Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th memories

Most people remember where they were on September 11, 2001. It’s just one of those things. There are days when I can barely remember what I did the day or week before, but 9/11, even though it was 10 years ago, is still clear in my mind.

I was 17 years old, and in Grade 13 (yes, you read that right, Grade 13 – in my province, up until a few years ago, there were 5 years of high school, the 5th year being basically advanced courses in prep for college/university, and not mandatory). I was in Ms Fanjoy’s marketing class, and Mrs. Glover, the principal, made an announcement over the loud speaker. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but she sounded so somber, my very first thought was that there was a shooter in the school. I think if you were in high school at all during Columbine, that became your worst fear. I know school shootings have happened before and since, but because it had just happened two years before, it was still fresh in most high schoolers’ minds.

The entire class fell silent as the principal told us what had happened in New York City. We were all in shock. I remember a girl saying that she had heard something about it on the radio on the way into school, but she thought it was a hoax. I’m sure there were millions of people all over the world who wished it was just a hoax, and not an actual event that would change the world forever. 

I lived (well, still do) across the street from my high school, and went home every day for lunch with a couple of friends. That day, Suleena (who I’ve been friends with for 23 years, and who remains one of my best friends to this day), Krista and I rushed home to check the news and see what was going on. My mum was home – her office had been out on strike, and when the plane hit the second tower, they were all sent home from the picket line out of respect. She had the TV on, and I remember just standing there, staring, watching the footage. It was so surreal. We’ve all become so desensitized by the media – we see things like that in movies and on TV all the time, so it just looked like something from an elaborate movie set, and not something that was actually happening. The chaos, the fear, it couldn’t possibly be real. But it was, and the world hasn’t been the same since.

9/11 statistics:
Times of impact: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. 2,819 dead from 115 different nations. 343 Fireman/paramedics, 23 NYPD, 37 Port Authority officers.

"Heaven on earth, we need it now
I'm sick of all of this hanging around
I'm sick of the sorrow,
I'm sick of the pain
I'm sick of hearing again and again
That there's never going to peace on earth"

Last month, I read and reviewed That Day in September, a 9/11 memoir by Artie Van Why. Artie was working in a building across from the towers, and gives his eye witness account of that day and the aftermath. It's a story that will stick with me forever, and I really encourage people to read it, and to feel blessed if they weren't there, and to never forget those who were, those who died, those who were injured, and those who still suffer ten years later. Artie also did a guest post for me, on how writing is a tool for healing.

"I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
I'll show you a place where there's no sorrow or pain
Where the streets have no name"

What do you remember about that day? Where were you and what were you doing? How did 9/11 affect you personally? I'd love to hear your stories.


  1. Thank you for this post and for remembering.

  2. I know I will never forget that day. Not as long as I live. I have posted my experience on my blog also, I think a lot of us have.

    ~Kristin @ Better Read Than Dead


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