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Remembering 9/11/01: No Day Shall Erase You from the Memory of Time

Hola kitties! Has it been 19 years already—ten since I first posted these first-hand accounts—since the senseless acts of terror on September 11, 2001? These events that happened before most of us kitties were born are so important that we have to keep alive the memory of that day. This post is to honor those who gave all. This is something humans—especially American humans—need to remember. I concentrate on the World Trade Center but we can't forget those who lost their lives at the Pentagon and aboard Flight 83 who crashed in Shanksville, PA. We decided not to make this post image heavy cos it's the words that should stand out. 

Remembering 9/11
9/11 Museum pic ©Openler/depositphotos

19 years and names are still being added to the wall of fallen firefighters. 19 years ago 60,000 people were ferried to safety from lower Manhattan including my Pop to our town. 19 years and the hell is still very real to those who witnessed the events of that day and those first responders who are sick. 19 years but we remember the first responders who are fighting for their lives today and every day and those who perished on that day.

Remembering 9/11
Photo of the FDNY Memorial Wall, a 56-ft bronze sculpture in front of FDNY
Engine 10 Ladder 10 firehouse, ©LZhukovsky/depositphotos

Pop's Recollection of that day.

I got to the office about 8:47 am that morning and had just turned on my computer to start work. It was a beautiful Tuesday and it was the weekly close. I had signed on and began to open applications when I heard someone say the WTC had been hit by a plane. We thought the plane was a small private plane.

A group of my coworkers and I went to the window to see what was going on. We saw the North Tower ablaze; papers fluttering in the sky like large snowflakes. We also saw objects too heavy to be paper plunging to the earth and didn’t know we were watching people jumping from the building. All you could hear were the sound of sirens from the Fire Department, Police Department and EMS all rushing up Broadway to the disaster. We all wondered how they would fight this fire.

Another coworker yelled a plane was coming. As she yelled, the entire bank of windows on the 27th floor of 1 State Street turned dark as the plane whizzed so close by you could read all the markings on the bottom. The building shook from the power of the jet engines.

The plane sped toward the tower, although it looked to be happening in slow motion. The explosion that followed was better and brighter than anything Hollywood could create. My boss started yelling it was time to get out of the building. He was yelling to get our belonging and evacuate.

People were running to get their things while I—being the grandson of a fireman—stood transfixed by what was unfolding at that window. It just amazed me that a box of continuous feed computer paper floated out from one of the broken windows and then slowly unraveled as it made it’s way toward the ground. Then I felt the heat from the explosion and I too knew it was time to leave.

27 flights of stairs later, we were standing in Battery Park watching, again not clear as to what we had actually seen. No phones—either land lines or cell—were working so we couldn’t call our loved ones to tell them we were ok.

R and V and some others chose to stay and try to find a phone that worked. My department chose to walk. We wound our way up the East Side of Manhattan looking for safety, being careful to walk along the water and away from the buildings. Somewhere in Chinatown we heard the roar of what sounded at first like another plane and then like a subway train. The South Tower had fallen and what we heard were the floors pancaking. Fortunately, we were far enough from the plume of smoke and dust that we didn’t inhale any of it. We continued to walk until we were in Little Italy when we heard the sound again. This time we turned around in time to watch The North Tower falling. None of us would ever be the same again. None of us will ever forget that moment. It will be hard to forget that 14th Street (about 4 miles from where I work) is where civilization started to appear again only there were soldiers directing traffic.

We ended up on 62nd Street and 1st Avenue, ironically near where I had once worked. I thought about that as we walked. We caught our breath, got to see some tv coverage, got something to eat and it was time to move again. The attacks took place before 9:00 am EST and I got home to my two cats sometime after 8:00 pm EST. In between, a friend and I saw 7 WTC also collapse from the attack. We were at 23rd Street and the Hudson River waiting for a rescue boat to take us to Jersey.

I now cherish the extra time I’ve been given and the people I knew then and know now. I’m sorry we all had to go through this, but at the same time it has made us better and stronger.

Everyone after 9/11 wrote and spoke how they never would forget this day but since then it sometimes seems to me people look at what happened as an inconvenience. People from the rest of this country seem to want to forget it was America, not New York City that was attacked.

We all remember our brave soldiers who gave their lives every year on Memorial Day and all our soldiers who are doing and have done their duty on Veterans Day. On this day we need to remember all the innocent who did nothing more than come to work that day or get on a plane to begin a vacation/business trip.

I wish for all of you peace, health and happiness for whatever days we all have left. Please don’t forget as I never will.
Remembering 9/11

Robert's Recollection

After they descended from 1 State Street, Pop and his group immediately headed uptown to safety. Robert Tonchuk and his group stayed downtown to look for a working phone. These words are taken with permission from Robert's Facebook page without editing although the names have been removed.

I walked up from the State Street subway and ran into D. There was glitter in the air. I said, some promotion for Mac cosmetics or D&G by an outrageous gay ad exec. D said a plane hit the tower. I looked up. Smoke only seen. The plane hit the opposite side of the building so we only saw smoke in the distance.

