Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

I'm watching the 9/11 Remembering Memorial right now, and it is very moving. Right now, the commenters  are talking about details and small decisions which changed the course of people's lives, dead and alive, as family members read off the names of the nearly 3,000 innocent dead, which will take several hours.

September 11, 2011: I was in my 8th grade English class when my civics teacher came running in; he turned on the t.v., and we saw the second plane crash into the WTC.

Where were you?

9:03 AM

TWT's Jim Robbins' eye-witness account, and this year's reminder rebuttal:

"I went back to my office around 9:20. A short time later a friend of mine called, an Air Force officer, and we spoke awhile about the strikes in New York. I was standing, looking out my large office window, which faces west and from six stories up has a commanding view of the Potomac and the Virginia heights. (When I hired on my boss said we had the best view in town. True, most days.) The Pentagon is about a mile and half distant in the center of the tableau. I was looking directly at it when the aircraft struck. The sight of the 757 diving in at an unrecoverable angle is frozen in my memory, but at the time, I did not immediately comprehend what I was witnessing. There was a silvery flash, an explosion, and a dark, mushroom shaped cloud rose over the building. I froze, gaping for a second until the sound of the detonation, a sharp pop at that distance, shook me out of it. I shouted something both extremely profane and sacrilegious and told my friend, ‘They hit the Pentagon. We're under attack. Gotta go.’

I hung up the phone and turned back to the window to see the dark cloud spreading. I yelled down the hall, ‘Look out the window!’ I heard gasps outside, and a researcher dashed into my office and stared. I grabbed my bags and said I was getting out of the building and invited others to do the same. I took the elevator down and walked to the edge of the greensward, in easy view of the Pentagon across the river. I set down my bags and stood in the dew soaked grass, seeing the brilliant blue sky filling with rolling clouds of smoke. The blackness stretched south the length of the horizon. The adrenaline of the initial shock had worn off a bit, and I was able to take in the enormity of the event. Even more than witnessing the plane crash, I remember those long helpless minutes standing in the grass.”

WSJ's Peggy Noonan:

‎"They tell us to get over it, they say to move on, and they mean it well: We can't bring an air of tragedy into the future. But I will never get over it. To get over it is to get over the guy who stayed behind on a high floor with his friend who was in a wheelchair."

A letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Archbishop Dolan:

h/t Always Catholic

President Bush just read this historic letter:

Executive Mansion
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864

To Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

George Friedman at MercatorNet:

"The first mission of the war that followed 9/11 was to prevent any further attacks. That mission was accomplished. That is a fact often forgotten."

More good articles at Insight ScoopCreative Minority Report and Air Force Times.

Also, though many have expressed concern about prayer being excluded from the commemoration, President Obama's speech was moving and used mostly Old Testament language. It was a lovely, short speech.

Blessings on your Sunday, on this country and all her citizens.


  1. I missed President Obama's speech - I will have to look that up later.

    I was in freshman year biology class when our principal came over the loudspeaker to announce what had happened. They had waited to tell us until the towers fell. We all were silent and then kind of laughed and joked about it for a few minutes - our 14 and 15 year old minds could not comprehend something like this happening to America. It was when one of my lab bench mates said that his aunt worked in the Pentagon that we all stopped, and realized that it was real. After that class was over, we all filed to the cafeteria. I think the whole school was there - over 2,000 students and staff - and it was completely silent except for the sound of the news reports on TV. No one spoke at all. It was eerie and scary. I don't think we realized what kind of impact that would have on the rest of our years growing up - wars and fear of more terrorism, but also unity as a country, although it was brief in the grand scheme of time.

    Also - to the Pentagon commentator you cited - after the earthquake here in DC a few weeks ago, one of the reporters who works in the Pentagon spoke on the news about how the earthquake felt the same as when the plane hit on 9/11, and how they couldn't believe it was happening again. Thankfully, it was just an earthquake, but my first thought too that day, working just up the road in Arlington, was that we were being attacked again.

  2. Thank you for posting this, Julie! What an excellent collection of links and quotes and letters. :)

  3. I was in 9th grade French class when our Principal came over the announcements to let us know that a plane had stuck one of the WTC buildings and that he would keep us informed. I was so naive that I didn't realize that people must die, that a fire would start, that it was a disaster. I thought it was an accident and wondered what the pilot would say. Sorry I didn't see that building?

    In my next class, English, we were asked to put on the t.v. I was horrified to realize that the black spots were people jumping, and then the towers fell.

    The teachers tried to keep us as calm as they could, but we live 30 minutes from the city, and plenty of my fellow classmates had family who worked in the WTC and others whose family members were cops, firefighters, emergency responders, etc. I will never forget the sound of weeping that echoed in the hallway as students were pulled out class throughout the rest of the day. Any time I heard someone cry, "But did Dad call? Did you hear from him?" I had to bow my head and hide my own tears.

    Over 400 people from my Diocese died that day.