Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From the ashes, grace

I have seen this question posted today on many sites: what were you doing September 11, 2001?

I was at work when  my husband called to tell me about the first airplane hitting the World Trade Center.

My boss and I turned on the radio. We couldn't believe what we were hearing. Later on, no one could believe what they were seeing as the television stations showed the dramatic scenes, over and over again. My mind became numb. I couldn't take in the horror, the sheer loss of life.

Time passes, and the too-vivid memories begin to fade, just a little. My question is, what stands out in your memory of that day?

For me, it is the telephone calls people in the towers or from the hijacked airplanes made when they realized they weren't coming home that day or any other.

What do you say to your loved ones when you know you are facing certain death? Knowing these are the last words they will ever hear from your lips?

Here is what some of them said:

“There’s a fire. I love you ... I don’t know if I’m going to be OK. I love you so much.”

“I just wanted to let you know I love you and I’m stuck in this building in New York. There’s lots of smoke and I just wanted you to know I love you always.”
"Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could see your face again."
"Hopefully I'll talk to you again, but if not, have a good life. I know I'll see you again some day."
The only word I can think of is "grace." Incredible grace. Life-affirming grace in the midst of unbelievable horror.
I try not to remember the horror. I try to remember the people who, when facing death, thought first of their families and used their last moments to tell them one more time, that they were loved.


  1. Hi Sandy--very pertinent post. It's so important that we don't forget, but as you've said, even more important to focus on the positive things.

    1. It took a long time before I could see anything positive in the events of that day.

  2. I remember thinking of my friends in NYC and in the Pentagon (I wasn't in the Pentagon that day but downtown in DC) and becoming transfixed by the images of the horror, gradually losing hope for survivors. I cannot erase that terrifying moment when we all saw WTC 2 collapsing. That's the moment of despair that will not go away. I also remember the heroism of the passengers and crew of flt 93, making that terrible decision to take the plane and its hijackers down in PA. They sacrificed all to prevent the deaths of others in DC at the intended target. I ask myself if I could be that brave and self-sacrificing for strangers. Could I? Could you?

    1. We all like to think we could, but the truth is, we don't know how we'll react until it happens.

  3. Replies
    1. I think we've all cried a lot since that day.