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Ground Zero, 9/11, September 11th, Remembering, #neverForget

Last night, I watched as social media became heated and divided over September 11th. These are just a few of the slurs I saw hurled at people.

“Do you live in fear? Do you send your children to school? Do you keep them home? You are stupid if you keep them home. If you keep them home, THEY win. If you send them and they die, at least they lived without fear. We can’t let THEM terrorize us. “


But I think that ship sailed on September 11th. We have been irrevocably damaged. Maybe we are not broken, but we are not the same. I stayed quiet because I reflect every year on these very thoughts but I do keep my girls home, but not for the reason you might think. This is my secret. I don’t usually talk about it and when I call the school, I make up some excuse of coughing and slight fevers but this year, I just told them that my girls weren’t coming in because September 11th is a day in our household of remembrance and mourning. It’s the truth. Why should I be embarrassed about it?

Today is September 11th and I find myself at the same spot I have every year since that day 13 years ago.  I don’t live my life in fear but I don’t send my girls to school on September 11th either. I never have and I probably never will. No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I am not crazy. Keeping them home was not born out of some irrational fear that something terrible was going to happen on September 11th. It has come from a place of reverence.

What I am is a woman who was 28 years old on September 11th, 2001. I was just starting my life as a wife, living in Greensboro, North Carolina. My husband was in Pennsylvania traveling for work and I was walking into my office at the small publishing house where I edited. I walked into work just before 9 a.m. in time to see the first plane hit the tower. I was shocked; all the air was sucked out of me. We sat in silence and then my first reaction was to call my husband. I desperately needed to hear his voice. I couldn’t reach him. The phones were down. I never felt so alone in my entire life. The not knowing if he was safe, a sentiment that blanked the entire country, held me in its grip and my heart was heavy, so heavy I felt as if I was choking on the very air I was trying to breathe. A nation full of people sharing a single event and I felt completely alone in my grief, my pain and my fear. I know that I wasn’t but pain is personal. Like everyone else in the United States, I was changed that day forever. I am not the same person I was before that day. I know there have been mass losses before in history and have been more since, but none that have affected me so personally, none that I have been a first person witness.

Every year, I keep my children home from school as my way of stopping the world and remembering. It’s my moment of silence. It lasts 24 hours. Believe me, I never forget. I carry it with me every single day, as I do all the big moments of my life; the hard losses. But on September 11th, I stop in reverence and give myself over in silence and stillness. It is my very small way of paying homage to those men and women who died on that day. It is my way of showing respect to those people who loved them and were left behind to feel the pain for a lifetime. It is a small gesture and in the grand scheme of life insignificant but it is something I need to do. Last year, I explained what today was about to my girls. They know. They pray today for those children who lost their mothers and fathers on that day. They give thanks for those who survived. This is why my girls are home with me today.

I don’t know where the world is headed but I know there is a lot of terrible things going on right now. I can’t turn on the television without seeing someone being shot dead, hacked with a machete or innocents being beheaded. It’s overwhelming the amount of bad things happening right now and worse, what the Internet has made possible to see. Today, we remember all those who were lost to violence and terrorism, pray for those who have to survive the loss, pray for those who are still being victimized  by those with hatred in their hearts and do our part to be channels of peace in this world we live in.

Be good to one another every day. Be kind and be reverent today. Pause and be thankful.

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September 11th ~ Vulnerable. Like an open wound, that is how I would describe how I felt when I woke up this morning. There are instances in life that are so shocking, so painful and profound that you are stunned that they are actually even taking place. These are the events that your brain may willfully try to forget but you cannot because those same events are imprinted on your heart forever. We all have these moments. September 11, 2001 is one of those days. It is a day I will never forget.

I don’t want to write too much about September 11th this morning because I’ve written about it before. I just want to share with you this morning. This morning, I woke up and immediately remembered what day it was. Then I remembered what I was doing that beautiful day in September 12 years ago.

