Remember 9/11 -Ribbon in my Journal

Remember 9/11

Phyllis Inspiration 35 Comments

In 2001, I took a girls trip to New York City with four friends. We were on a mission during our time in the city to shop from street vendors and buy fake designer purses. Our trip occurred before there were efforts to stop the selling of such fake items or awareness about how buying such items can harm the fashion industry. I have not bought any knockoff items since this trip, but we had so much fun walking the streets of New York and shopping together. Because of how much shopping we did, we had to buy an extra suitcase in order to ensure our spoils made it home.

I remember one day when we were shopping from street vendors in the shadows of the World Trade Center. A police officer approached us several times, shaking his head and saying, with a smile, “Ladies, ladies, ladies. You know buying these things isn’t right.” He approached us several times in this good-natured manner, and each time we would resume shopping once he walked away. We enjoyed joking back and forth and ended up taking a picture with him.

Our trip ended a few days later and we arrived home in Birmingham on September 9th. On September 11th, I watched in horror as the streets I had shopped on just two days before became scenes of disaster as the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists.

My first thought was of the policeman that we joked with on the streets. I don’t remember his name, but I prayed that he was ok. I have thought of him a million times since then, and I wonder, was he there? My husband Neal is a career fireman and as a battalion chief he manages disasters on a much smaller scale than the disaster of 9/11. I have seen through him and his friends the brotherhood of kindred spirits that exists among first responders. They mourned for their brothers and sisters in New York that were affected by the attacks.

On this day of remembrance, my thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of 9/11 victims and also with our country as a whole. May we live each day to the fullest and never take our freedoms for granted.

Comments 35

  1. It was just a couple of days ago I send a letter to my dear cousin Heather who is suffering from blood cancer that she contracted at 9/11 as she was a first responder. She and her team of first responders offered message therapy relief to survivors waiting for medics to tend to them and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Now 15 years later and just this past 6 months her own health took a turn for the worse and after several tests discovers she has the worst of blood cancers and contracted it while she was helping others at the crash site in New York. I pray for her daily that her life be spared as she is only 55 years old. We are now finding out that many other first responders have the same cancer. Yes, 9-11 will be a day many of us will never forget especially if we have a loved family member who hangs on to life each day. May God Bless her and spare her life for what she has accomplished to those that lived and for those that died in the aftermath of 9-11. Carmel

    1. Carmel, so sorry to hear of your cousin’s health. I hear this story from so many first responders I know. Still more people’s lives being lost to that day. God Bless her for being there for all those that needed her that day. I will keep her in my prayers that she be able to get the best treatment and care.

  2. I live in NYC. I was teaching 2nd grade that day in a parochial school. We had just finished offering our daily prayers and saying The Pledge of Allegiance. Then our Principal came on the PA system saying, ” I know you have all prayed, but please pray again. Pray like you have never prayed before.” I will always remember the sound of her voice. I prayed again with my class saying, “God knows what Sr. Jeanne is asking us to pray about.” Later Sr. Jeanne came room to room explaining how the planes hit The Towers, The Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania. Our up graders have classrooms facing The Towers and saw them crashing down. Our Pastor raced upstairs to talk with the older students. Our 5th grade student had a Dad who worked at the foot of The Towers in a newspaper stand. Luckily, he survived. Parents started streaming to the school taking their children home early. I was working in The After School Program that day and we promised the Principal we would stay as long as needed. With the subways shut down, parents had to walk home over bridges to get to our school. I remember how silent and polite we were for the longest time because everyone either lost someone that day…or knew someone who lost someone. On the 12th, all of NYC was closed. Our Pastor offered a special service and the Church was filled. My friend in Buffalo, NY lost one of her best friends who left behind a wife and 2 year old toddler. He had come to dinner at my home when my friend came to NYC to visit with him. Luckily another friend, whose brother worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, was on vacation in Switzerland. He too witnessed the Towers fall on TV knowing his colleagues perished and wondered if there would be a job waiting for him. The memories still so vivid and the tears still flow. On September 13th we returned to school…with a bomb scare in the afternoon! We thought it was a routine drill, but when we were diverted from going back into the building, teachers realized there was something not right. Hovering over the school was a police helicopter and officers were bringing in patrol dogs to go through the school to sniff for bombs! One of my students started screaming: “Please, don’t let the bad men kill us!” I reassured him that our Pastor, who was standing close by, would not let any harm come to us. And all the while I was thinking if there was a bomb in the school, being in the school yard is not going to save us! It was a prank. All was clear. We returned to classes, but it really was never ever the same again.