Upstairs on the 27th floor, facing the towers, we watched and wondered how that could happen. F, V, K, A, M, S, MOC, all of us. L was bursting invoices and didn't know.

Then the sound from plane 2 seen flying toward us. Those who were there know the fabulous open floor Thomson had. We saw the plane flying toward us. M on the phone...."what is that noise????"
It flew by our window … our voices silent … it tilted, we saw it's underbelly, and we watched it fly into tower 2 and our building shook from the impact of it hitting that tower. I remember the windows shaking.

I looked around … nobody was moving. We were frozen. I couldn't speak. I tried a few times and then yelled that we need to evacuate; V kicked open the stair doors to sound the alarm.

I could go on … the mad rush to evacuate… pulling Y off the phone and telling her to hang up on our CEO who was in Texas. She wouldn't so I grabbed the phone and did it for her. She was mad but two months later thanked me. I remember for the first time feeling helpless. I swore never will I allow that to happen unless God makes that choice for me.

I won't go in much detail, but we were in front of our building not sure what to do … then the booms of what sounded like bombs … it was Tower Two crashing down … the black ball of ash swooping past the Bull down the block … coming toward us … I remember V saying what is next? Where do we go?? I said we cannot go back into One State Street … the buildings didn't seem a safe place to me … so we all grabbed hands and started running thru the dark as it came over us … the ash and blackness hit us like hot snow in our face, mouth, nose, eyelashes, but we held each other's hands refusing to let go of anyone until we saw light. I remember stopping and ripping my shirt off, and other men I think did too. We ripped them into little pieces to use as masks and filters so we could breathe thru our mouths since noses were not an option.

We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and realized the world changed … as did I.

2020 Updates

2020 has offered challenges like no other. We found out that those exposed to the toxic dust downtown who already suffer from respiratory diseases are more vulnerable to COVID-19. They've gotten sick at a higher rate than others in their age group. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum had decided to cancel the Towers of Light which illuminate the night skies in NYC to remind us of the buildings which once stood there. Due to public outcry the Tunnel to Towers Foundation—founded to aid families of fallen first responders and named for the route Stephen Siller from Brooklyn's Squad 1 took to the WTC—stepped up and are not only shining those lights in NYC but also holding tributes in lights in Shanksville and DC. Siller, with 60 lbs of gear on his back,  ran through the tunnel on foot and gave his life while saving others. 

Remembering 9/11
@Lithium366/depositphotos took the pic of the lights.

Thanks to those who read/reread the entire long post. I hope if you're reading it for the first time you found it inneresting and it made the events of that day more real for you. If you're reading it again, thank you for caring.

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a hard day to remember. My human is beginning to think of it as the beginning of the end. :-(

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  2. This is my second time reading this all the way through and I hope that you will post this entire account every year at this time, it is important that we remember through the detailed accounts such as these. I've worked for American Airlines for over 30 years and we NEVER forget our fallen colleagues and passengers, we have a memorial garden for them on our headquarters campus and we all visit it regularly. I Pray for Peace and that nothing like this will EVER happen again.

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  3. I will never forget this day. I was in shock all day long. I will never forget this day.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

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  4. We have been waiting to read this all week CK and it still gives us all goosebumps. We will always remember what happened on 9/11 and who did it.

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  5. We will always honor those who died senselessly in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.

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  6. This is the first time I have read this ... it brought back the shock and the horror and the fear. I'll certainly never forget 9-11.

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  7. ck; ree mind uz next yeer knot ta reed thiz when de gurlz at werk... but wait til herz home.... coz therz knot a kleenex in site ♥♥♥♥♥

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  8. P.S. we hope pops gram paw... N de food servizz gurlz dad... haz met up in heaven ♥♥

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  9. I have read this from start to finish the same as I have every year since you first published it, and will continue to do so every year. Everyone should read it and never forget.

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  10. C.K., though we have read this a couple of times previously, it was worth reading again. Watching the entire thing unfold on TV was surreal, and Mom says she cannot even imagine being there. It doesn't seem like 19 years has passed. We will always remember those who lost their lives then and those who still suffer today or have lost their lives since. XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer

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  11. Impossible to believe it's been 19 years. In ways it feels like yesterday, in other ways it's hard to remember life pre-9/11.

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  12. I read this every year and never tire of it. Your folks are the only people I know that lived through this as I didn't know anyone near there. I am glad they both survived. XO

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  13. We've read this before, but it still moves us so deeply, CK. We will never, ever forget. XO

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  14. Very powerful post, CK. 9/11 will be a day forever etched in the minds of those who were old enough to remember it and your recounting makes it very personal.

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  15. It is such a hard day, my momma cries every year. And this year, in the midst of COVID, it are even harder.

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  16. Thank you for posting a memorial for 9/11. It was such an awful and scary day. But it's so important to remember what happened and not just let it fade into distant memory because so many people lost their lives and it changed a lot of lives forever.

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  17. It's certainly a day I will never forget. Thank you for always posting these memories.

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