My husband was in Pennsylvania traveling for work and I was walking into my office at the small publishing house where I edited in North Carolina. I was 28 years old at 8:46 when I walked into work just in time to see the first plane hit the tower. I was stunned. All the air was sucked out of me. We sat in silence and then my first reaction was to call my husband. I desperately needed to hear his voice. I couldn’t reach him. The phones were down. I never felt so alone in my entire life. A nation full of people sharing a single event and I felt completely alone in my grief, my pain and my fear. I know that I wasn’t but pain is personal.


Today, 12 years later, I have everything. I have the Big Guy and we have been blessed with our two daughters. We have our health and are surrounded by love. Life has moved on in many ways for many people. We all fly again and we are learning to trust again. Our hearts are still heavy and cracked but no longer busted wide open. Only, maybe they are.  12 years later, I woke up on another gorgeous day in September and all it took was to hear sirens blaring past my neighborhood to send me into a full panic. My heart demanded that I not send the kids to school and I listened.

You see, though my brain has learned to deal with the pain of September 11th, my heart is still fundamentally broken and it is still haunted by the grief that was there not so long ago. My heart would not allow my girls to leave my arms today. It felt like the right thing to do if not the logical one. I feel like we need to spend the day remembering those who were taken from us on that day, mourning their deaths, celebrating their lives and marking that moment in time. I think we need to stop and feel the full weight of our loss. This is how I process.

I explained to my girls why I was keeping them home and what today was. They are 6 and 8. They’ve learned about September 11th in school but it’s not real to them; not the way it is real to all of us who witnessed that awful, horrible, heartbreaking day. They weren’t there that day when the entire world stood still and held its breath as terrorists put a gun to our united head. It was time. I showed them the video footage of the planes hitting the towers. We had a discussion. They now understand. There is reverence in our home today. We are happy to be alive. Blessed to be together and just a little nicer to one another.

You will not see me on social media today because I can not read the stories. My heart is too heavy with sadness from the stories of the past 12 years, instead  I will be holding my children in my arms and thanking God that I am able to do so. Hug your children. Tell the people you love that they matter. Commit a random act of kindness.

Today, I kept my children home with me because I can. Some mothers were left childless on September 11th  2001 and for them, today I am silent. For them, I pray. For all the souls taken too soon, I will live completely, love fully and never take a single day for granted to honor their memory. I will never forget.


Please share your stories in the comments.

What were you doing on that morning of September 11th?

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September 11, 2001, New York, United States of America, Bin Laden,

I resolved not to write about September 11, 2001, that fateful day. I didn’t feel that I needed to be reminded of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 because, in all reality, I have never forgotten them. I never will. I see it every day in the eyes of my husband and the sweet faces of my daughters.

September 11, 2001 is the day that the world stood still for all of the collective United States.

We held our breath and helplessly watched as our lives were tragically changed forever. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of

Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of emotions that overwhelmed me in that exact moment in time will be with me always. It can’t be forgotten. I can still feel the sickness in the pit of stomach eating at my soul, as I type this.


No, I wasn’t going to write about September 11, 2001 but I am thankful for my husband that I was afraid I might have lost that morning, my daughters who have been born since that day, for my friends in New York who made it through that day with their lives and survived the devastation that losing their friends, family members and loved ones brought in those following days.

I am commemorating those unsuspecting people who lost their lives, the heroes who at the cost of their own lives kept going into the collapsing buildings to save others and those of us who have chosen not to be victims of that day but who joined together as a nation to overcome the heinous crimes inflicted upon us by a group of cowardice monsters.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of those families who lost someone that day and for the rest of us who survived it and must live with the pain and loss that September 11, 2001, has left in its wake. This is my story, we all have one.

September 11, 2001 they ran in when everyone else ran out

I can very clearly remember the bright blue morning sky of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. We were living in North Carolina, it was 2 weeks before my 29th birthday. We had only recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. My husband was away on business in Pennsylvania.

Per usual, I went to work, at a small publishing house, and the moment I walked in the door my editor silently motioned me over to the television to see what was happening. There we stood paralyzed, watching in shock and horror at the footage being shown on the television… of what was happening. Could this be real?

