Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WE REMEMBER:  For nearly ten years, Randy Scott's family believed he had been killed instantly when the second plane hit Two World Trade Center, given that he was so close to the point of impact, working on the 84th floor. They were wrong, and you'll want to read this story.

Starting in 2006, we have paused every year on the anniversary of the September 11 Attacks for your reflections. This is an open thread.


  1. Steph9:32 AM

    I worked in programming at a local TV station and when shows get bumped for breaking news or severe weather there are steps that you take to handle the skipped commercials, etc. When the attacks began and they cut into programming (8:00 our local time) my co-workers started to do what needed to be done for the next program. I told them to wait a bit because "maybe we'll be back on by 9:00". Little did I realize we wouldn't be "back" for a week or more. There just was no concept of how enormous this event was or was going to be.

  2. sconstant9:53 AM

    I am randomly home today and normally wouldn't be.  The TV is on in the background.  Dear National TV people: When people call me who are taking care of my kids, on routine matters, THE FIRST THING THEY SAY is that everything is ok with my kids.  When you cut in to local stations on 9/11 with special news reports to report speeches and remembrances, you could take a note from them and say why you are cutting in REALLY QUICK and avoid wasting my adrenaline and sanity. K thx bye.

  3. Adam C.10:46 AM

    Most of my feelings on this particular anniversary are too charged for here.  So I will simply say that on the way home this evening I'll listen to The Rising and sob along in the car to "You're Missing."

  4. But the focus groups and the marketing consultants said they needed to be edgy and attention-grabbing!  And focus groups and marketing consultants are never wrong!

    I know that before long, September 11 will be a day much like December 7.  I remember, as a kid, wondering why my grandparents took December 7 so seriously, and not really understanding the meaning of Grandpa's stories.  It's humbling to realize that our grandkids won't understand what the big deal was.

  5. I am back in DC on business this morning after moving to the west coast nearly a decade ago. I got up this morning and flipped on the news in the background while I got dressed. Hearing the words "plane" and "World Trade Center" and "Pentagon" while walking back and forth to get ready for work, just exactly like I did eleven years ago, was a punch in the gut. It's harder than I thought it would be to be here on this day.

  6. girard3111:04 AM

    The weather here is too eerily similar to that Tuesday 11 years ago. Beautiful. Cloudless. A hint of autumn. 

  7. Genevieve11:08 AM

    The usual sirens out my window and heading under my building (accompanying motorcades heading for the Capitol) are making all my adrenaline reflexes jump today.  I had actually forgotten the date until just before I left for work, and it hit a little hard (though I'm thankful for the lack of last year's constant re-running of the videos for the 10th anniversary). 

    The Randy Scott article was one of the saddest I've read.

  8. Like Girard, what I always remember about that day was how absolutely gorgeous the weather was.  I worked very close to home back then, and the first plane hit during my brief walk to work.  By the time I got there, they were just breaking the news on the radio and I remember looking out at the perfect blue sky while I waited for CNN to load on my computer, and when it came up, seeing that unimaginable hole in the building and knowing that it wasn't any small plane.  Knowing it wasn't an accident, and that things would never be the same.  And then hearing the reporter on the radio scream that a second plane had hit, and watching the blue sky blur with my tears.

    For people who weren't alive then, I think that it will eventually be like December 7th.  But it will never be like that for me. 

  9. Professor Jeff12:22 PM

    I had the privilege of attending a presentation last year by Jan Ramirez, curator of the September 11 Memorial Museum. She discussed the history, collections, and exhibit design of the museum, as well as the extraordinary, emotional responsibility this project has placed on her and her colleagues. For all of the frustrating delays that have plagued the museum, I'm confident it will be a stunning success when it finally opens -- a moving testament to the victims and heroes, an educational experience for future generations, and an instructive model for how to blend and balance history and memory.

  10. Nigel from Cameronn12:30 PM

    Amazing story on the Scott family. Thanks for sharing.

  11. The Pathetic Earthling1:47 PM

    All I know is that eleven years on, I still can't drink rye whiskey.  By ten o'clock at night, there was nothing left to do but try to drink myself to sleep.  And there was nothing else in the house.

  12. I overslept this morning and took a later train. Kept thinking about all the people who went to work 11 years ago just like I was this morning, but then didn't make it home. (That, by the way, is not a cheery path to let one's mind wander.) When I came up the steps into Penn Station, there was a memorial in progress - police and military standing at attention, a couple of wreaths, bagpipers playing the Marine Corps Hymn, and most commuters stopped out of respect. 