  3. Thank you Phyllis. Shortly after 9/11 there was a young artist’s rendering of Jesus and the thousands of souls being caught up in the air with him on that day. I think that child’s image helped soothe my aching heart. Sometimes we even question our Sovereign God. Your readers keep me believing in everything that is pure and good. God bless our America, home of the brave! God and Country..We shall raise our flag and never forget!

  4. On 9/11, my husband and I were camping on our undeveloped property in remote Wyoming., as I was on leave enjoying a few vacation days. He turned on the radio to hear the news, and imagine our shock to hear our country was under attack! Because all air traffic was stopped, the normal high altitude plane sounds we heard, were silenced. We rushed to our closest neighbor and spent the entire day watching tv on the one channel they could get. God Bless America.

  5. Thank you Phyllis for the remembrance of 9/11. Living in New York it was a shock that this could happen here. As we have learned it can happen anywhere. We sat in front of the television and hoped and prayed there would be many survivors. Unfortunately our friend’s brother did not make it. he was on the 104 th floor of the north tower. His brother said when I saw the tower’s destruction I knew he was gone. Luckily another friend was late for work and did not arrive at his job. The bravery of all the rescue workers was beautiful. As 9/11 nears there is always a sadness in my heart. We will watch the television tributes and the memorials and shed a few tears for those lost.

  6. I was in NYC a year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, as my husband and I were heading out to the Statue of Liberty, we took pictures of the Twin Towers and commented on how lucky we were the explosion failed to bring down the Towers. Talked about the destruction it would have caused. Little did we know that a few years later some evil would do exactly that. I was at work on September 11 on the phone to one of our claim reps and he said that a plane had hit one of the towers, that he would call back. As we all can remember, after the second plane took out the other tower, and the third plane going down in Shanksville, our lives would never be the same.
    May we never forget.

  7. I was in NYC this past weekend for a girls’ reunion of friends. It had been 14 years since the three of us had been together. We had a most delightful day, filled with laughter and the wonder of NYC. We knew we wanted to pay our respects and went to see the 9/11 Memorial Fountain and the new buildings that replaced those that had been destroyed 15 years ago. It was very sobering. As stated earlier, not only did we witness horrific actions of a few on that fateful day, but we saw tremendous courage, strength and compassion on the part of many. I will always be proud of my fellow Americans for their genuine heroism in the midst of the most horrific actions of our lifetime. What was intended for evil, God has used for good.

  8. Thanks for the lovely message. Like everyone I will always remember where I was when the towers fell. I was in a meeting at work in a hi rise office building in New Orleans. My immediate reaction was concern for my husband’s cousin who worked in the World Trade Center. As it often happens, her’s was a story of relief and pain. Neither Zoe or her husband had gone to work that day. They were safe but so many others were not including many of their coworkers.
    A counsultant working with my company that day watched in terror as his office and nearly all of his coworkers perished. If he had not come to New Orleans that day to meet with us, he would no doubt have died as well. The survivors guilt was evident on his face. September 11 will never be forgotten by these dear people who did survive or by me.

  9. Thank you, Phyllis, for your early reminder of 9/11. I have two cousins who were working in New York and area at the time of the attacks. One still lives there. Like everyone else, I was horrified at the impacts, explosions, fire and smoke and sheer destruction in news of my fellow citizens – frightened, shocked and covered with ashes as they ran away from the buildings or toward them to help as they could. I did not sleep until I had found that both of my dear relatives were all right. I watched all the reportage I could during following days and weeks, hoping for news of those who were there.

    My feeling of deep sadness soon became anger and then disgust toward the cowards who planned and executed the attacks. I am a true Southerner at heart and had been to New York City only a few times, but I began to think, “How dare these people do such hateful, destructive things to my New York City?” for New York does belong to all of us in the U.S.A. and, with all of its faults and problems, is a source of admiration, pride and pleasure to most of us.

    People were killed in unimaginably awful ways and great properties and wealth were destroyed, but your readers’ letters prove that the mission of those crazed, radical Muslim terrorists failed! Not one of your other Ribbon readers even mentioned terror.
    We still gather by the thousands to attend religious services or athletic events; by the hundreds for participation in all kinds of events we love and in all sizes of get togethers because we are not living in terror. Greater is He that is with us!

