Thursday, September 10, 2009


Twin Towers
Item description from her etsy shop: "This is a high school study of the twin towers in new york city. It is a chaotic rendition of where a childs mind retreats to during a threat of survival or 'terrorism', because a child doesn't understand it is to their private fantasy land they feel the most comforted."

September 11, 2001

Item description from etsy: "September 11 - My salute to the memory of September 11, 2001 and the resiliency of New York city and America . It is dedicated to a dear friend who perished in the flames and disaster of that day."

Heroes of September 11th

9/11 fence- lock

9/11 fence

Item descriptions from her etsy shop: "I spend the day of 9/11/2008 walking around Manhattan with my camera and reflecting on my personal experiences of 9/11/01 . I stumbled upon this fence still standing across the street from St. Vincent's hospital. It has thousands of tiles with messages of hope made by people of all ages in those months in the aftermath of 9/11/01. It was a project organized by the ceramics shop 'Our Name is Mud.' Now, seven years later, the tiles are a bit faded and cracked, which made it even more interesting to me. "

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to write here, honestly. I tend to be a fairly light-hearted, sunny person, and I try to keep the blog fairly cheerful. I usually respond to difficult times with a joke and a smile and keep on rolling. Life is too short to brood it away and dwell on things you cannot change. It really is a wonderful life, and every day is a new chance to start over and do something good and magical.
Yet, I have never gotten over 9/11.
Each year, the anniversary makes me extraordinarily sad. Tomorrow is the eighth anniversary. I know it's time to get past it.
Everyone has a 9/11 story--where they were when they heard about it, the images, the emotions, the reality of what was happening and how it would change things. Here is mine.
I was in a pickup truck on the way to Columbus with my then-boss when the towers were hit. We were headed to an Accounting meeting, were talking and didn't have the radio on, so we had no idea what was going on. The meeting was being held at a hotel in Westerville, Ohio, and, when we got out of her truck in the parking lot, one of the fellows attending the meeting, a very high-placed regional manager, rushed up to us in his expensive suit and tie, almost hysterical. He filled us in on what had been going on--two planes had hit the World Trade Center. It looked like a terrorist attack on the US. This was a man I had only met on two previous occasions, and he always presented himself completely professionally, crunching numbers, setting goals. He was nearly in tears.
I couldn't comprehend what he was saying at the time. We went into the hotel, and we were early, so we gathered with a small crowd in the lobby bar. All of the televisions were tuned to different news channels. The first time I saw the footage of the plane hitting the second tower, I thought I was going to throw up. Soon after, the Pentagon was also hit. We all just stood there, a bunch of strangers mostly, watching in disbelief.
We went in for the meeting, which they promptly cancelled. The regional manager said, "Tomorrow, we could be at war. We should all go home and be with our families." Everyone disbanded. My boss stayed to crunch numbers, of course. There was a reason our branch had the highest profit margin in the company.
I went back to the hotel bar and watched the coverage and drank coffee. People were jumping out of buildings. The Towers collapsed. Part of the Pentagon collapsed. There might be a car bomb at the State Department. The Sears Tower was evacuated. A plane was down in Pennsylvania. The loss of life was going to be unimagineable. The President spoke. There were more planes that were unaccounted for. They might have been hijacked as well. There was a plane headed for Washington, either the White House or the Capitol. All planes in the US were being grounded. Huge clouds of dust were exploding everywhere. People were running and bleeding, crying and dying.
I remembered that my brother was flying into New York City that morning for work. His plane would take him through Manhattan. I went in the bathroom and threw up.
My boss finally came out of her meeting, and I asked to use her cell phone to call my mom. She'd been at a meeting that was cancelled in downtown Dayton. They'd closed all of the streets around the government offices, and she had to drive the wrong way down one way streets to get home. We're both directionally challenged, and, if you take away our known routes, we sometimes result to desperate measures. She'd talked to my brother, and he was all right. He'd seen the first plane hit the building while riding in a cab, and asked the cabbie, "Hey, are they shooting a movie or something?" He was in a hotel with a view of the Towers as they fell. But he was all right.
My boss and I made the trip back with the radio on, barely speaking. The radio announcers kept talking and talking, but most of what they said seemed to be just guesses and unconfirmed information. Because of the media, we could see everything, but no one still seemed to know what was going on.
By the time we got back to the office, I was on the edge of panic. All I knew for sure was that I had to get home. Once I got home, I didn't know what to do. I literally watched coverage for the next two weeks. I barely slept, I didn't eat, I just watched coverage. I live about two miles from the airport, and the local news showed armed guards there and people streaming out. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is less than ten miles away, and they showed the soldiers there, as well, on high alert with the base on lockdown. About three o'clock, there was a huge explosive boom over my apartment, and I figured either the base or the airport had blown up. That seemed completely possible. No one ever explained it, but I figured later that it was probably fighter jets taking off.
I have never been afraid as I was on that day. It seemed that anything incomprehensible and terrible could happen. At any moment, another plane could hit anywhere and there would be more explosions, more people running and bleeding and dying. Anywhere. They showed the footage of the plane hitting the tower over and over and over, from different angles. They showed the footage of the Towers falling, and the dust coating people. It was absolute horror. No one really knew what had happened, so there was no way to prevent anything. It could happen again.
I called everyone I cared about to make sure they were all right. And I watched CNN all night long, until it was time to go to work the next day.
At work, they had a television for watching training videos. Someone rolled the TV into my office, and it stayed on all day. People wandered in and out, and no one talked about anything else for two weeks. I'm an information junkie, and I thought if I could just acquire enough information, this might begin to make sense. I bought every magazine and newspaper I could get my hands on, and read them from front to back. It still didn't make sense. A very nice older lady in Kroger's, a grocery store, talked to me because I was reading the New York Times in line. I started crying, in public, in the grocery store. I'm not a big cryer, and never ever in public.
My brother basically walked to New Jersey and hitched a ride with some other guys in a rental car to make it home a couple of days after the 11th. I talked to him and he kept saying that the whole thing had been like a horrible movie scenario. He was home, but I don't think he's ever gotten over it either.
When they finally lifted the air ban, I was walking to my car and watched a plane take off from the airport with complete terror. My mom told me, "You live two miles from an airport. You're going to have to get over that." I bought some slice and bake cookies, put them in the oven, sat down to watch CNN, forgot they were there, and almost burned down the house. What little sleep I did get was on the couch in the living room with the TV on. I was afraid I would miss something, some event or detail or speech that would make it all make sense.
I kept thinking I had to do something. There had to be something I could do to help somehow. What could I do? There was nothing to do. It was that combination of fear, powerlessness and the complete unknown--that was 9/11 for me.
Eight years later, it still doesn't make sense to me. There is still no way to fit it into what I understand and know. I have read so much about it, researched, watched the footage, and it just doesn't fit. Something of this scale, that destroyed the lives of so many people, that hit me so hard on a spiritual level will never fit or make sense. And maybe that's why I haven't gotten past it.
One thing I have learned, that I should have known so much better before, is this: This moment is the only thing you truly have. Use it. Tell others that you love them and care about them. Do as much good as you can any way that you can. I don't know that there's ever enough good to balance the bad in this world, but I try to do good every day, not because I should, but because I can. 9/11 drove that home for me permanently.
I'm sorry this went so long. Never forget, yes, but move on with what you've learned, and try to make something good from that knowledge. That's what I'm going to try to do. Maybe that is as far past it as I can get at this point.
Peace, all.