    As girard31 mentioned above, the weather is freakishly similar today. On the walk to work I had that Springsteen line playing over and over in my head: "The sky's still the same unbelievable blue..."

  13. Last night, I was at an event in Tribeca. When we exited, it was dark, and I looked to my left and saw the Tribute in Light, those two blue towers rising into the sky.  I've always thought it was such a beautiful, perfect memorial.

    A few months ago, I went to the memorial for the first time. It was a strange, almost surreal experience.  For one thing, the security is as tight as the airport, including checks of your tickets at five different points, metal detectors and bag scanners.  And then once you get to the memorial, it's beautiful... but very strange to see people posing, smiling and taking pictures.  I loved the waterfalls and the engraved names, but I found myself struggling to find a way to connect with it emotionally.  I'm very lucky that I didn't lose anyone on 9/11.  My cousin worked in the South Tower and she owes her life to the Morgan Stanley security guard who ignored the announcements to stay put and evacuated the whole floor - he was the only one from their staff who died that day.  So I looked up his name on the screens and visited his name.  The memorial is really hurting for the absence of the museum - it needs the story of 9/11 as a counterpoint to all that peace and beauty.  Strangely, right now the gift shop packs the emotional punch of the day, displaying a timeline of the day's events and running video of interviews with survivors and victims' families.

    I also couldn't help but notice the perfect blue sky today in NYC, same as it was that day.  And it made me think through my own memories of that day - the panicked phone calls, talking to my cousin who was in shock, waiting for hours at work before the subways started running and I could go home - and I was surprised to realize, like pressing on a bruise, that it still hurts.

  14. What's weird for me is that I was in DC that day and now I live/work in NYC.  My personal memories are all of DC - being by the White House, seeing the Pentagon on fire - but since 2007, I have spent this day among New Yorkers who don't have DC in their memories.  As a native New Yorker, I knew more people who died in the Twin Towers, but I shared and grieved with DC'ers that day. 

  15. Fred App4:25 PM

    I've always said (perhaps even here) that I remember less about 9/11 than I do about 9/12 and 9/13 and all the days after that. Because on 9/11, I was mostly numb, everything seemed unreal, and I was too busy working to get the news out than to reflect on what was going on.

    But the following days? When you lived in the city, they were awful. The acrid stench that hung over you. The handbills plastered to every lamppost asking, Have you seen my father, my mother, my son, my daughter? The steady scream of sirens every night. And above all, the fear of not knowing whether the attack was over, or whether it was just beginning.

    I know everyone says "America was attacked," and it's true, but if you didn't live in New York or Washington, I don't think you can viscerally understand the fear that gripped us for months and months afterward. I suppose there were people who could press on with business as usual, but I felt the nervous paranoia of someone living in a war zone -- waiting for the next shoe to drop, and hoping it wouldn't drop on me. You never felt safe, no matter where you were.

    My wife was seven months pregnant with our first child on 9/11 -- but all my thoughts about our future disappeared. You couldn't think about the future anymore. You were hanging on day-to-day.

    Last night, that beautiful child asked me about what happened 11 years ago, and I just broke down in tears trying to answer. Mostly because of the horror of the day (I lost several friends in the Towers), but also out of profound gratitude that those awful, awful fears were never realized.

  16. Andrew5:12 PM

    I agree with this, but I don't want to "Like" it, because beautiful early September days like this remind me too much of that day.

  17. The Morgan Stanley security guy - that was Rick Rescorla, right? The history channel did a program about him and how because of him Morgan Stanley didn't lose any non-security personnel that day. It's called "The Man Who Predicted 9/11" and it's worth watching if you haven't seen it and can handle that kind of thing. 

    It's weird, in the days, months and, well, years after the attacks, I read so many articles and saw so many news reports and documentarys about some of the people who were heros on 9/11 or who died that day - whether in the towers or the planes or the Pentagon - that in a weird way it feels a tiny bit like knowing them. So when you mentioned how the Morgan Stanley security guard saved your cousin's life, I'm reading it going, "she must mean Rick Rescorla," as if I knew the guy personally. So strange, but I guess in a way it makes sense that certain names pop out from the overwhelming number who died that day.

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