    Yes, many of us still weep at the sight of photographs or thoughts of those beautiful Twin Towers, both before and after the atrocity of carnage and destruction, but we are not living in abject terror. We have become more thoughtful about crowds, more mindful of unusual, suspicious details and bold enough to make mention of them to authorities.

    In October of 2011 I took a young cousin on a visit to Ireland. She mentioned that she and I should join with responders in case there were any terrorists on our planes, but we were happily anticipating our time in Ireland. The Irish welcomed us and many offered sympathy for the attacks and told of generations of relatives who lived in New York or elsewhere in the U.S..

    I agree with previous writers that we are duty bound to keep these pain filled memories alive and to make our young folks thoroughly aware of what was involved on that horrific day and to understand how blessed we are to live as unhindered as we do.
    Never forget 9/11, never!

  10. When the attacks of September 11th happened, we lived in eastern Pennsylvania and decided to take a drive to the inner harbor in Baltimore because it was my 51st birthday and we wanted to celebrate with lunch and the afternoon at the inner harbor. On the way to Baltimore we were listening to the radio and heard about a plane hitting the World Trade tower. By the time we got to Baltimore, the city was being evacuated(they are only about 30 miles from DC). After hearing about all of the events of the day on the radio, the scope of it really hit home when we saw the tv monitors set up in the Chesapeake Bay rest area on our way home. Whenever my birthday comes around, I cannot help but think about the victims and their families and those who never got to have another birthday or Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other day with those they love. On that day I say a prayer of thanks for my family, my loved ones and for the families and loved ones of all who perished that terrible day.
    In the years since 9-11 I have moved to the Dallas area and become a docent at the George W.Bush Presidential Library/Museum where there is a touching and beautiful memorial to the victims of 9-11. I would encourage anyone who is in the area or visiting the area to see the museum and the memorial which is part of the permenent exhibit of the museum. It is a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
    God bless all those lost that day and God bless the United States of America.

  11. As a Canadian, I too watched the horror and tragedy unfold that day. It was a nightmare that one could not awaken from. But I saw something else…the outmost courage, kindness, resilience, and this was so much stronger than the evil that ensued.We throw the word “hero” around a lot these days, but that fateful day, and for many days and months after, we saw it in its purest form.

    1. Roma,

      As an American with friends and cousins in Canada I know we all owe Canada a big thank you. I know on that day with the confusion of the morning when we shutdown our airspace, all our airborne planes were diverted to Canada. Thank you Canada for opening your border, airports and homes to all those travellers. And thanks to all the Canadian responders who also came down to help us. I know of fire crews that came as far away as Vancouver to NYC. We are grateful.

  12. Thank you Phyllis for bringing this horrific disaster to our attention a few days early. All of the ladies comments are so potent, so heartfelt, that my eyes and heart are tearful and sad once again. I too remember all too well that fateful day and like everyone else have seen many more fateful days since. Each of us was indelibly marked on that day, even if we lost no one and were not there in the immediate vicinity. It hurts my heart when some persons and groups refuse to fly, or honor the American flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This country is our legacy, a country that gives everyone multiple freedoms, and so
    Much of that is negated daily.

    But, for those of us who share the horror of that day, take time to remember, take time to pray- for our country, for the lives lost and for those who responded and helped in any way. Lastly, if possible, remind someone else to do the same. Once again Phyllis and ladies, you have brought forth a most important memory!

  13. Always a sad day for me as so many others. We all remember where we were when we visibly watched the horror and hatred of that day.

    Although our country is not perfect… It is made up of human beings…we make mistakes, try to correct them and move on. Our forfathers wrote a constitution to make us free. The horrific hateful deeds of those who stole our innocence again should NEVER be forgotten.

    But instead of being beat down we picked ourselves up…flew our flags…. Prayed and continue to pray for those who lost their lives …. Those who sacrificed to SAVE LIVES… And…. We will never forget!! We are Americans! We won, because freedom always wins against hatred.

    On 9/11 smile at your neighbor, do a good deed for someone in need, read a book to a child and for goodness sake hug a loved one. For just as those people who gave their lives that day… We never know when it may be our last chance.

