Remembering 9-11 Fifteen Years Later. Has it Really been Fifteen Years?

No Day Shall Erase Their Memory
Mosaic in the 9-11 Museum. There is one slightly different blue tile for each victim.

Remembering 9-11 fifteen years later seems strange. Has it really been fifteen years? Did it really happen before today’s middle-school students were born? Do people remember it wasn’t just the Twin Towers, but the Pentagon and the fatal Flight 93 as part of the full tragedy? How we discuss and honor history today is how it will be remembered tomorrow. What do you remember?

Reflecting Pool at the 9-11 Museum
Reflecting Pool at the 9-11 Museum in New York City.

For New Yorkers who were there that day, the memory remains raw and fresh. I visited NYC in August 2014. A taxi driver related to me what he saw that day. On his regular route, he came around a corner and looked up. The first plane had just hit the first tower. Too shaken to drive, he pulled over and got out of his cab, near Battery Park. As he stood there watching, the second plane flew in low, slow and then sped towards the second tower. As he stood there even longer, he witnessed people jumping out of the building – choosing not to burn alive. Heading home, he drove past a woman giving birth in a park. There were simply no more ambulances in the city that hadn’t been dispatched to the Towers. Is the term “civilian war-zone” an oxymoron? Not for 9-11.

Remains of the Ladder 3 firetruck.
The remains of Ladder 3 firetruck, in the 9-11 museum.

The 9-11 museum houses memories and memorable artifacts. A huge steel beam snapped where the plane hit. The remains of the Ladder 3 truck – none of the firemen survived. A hall of remembrance, where framed 8×10 photos of every victim hang in solemn silence. A toddler’s pajamas recovered from the plane that hit the Pentagon. The radio dispatch from the Pentagon as they searched for victims. Wallets and car keys recovered from the debris, confirming identities of victims, even when no remains could be found. It was the final voicemail from a man stranded on the 101st floor of the second tower, assuring his wife he was ok, that really got to me. It was a solemn visit indeed.

Twisted Steel Girder snapped in two at the point of impact.
Twisted steel girder snapped in two at the point of impact. Location – 9-11 Museum, New York City
Flags on a freeway bridge, Spetember 11, 2016
Flags across a freeway bridge, September 11, 2016.

As I drove my son to work this morning, I saw American flags posted across both sides of the Elliot Road bridge over the freeway. A nearby church hangs flags every September 11 around an entire street loop in my neighborhood. The American flag flies on four of five houses on my cul de sac. Nearly 3,000 flags cover a nearby park in Tempe Arizona in remembrance. A different name is attached to each flag.

Yes, we remember.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Ross learning tree
    September 12, 2016 11:30 am

    Touching and poignant. We need this. Thank you.

    Reply
  • It is hard to believe it has been 15 years. We were in NY, staying at the Marriott overlooking Times Square in August of that year. My youngest daughter started getting what we later learned were panic attacks as we were flying there. We stayed on a very high floor and my husband convinced the manager that we needed to have another room for just the two of them on a low floor so she could sleep. She continued with these attacks during our trip in NY, then to NJ. She had dreamed of a plane crashing into a high building during the trip. She is still haunted by this and visits the Healing Fields in Tempe every year to reflect.
    I cannot even begin to imagine the horror that day, I remember watching it on TV and thinking it was a movie, it was too unreal.
    Though I didn’t know anyone personally, I had friends and business associates that were there and it changed my career path.
    It’s amazing how NY has risen from the ashes and makes me proud to be an American.

    Reply
    • Katrina Shawver
      September 13, 2016 6:31 pm

      Wow, Cindi. I personally have never liked really tall buildings either, especially after 9-11. Your daughter’s dream seems almost prophetic. Who could have imagined such a thing. Thanks for sharing a fabulous comment.

      Reply

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