It couldn’t be real. It looked like some horrible action movie but it was live TV. It was the footage of flight 11 hitting the first tower. I remember my heart falling to the floor as I realized my husband was away from me on business. I couldn’t make sense of it. It was all happening so fast. We were being attacked on our own soil.

My husband, the other half to my whole, was in Pennsylvania, much too close to where everything was taking place. I tried to call him but all the phone lines to the east coast were jammed from terrified loved ones trying to reach their families in New York.

I distinctly remember the newscaster making the announcement and showing the footage of the south tower being hit by flight 175, as I was still trying to absorb the north tower being hit. Seeing the dark billowy puffs of smoke escaping from the rubble and the heartbreak of seeing the frightened and desperate people jump from the building, it was all I could do not to start driving in the general direction of where my husband was. All I wanted to do was hear my husband’s voice. I needed to know he was safe.

I couldn’t imagine the fear and thoughts going through the jumpers minds as they were forced to make that decision or the pain and sheer fright they must have felt being trapped in the collapsing towers. It must have felt like the world was ending. In many ways, it was.

Just imagine minding your business, doing your work and your entire life being snatched away. Your future, no longer an option. Knowing that you would never hold your baby, kiss your husband goodbye or tell them that you love them.

Then they made the announcement on the news that Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. I held my breath once more and through tear filled eyes, continuously dialed my husband’s number on the cell phone. I had to reach him, somehow.

September 11,2001; A Day that will live in Infamy

Then the announcement that Flight 93 went down very near where my husband was at on business. I dialed and dialed ( as I know many people were trying to do ) until my fingers were cramping from pushing the buttons. But the phone lines were all down due to what was happening and all the calls trying to be made by scared families trying to reach their loved ones, just like me. Everyone was trying to make sure that their loved one was not in or near the buildings hit. We all just wanted to hear the voice, to have the reassurance that our loved one was safe. I remember being there at work, watching helplessly as my world was collapsing. An entire generation of American people lost our safety and security, our trust and innocence. We thought we were untouchable on our own soil but the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 made us realize just how vulnerable we were. I stayed at work that very long day with my boss because I was 10 hours away from my nearest relative and going home to our empty apartment waiting for him to call me meant sitting there alone with my thoughts…with my fears.

My husband was there…nearer to the situation than I would ever want. I thank God every day that he wasn’t in New York that morning. Eventually, he called me. It seemed an eternity waiting for that call to come. I remember thinking..this is it..this is the day my world could come to a screeching halt. It did in a way. My life was changed forever, as were the lives of every American. I will never feel safe again. Not completely.

Every time someone I love gets on a plane, I hold my breath until they land safely. I’ve not been on a plane since this happened and I am sure that when I do, there will be an inordinate amount of anxiety. When the phone call finally came that my husband was OK, hearing his voice on the other end was one of the greatest moments of relief that I have ever experienced in my life. I had never been so thankful for my blessings and for the simple things such as my husband’s smile across a crowded room, his laughter ringing out at the most inappropriate times or just the way he says my name. I will never take those things for granted ever again.

Osama Bin Laden is dead and I’m glad. I won’t make apologies for being glad that he is gone. I feel that we are all a little freer from the tyranny of terrorism that we have been under for the past 10 years. My heart still aches for all the wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and anyone who lost a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or even just someone who smiled at you on the street every day or as you passed in the building.

Their smiles, voices, laughter, and existence will be missed and felt by many. Their ripple is great and every moment is more precious to me now because I know that any moment can be the last. I now know the unconditional love that a parent feels for a child, I know the unbreakable path between a couple, so close that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends, and I can imagine the unfulfillable void and pain that losing that would cause.

I’ve been holding on to these feelings for a long time. I’ve had them wrapped up tight in a small little box, hidden away far back in the recesses of my soul because I didn’t want to think about how vulnerable we were are. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to feel those feelings, it might be too much. I was dreading today because I wasn’t ready to dig that box out and open it up. But we owe it to those we lost, the mothers, fathers, friends, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, the heroes who ran in when everyone was running out on September 11, 2001 to #NeverForget!

September 11,2001; I will #NeverForget


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