    But remember we DID survive…. We go on… We are Americans and we are free.

  14. Yes God Bless America… That day is imbedded in us and never to be forgotten… We all remember where we were on that day when this tragedy happened that is how powerful it was… I lived in New York most of my life and my relatives are still there… My first reaction was are they safe?… I knew several of them were working in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, thank God they were safe, but very affected until today… My cousin who is a fireman in that area was there helping everyone and calming them down…
    Afterwards he had to go for therapy because he had such a bad time with it… So yes all our prayers for the ones that lost their lives and prayers for the families they left behind… God Bless America

  15. Phyllis, thank you for sharing your personal 9/11 story. It sounds wonderful. How lucky that you had such a memorable experience just before the world changed in that very spot. I feel that, as Americans, we have a DUTY to stop and take time to remember this date and these attacks every year. I am very passionate about this issue, and I apologize in advance if my post is lengthy.

    “NEVER FORGET” is a phrase you often see on car magnets, t-shirts and facebook statuses: However, my fear is that Americans will do (and perhaps, are doing) the opposite. This isn’t “patriot day” and it most certainly is not just a date in September that falls between the 10th & 12th. This is a PERMANENT national day of mourning. The date upon which our nation was attacked, our innocence lost and American citizens savagely murdered live on national and international TV.

    I’ve heard people say “oh, I just can’t keep watching that footage” or “it just upsets me too much, I can’t relive it”. I feel that as Americans we are obligated to feel those raw feelings and relive them on this anniversary date. Otherwise, if you’re not feeling them and reliving them – you’re forgetting.

    My son was nearly 9 at the time and he was profoundly affected by the attacks. He understands the importance of remembering, takes time to remember and I know he always will. My daughter was 4 days shy of her first birthday on 9/11. She has no true concept of the depth of the tragedy this nation experienced that day. It is my duty as an American mother to make sure she understands how fortunate she is to be an American and to always honor those lost on 9/11. Someday, she will have to teach her children the same message.

    Every year I purposely watch all the footage I can and I allow the raw pain to come to the surface again. I think of every one of those innocent people on the planes and in their offices, just going about their normal day when in an instant, their world and our world turned into such horrible, savage chaos. I think of the brave firefighters, policemen and other first responders and am in awe of their bravery, despite knowing full well, they might not (and did not) live through it. I think of the families left behind to not only feel the shock as Americans, but to be personally and permanently reminded of the tragedy every day. Who am I to go about my day and whine “oh I just can’t watch that footage anymore”. It is my American duty to feel it and remember it.

    We will all remember, in explicit detail, the exact moment when we realized our world had changed. I grew up in West Orange, NJ. The Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange is high up on a hill and overlooks the NYC skyline. Like everyone from that area, we grew up going up and down those hills, living our lives with the skyline ever present wherever we went. Although we weren’t New Yorkers, we lived in the shadow of the skyline and felt the fringes of the culture and excitement that emanate from the greatest city in the world…..New York City. After 9/11, a beautiful memorial site was erected at the reservation. I encourage anyone who happens to find themselves in that area to visit.

    I hope that on this day, and every 9/11 hereafter, everyone takes time – REAL time – to honor and remember the lives sacrificed and lost that day. NEVER FORGET.

    Thank you Phyllis for remembering and sharing your memories.

  16. Sept 11th is a day to remember all those brave people who lost their lives on that tragic day. Our son is a pilot and just can’t imagine what those air crews felt that day. How brave the passengers were who took over Flt 93 in Penn.
    Our prayers are with them and their families.

  17. Thank you Phyllis, for writing this post. I too will never forget. I think the whole world cried with all of us, that day, in my mind, marked the end of the world as we knew it. Before then, especially in Europe and the states, we lived a happy-go-lucky life. That day was the end of innocence. I still get goosebumps and a hurting heart thinking of that day.

    We were meant to celebrate a benchmark birthday for my daughter’s mother-in-law that evening here at our home. What was to be a party turned into a quiet dinner with extended family praying for those who died, their families, and the amazing first responders and all those who would come after them. T elling each other how much we meant to each other. If nothing else, that is the lesson I took from that day, tell the people you love that you DO. Make a difference in your world, and be as kind, loving and sharing as you can. Life is short. Live each day, more than that, GIVE each day. xo Lidy

  18. I think about the clear blue sky and the odd quiet and stillness in the air. No airplane sounds. Even the birds were quiet on that day. My daughter wasn’t even two years old yet and I worried so much about what the future would hold for her. I still worry, but that part doesn’t ever go away. One of the things I love about Victoria magazine are the gentle reminders of beauty and loveliness in what can seem like a world filled with ugliness and hate. There are beautiful people and places and moments to cherish on each and every page. Thank you so much for that.