  1. Oh man. Wooh, I wasn't expecting that. I cried reading this.

    That fear is so vivid, nearly tangible. I too could not tear myself away from the television weeks after it happened. My dad called my sister and I that morning to tell us--he left a voicemail and when I heard it I nearly dropped the phone. I remember driving to the university each day, and always fearing when I came around the bend of the highway that Seattle would be in flames. I thought the clouds were smoke. I had nightmares--where I actually woke up in tears.

    Thank you for reminding me and yes, I wholeheartedly agree that NOW is the time.

  2. Oh, honey, I didn't mean to upset you. I really am still trying to figure out who to make sense of it and figure it out.

  3. 911 and the week after was an emotional time for me too, and it lingers on. If you ever make sense of it, let me know. I don't think that will be possible for me.

  4. At the time I was studying at Wittenberg and thus also a few miles away from Wright Patterson Base. They were flying airplanes at low altitutes all day over our campus, which scared the begesis out of us, since at that point anything airplane related was "the enemy," or at least a threat.

    Your account of 9.11 and the thereafter is honest and insightful. Thank you for sharing. And your comment "Yet I have never gotten over 9/11" - no worries. You don't need to get over it - but rather continue to learn from the past and apply it to the present, which you are clearly doing.

    Blessings :)

  5. Thank you, BeadUp. It seems that so many people have forgotten or let go of it in a way that I'm not able to. I appreciate your comment very much.