There are two ways to lose our innocence. The first is the slow and gradual growth to maturity when old ideas begin to be replaced with new ideas. The second is when a single event forever changes the way we see the world.
Today is the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It was an ordinary day. The sky was blue and bright, a perfect early fall day. Offices, schools, and stores opened as normal. Then the first place hit the Twin Towers and everything changed.
I was in college back then, part of the younger generation. It’s amazing how fast two decades can go. Though it seems like it will take forever for the time to pass, it goes in the blink of an eye. Those of us who were young then are now adults with adult responsibilities. Some of the the kids who were too young to know what was going on or not yet born are now on the verge of adulthood themselves.
On Thursday, The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners what the term “never forget” meant to them. What I remember is that for a brief time, the divisions that normally kept us apart disappeared. We were all Americans and we were all grieving. It was a communal loss that knew no boundaries or labels.
Last month, I visited the 9/11 Museum with a couple of friends. It was my second visit. Walking into the building is akin to a ten pound weight being thrust on your shoulders. There is an energy that is emotional, heavy, and sometimes difficult to bear. The energy of the day and the souls of the innocent people whose lives were taken that day are all around you, a solemn reminder of what was lost on that beautiful September day.
It was if nothing else, a potent reminder of how important it is to not only live while you can, but tell the ones you love how you feel before it is too late.
May the memories of the nearly 3000 people who were taken us from forever be a blessing. Z”L.
Today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe that it is 19 years.
There is a whole generation of kids who were very young or not yet born when the towers fell. Looking back, the years leading up to September 11th, 2001 feels like a pleasant dream in which we were violently waken up from.
Though it is nearly a full generation, the pain and the grief feel as fresh as if it was September 12th, 2001. My heart still breaks for those who died that day and their surviving loved ones. Time can do many things, including heal old wounds. But it can never erase the memory of what happened that day.
May the memories of those were killed that day and those first responders who have died in the years since forever be a blessing to us all.
Those of us who are of a certain age and older will forever remember that day and the following days after the towers fell. I will never forget coming home for fall break from college in October of 2001 and craning my neck to see the remains of the towers as the bus drove into New York City.
I sometimes wonder what the kids who were very young or not yet born (Gen Z) think and know about September 11th. Especially that tomorrow is 18 years since the attack. An entire generation has grown up with 9/11 as just another aspect of their lives.
I wonder if they see it as living history or just as history in the same way that my generation sees Vietnam or the assassination of JFK (for context, I am in my late 30’s). I would hope that they understand how significant and life changing that day was for this country. I hope that they mourn and remember those who 18 years ago tonight, had no idea that their time on Earth was growing short.
May the memories of those who perished that day and of those who sacrificed their time, the health and ultimately their lives in the days after 9/11 to be a blessing to us all. Z”l.
September 11th, 2001 is a day that forever changed the world. Before 9/11, the idea of a terrorist attack within the borders of the United States seemed more fiction than fact.
That is the premise of the 1998 film, The Siege. When the leader of a Islamic religious sect is abducted by the US military, the response is a series of terrorist attacks on New York City. Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) is the head of the FBI’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York. Working with Elise Kraft (Annette Bening), a CIA operative, they must work together to find the terrorists who are attacking the citizens of New York. While Elise and Anthony work on finding the terrorists before they wreak more havoc and take more lives, General Devereaux (Bruce Willis) takes control of the city and declares martial law.
What strikes me about this film is life has imitated art, especially in the last 15 years. While this film is obviously a work of fiction, some of the elements in the film have become part of our every day lives. It also reminds me of how innocent we all were in the pre-9/11 years.
Since the beginning of time, human beings have tried to explain what happens after we die.
In the wake of the attack on September 11th,2001, the loved ones of the victims tried to pick themselves up and move on. While their loves ones were gone physically, some reported seeing them in spirit.
Bonnie McEneaney is a 9/11 widow. Her husband, Eamon McEneaney was one of the hundreds of Cantor Fitzgerald employees who lost their lives that day. After her husband’s death, she began to see signs that he was still around. In her 2011 book, Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11, Mrs. McEneaney reports that her husband’s spirit still lingered. In writing this book, she discovered that she was not the only who experienced this phenomena. Interviewing spouses, friends and family members of other 9/11 victims, Mrs. McEneaney reports that they too believed that their loved ones were still around, if only in spirit.
This book is amazing. I had chills reading this book. I also needed quite a few tissues. What makes this book stand out is that it proves that there is life after death and there is recovery after tragedy. Our loved ones maybe gone physically, but in one way or another, their spirits and the imprint their lives left on us remain.
15 years and one day ago, the Twin Towers were just another office building in New York City. 15 years ago today, the Twin Towers would be no more.
Several years ago, I had a friend visiting from out-of-town. One of the sites we visited was the 9/11 Memorial.
Standing out from the stone memorials is the survivor tree. It was found within the rubble after the ash and the smoke cleared. Though it was badly damaged, it survived and continues to survive to this day.
It represents so much. It represents that life does go on and we can heal. Even in our weakest and most broken moments, we can and will survive. We can and will pick ourselves up and find a way to move forward.
We will never forget the innocent souls whose lives were taken 15 years ago. May their memories be a blessing.
The last three generations have seen profound and world altering change. My grandparent’s generation watched the world change due to The Great Depression, World War II and the attack at Pearl Harbor. The idyllic world of the 1950’s that my parents grew up in were forever shattered by the assassination of JFK and The Vietnam War.
My generation will be forever defined by one day: September 11th, 2001.
Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog) knows that New York City is in my blood and my bones. My family has been here for over 100 years. My immigrant great-grandparents came to this city and to America to escape the poverty and the oppression of Eastern Europe. Though not without its challenges, this city and her people gave my ancestors the start they needed to provide for future generations.
On September 11th, 2001, New York City was dealt a blow that nearly crippled her and her people. Coming of age in a post 9/11 world has forever changed my generation. We see the consequences of hate and prejudice. We also see the beauty of people coming together and seeing each other not as labels, but simply as human beings.
Where I currently work is very close to the 9/11 Memorial. Most of the time, I don’t pay attention to how close I am. This week, I could not help but think about how close my office is to where the Twin Towers stood.
Tomorrow is 9/11. We will never forget the lives lost and the emotional scar that will never completely heal.
The North and South Footprints at the 9/11 Memorial.
14 years ago today, nearly 3000 people woke up, expecting their day to be utterly normal. Couples kissed each other goodbye and promised to call when they were on the way home from work. Parents watched as their children boarded the school bus. It was completely and utterly normal.
Then the first plane hit and all h*ll broke loose. The phone lines went down and Manhattan, instead of being the place where everyone wanted to be, no one want to be there.
14 years later, the dust has long since settled. Lower Manhattan has returned to her normal vibrant self. New Yorkers go about their business as they did on that day.
But today, they stopped, if only for a few moments. They remembered who they were and where they were on that day. They remember the lives that were unnecessarily lost. And they are grateful that G-d has given them another day on Earth.
It’s been 14 years since 9/11. Even though many of us have moved on with our lives, we still stop and remember. And we know that our heart will still break, no matter how many years will pass since 9/11.