Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11/2001. It Will Be With Us Forever.

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. (Note: This is adapted from a post I wrote on this anniversary two years ago.)  Twelve years have passed -- more than a decade -- but for those closest to the terror, for those whose loved ones were caught in that unimaginable rage storm, for those who trained for this, who mobilized and fought so hard to try and save the lives already lost to them, we pay tribute by refusing to forget.

The pictures are all that is left.  They stay with us and resonate as terrible, beautiful works of art.

The agony of the men and women who could do nothing but stand by and watch the towers fall reflected and drove home our own agony -- even those of us in the hinterlands who watched the horrific events unfold on our TV screens, helpless to do anything but gasp and moan and rock with a kind of psychic pain most of us had never felt in our entire lifetimes.


As painful as the dredging up of the images of that terrible day is to us, there is no sense of dread as the annual anniversaries approach.  Every year, on September 11, we want to remember.  9/11 has become a watchword.  Nobody in America has to be told what those numbers represent.  

As I write this, they're reciting the names of the men and women lost to us on September 11, 2001 in a ceremony to honor the dead.  The names are being read alphabetically.  For one brief moment the people live again.  We do this for their families and for us.  They're not just numbers or actors in an unimaginable event that became the catalyst for an entire decade that changed all of our lives forever.  We need to keep their memories alive in order to recognize their humanity, and possibly our own.

We remember.  We remember.  We'll always remember.


  1. This is such a beautiful tribute Ramona and I am so glad you reposted it this year. I'll never forget that day, watching the towers fall from my office in midtown. It was surreal, with all of the smoke I was looking right at it and had no idea that either Tower had fallen. Then I thought it was just the top portion of both which had been hit by the planes, and then the absolute shock in recognizing the full extent of what had happened in front of all the world to see. I remember the frantic calls from my kids, just wanting to know if I was OK. We walked, several of us, aimlessly up 9th Avenue. We just didn't know what to do.

    My Dad was in the hospital on that day for scheduled surgery, and I was convinced that it would be put off because we all expected that the hospitals would be filled with survivors. But there were so few survivors with injuries (I guess you either made it out or you died), that the hospital was empty and we sat in the waiting room watching the tape of the plane crashing into the first tower over and over and over again.

    And now, each year, the local firehouse has its own little gathering for family and friends, and the little kids who never knew their Dads show up and they're big now.

    So it goes.

  2. Oh, Bruce, thank you so much for your thoughts here. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have been that close to that horror. I'm still stunned and horrified every year when I watch the real-time replay. It still seems so unbelievable.

    I think the thing that stays with me the most are the images of the first responders who were standing around waiting for the expected thousands of injured victims. The looks on their faces as they realized that everyone who didn't get out had died. . . They were helpless to do anything for them, and that had to be so incredibly heartbreaking, considering their training and their need--their absolute need--to help.

    These tributes and remembrances each year are for the survivors. I know their lives can never be the same, but with our help they can feel like a part of a huge, big-hearted community. They'll never be alone.

  3. They should be remembered. I'd also like the 8200 men and women of the US and Coalition forces who have died in two wars started in the name of 9-11 were similarly remembered and noted aloud....

  4. I would, too. We neglect to honor those people in any meaningful way once their terms of service are over. We give a lot of lip service, such as the off-handed "thank you for your service", but when we have to have organizations like "Wounded Warriors" in place because vets and their families aren't being taken care of, our moral obligation as a country needs a fix.

  5. And the numbers of horrifying loss and suffering magnify daily by that neglect. The chain of suffering has no end.


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