  19. Never forget! 9/11 is coming up and I cringe each year when I feel those humans that hate America and the freedoms we are so accustomed to having could so easily attack us. We have become passive and self centered and don’t give it a second of thought about the people that fought and died for our freedoms. We have devalued our laws that protect us and the people that enforce them. Benghazi happened also on 9/11 and our leaders said it was because of a movie and refused to call it terrorism. Pray for leaders that recognize our need for Gods intervention.

  20. I too will never forget this day, where I was, what I was doing, the beautiful clear blue sky that morning and the chill that went through me as the realization of what was happening crept into my soul. I was glued to the television for days and swear I cried for weeks over the horrific images I saw. It seems we all were touched personally by someone who was there! One of our corporate offices was destroyed. A brother in law of a sales rep I worked with ran for his life for blocks. Friends & family on planes that morning who experienced the rapid decent of their planes as all air traffic was diverted immediately to the nearest airport. All while I worked in MY office far away in the Midwest. I make myself relive the event every year by watching a 911 documentary. It is still hard to watch and I weep all over again. Why do I put myself through that? It’s because we must NEVER forget that day. The sacrifice of tears I shed is nothing compared to the heartache of those who survived that horrible day. Sadly it is human nature to forget. And so many of us have, I’m afraid.

  21. My son was a student at NYU in 2001. We couldn’t contact him. I finally got a call from his roommate’s mother in Raleigh, NC, that both boys were safe, although they had been evacuated because of the smoke, etc. When I finally heard from him via email, the subject line was “We used to have a view of the twin towers from our window . . . “

  22. That day is as infamous as December 7, 1941 because we were attacked both days! Living in the Metropolitan area, there were many who didn’t return home after that event. American flags flew proudly for months afterward. On the Garden State Parkway, flags were placed in the fences on the overpasses in towns where many were lost.
    On approaching “the city”, now, the skyline has been irreparably changed even with the new Freedon Tower it’s so different.
    I now go to church with a lady who lost her husband that day. To say that her whole life has changed is an understatement! She came to know Our Lord and lives her life for Him. She said, just recently, in a Bible Study, “All I could see was my husband, he was my world. God had to remove him for me to see and love Jesus.”
    She is now an author and conference speaker, a dynamic witness for Jesus!
    I pray daily for the families of those lost that day.

    1. How beautiful that our Lord made beauty from ashes in your friends life. I don’t believe for a minute that God deliberately took your friends husband from her. But I know we serve a POWERFUL GOD who can bring GOOD from evil! Praise HIM!

      1. You are right, Debra. God is good and His mercy endures forever! (Psalm 100) He is light and in Him is no darkness. (I John 1:5) The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10) So thankful for God’s love and His Word.

  23. I for one will NEVER FORGET that day. Not because I was there, but I could NOT believe my eyes as I watched the towers come down on live t.v. I believe in general, people have forgotten the horror of an attack on America. All the attacks that day. We have become a nation and a people who want “happy, happy, happy”. Life is not “happy, happy, happy” and neither was the founding and keeping of America so far. Truly let’s never forget.

  24. I used to work across the street in the World Financial Center. I already was living in Europe when 9/11 happened. I, too, thought about people I routinely interacted with on those corners: my favorite coffee-cart guy, the friendly fruit vendor from Pakistan, the sweet falafel guy. I also fretted about some of my favorite businesses–not the commercial side of it but whether the employees were OK. My former workplace was destroyed–all the windows were blown out–and offices were moved elsewhere for years. Colleagues and friends fled for their lives. I went home that night after 20 hours of work, shocked, and cried for hours, mourning the lives lost, the collective innocence lost. The world has never been the same since.

  25. I remember that trip so well. We had a great time that weekend. Little did we know that the very streets we were walking up and down would see the disaster on that fateful day. That day will always be remember because we watched TV at work while those building fell. What a sad day in the life of our country. God bless America!!

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