Thank you. Bless you. Bless us one and all.

  8. This day we will always remember! During daytime we never look at the television but that day, it was in the afternoon here, I just for a moment put on the television to look at the textpage because I wanted to see the weatherforecast. At that moment the second plane was flying in..... I remember I was thinking to myself: What a dreadful hell of a miserable film is this.... and then realised with a shock it was for real. After that the phone kept ringing. All kind of people were calling to tell us what has happened. Here in the Netherlands we were all devestated too and looked helplessly to what had happened. We were and are still very sorry for the people of the USA and in particular for the people who lost love ones or were badly injured. It still is unbelievable!

  9. I lost more than I realized that day. Driving back from Chicago where I had flown that morning was an exercise in determination for me - fear driving me to go go go. I haven't left home since without thinking of that day and planning for a crisis. I know people who went to 30 or 40 memorial services. And I ask myself over and over why I decided to take a non-direct flight to California that day. Was it luck or fate?
    I'm actually not watching TV these days - I can't look at the images without crying. So many people were affected and continue to be affected that it is overwhelming. For the first time in my life I celebrated the death of a person when Osama was killed. " GOOD" I thought and was then ashamed that I could think that way. But I was satisfied that he was killed and I hope he had a moment of fear before dying.
    I'll be glad when this day is over and we can stop seeing the images again and again. But despite my desire to put my head in the sand - there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of 9-11. I don't think I can ever forget it.

  10. Bri was so close to being on one of those planes. It was hard for me at first not to keep dreaming that he WAS on one. When he got to the airport on one of the flights before the first fateful plane, he wasn't allowed to leave. He was supposed to get to the newsroom to write about it and here he was trapped because of it.
    I was at home pacing, glued to the horrific images and I couldn't wrap my head around it.

    I don't think any of us will ever be the same, and I don't think any person in the world will forget that event. It has changed us all.

    World peace seems so far away, yet I know more of us strive for it than not.
    I hope it can be attained in my lifetime. I don't think it's too much to ask, but then again I'm an optimist.

    Blessings to all of the victims, wherever they are, and to their families who have to live with their losses.


  11. So sorry you had so many friends and acquaintances who had loved ones who died, KJ.

    It is good that we remember, memorialize the deaths, the shocks. Grief continues, it is not a process that once gone through, ends.

    Peace be with you and all living creatures. Love, Suki

    ho- my WV word is nesting. Let us nest together, create nests together of love and understanding and remembrance.

  12. Thank you Karen, that is a beautiful post; sad but hopeful. Love is the answer. Love is the only way to heal.

  13. Your knowledge of the people, and their circumstances, I'm sure made the situation all the more difficult for you. But telling their stories makes the whole sad event more real.

    This Canadian friend stands with you in this difficult time.

  14. I'm glad you shared this, KJ. The event seemed only too remote from my life. I was sorry that it happened, and I was touched by many of the stories I heard, but there was still the sense of it being something that happened to strangers far away.

  15. Oh, so understood here, dear friend... it won't ever go away...but remembering and honouring everyone who died and who came to help is healing.

    No matter what we were all doing then - and now - our hearts remain together strong.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  16. I was on restriction on watching the news, and I turned on the tv right after the first building. I watched the rest of the day.
    I will never forget that.
    Bless them all for changing the world. They did not give their lives in vain, we are here to make sure of that.

  17. we were living and working in Kuwait, and my son rang and said 'switch on the tv quick'. those images are burned in my mind forever, and nobody in the whole world will ever forget that day. cruelty and insanity are the two words that come to mind!

  18. My darlin girl, I weep as I say it so fragile this life love is all that all encompassing love...a love that feels others pain...I wrap my arms around you...

  19. I too easily relate to your post, having gone through many of the same things In the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy. The fears, unknowns, the near panic of locating family and friends. It all comes back each April 19th., just as it does each Sept.11th.
    And each time, I thank God for those that were spared in each instance and pray for those with major losses.
    Like Marianne said, I think we all lost little pieces of ourselves.
    But yes, the banding together, the love,,,it's what we have,what we do, and who we are.
    God Bless America!