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September 11th- An Elephant Never Forgets September 11, 2009

Filed under: Collective Memory — afrocity @ 8:12 AM
"Busy September " From Hope n' Change Cartoons by Stilton Jarlsberg 2009

"Busy September " From Hope n' Change Cartoons by Stilton Jarlsberg 2009

I thought I would be able to wake up and write something brilliant today. I was wrong.
Instead, I am held captive by silence and fear. I lived in New York City on September 11, 2001. The days are far but  memories are still too close. Morning soy milk and purring cats greeted me at the kitchen counter along with the retrospective images of planes, falling corpses and clouds of dust. My mind screen imprinted forever.

wtc_lightsI did not live through slavery or the Civil War

I did not live through the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I did not live through the Holocaust.

I did not live through the Kennedy assassination.

I did not live through the Vietnam War.

The fears, images and stories surrounding those events belong to my mother, my grandmother, my brother.They were borrowed into my American experience.

The memories and images of 9-11 belong to me. I experienced the pain and numbing disbelief first hand.

Not us, I thought. Nothing bad ever happens to us. Not America, God always protects us.  Look at my words now. They seem naive and almost ancient.

I hear Reverend Wright, in the background:

“America’s chickens have come home to roost…”

I see Bill Ayers standing on an American flag “we should have done more”

The “truthers” can’t handle the truth.

This is a day of collective remembrance for all who were touched by that day, if you were not, I do not want to hear about what George W. Bush did or did not do. Quiet your thoughts about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is America’s day to memorialize an event that changed our lives forever.

God Bless you all. God Bless the United States of America.

Autographed Letter Signed,



20 Responses to “September 11th- An Elephant Never Forgets”

  1. boldandbald Says:

    Well said, AC.

    I was working at the time the planes hit the World Trade center. It was actually about an hour or so before I heard anything about it. Working in land surveying often puts one out of touch. One of my coworkers received a call from his wife telling him that “all hell is breaking loose.” Not really aware of the importance of what was happening, we continued to work. It wasn’t until lunchtime, as we sat in our van listening to the radio, that we began to understand what was going on. Even still, after lunch we went back to work. At the time I was living alone and did not have a TV. To this day I have seen very little of the video footage. Instead I listened to the talk on the radio and I read the accounts on the internet. I called a friend that I hadn’t spoken to in some time because she was from Brooklyn and still had family living and working in the city. I still thank God that they were alright.

    I believe that the world changed that day. I know that I did. As I sit here in a rather bucolic CT town typing these words, I hear a firetruck go by with it’s siren blaring, and I think of all those first responders eight years ago. True heroes, one and all. Thank you.

    Never Forget

  2. bob Says:

    Never been to New York, but certainly do remember the day well, too. God Bless The United States of America. And you too, Afrocity.

  3. To all the people who perished, rest in peace. I hope we never forget the feelings we experienced, difficult as they may be; they are a tribute to these innocent people.

  4. Bellamags Says:

    Thank you B&B for sharing your experience.

    At the time of the attack, I was standing in my kitchen mixing cake batter for my boyfriend’s birthday cake. His birthday celebration was going to be later that evening. As I had almost every morning, the television was tuned to The Today Show with Katie and Matt. As I was stirring the cake batter, the usual unimportant banter between the two hosts was interrupted by a breaking story. The show began to air footage of a smoking skyscraper. I thought to myself “Woah, the computer in that plane must have really effed up”. Didn’t even cross my mind it could have been a deliberate attack. After a few minutes of staring at the TV screen, I watched the other plane slice into the second tower. At this moment, my heart stopped and I hear Katie Couric say “Oh shit” (i swear she did, maybe I’m wrong). Then Matt said something like “This may be the work of Osama Bin Laden”… I was thinking “how does he know? what a drama queen”.

    Up until this day I had never learned or realized the threat of Islamic terror on our country. The few days that followed, I cleared my schedule, canceled my patients and stayed glued to the television. My eyes were opened quickly to media bias, Islamic terrorism and the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

    The following weeks I spent constantly listening to AM radio and looking into the sky for falling objects. I had never experienced any fear like this before.

    No one ever ate the birthday cake. It seemed vulgar. We never celebrated Stuart’s birthday that year.

    • afrocity Says:

      Bella, I had a friend with a 9/11 b-day – it was never the same for her.

    • Kei Says:


      I first heard about it on the radio, in between CD’s, while running a route. I figured they were talking about a Cessna or Piper cub. It wasn’t until about 30 – 45 minutes later, when I got back to the shop, that I learned about the second hit. I remember watching the footage of the second plane hitting the tower over and over, then the people falling. To this day, I still cannot describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach.

      Thank you Afrocity for sharing with us and God Bless you too.

      God Bless America; I will never forget!

  5. Leah Says:

    Thank you, many of us are remembering.

  6. Stoutcat Says:

    Thank you, that was an eloquent post. We almost lost my sister on 9/11, she was on a train that had just passed under the WTC a few minutes earlier. I grieve for those who were lost, but I rejoice that my sister was not among them.

    May God comfort us all, especially those touched directly by this act of evil. May we as a country never forget, and never lose our resolve.

  7. Matthew Says:

    Why did we forget?

  8. Nancy Says:

    Afrocity, turns out you were able to write something brilliant after all.

    I remember sitting in my stupid cubicle, working on ads for underwear, that were to run in the Charlotte Observer. My co-worker kept coming to my desk, giving me a play-by-play. TV’s were set up but every time I went to see what was happening, some boss person would tell me to get back to work. As if selling crap, for a crappy store, was really so important at that moment.

    Charlotte was freaking out, being the 2nd largest banking center in the country. My husband works at B of A and everyone uptown was sent home- for fear we would be hit also.

    I was numb. Just wanted to go home, see my husband and watch the events unfold on tv. They wouldn’t let us leave. Their bottom line was the priority. They kept yelling at us to keep working.

  9. Stilton Says:

    Afrocity, you’ve shared your thoughts and feelings wonderfully and profoundly, as have other posters to this thread.

    I would not have believed, 8 years ago, that so many would have forgotten the meaning, and even the events, of 9/11. That “politics as usual” would not only return, but grow worse and more partisan. That an American president would not only have a pastor who declared that the attack was America’s “chickens coming home to roost,” but that this same president would subsequently travel to Islamic countries to say, in essence, that we had it coming…and we apologize.

    All of this would cause me to despair if it were not for the strength and dedication of the people who will not forget. Who will NEVER forget. And who are, in growing numbers, raising their voices in defense of our country.

  10. manbearpig68 Says:

    Since it’s story feedback. I’ll put in mine but keep it short..I was at work in NJ and lived in Brooklyn at that time. I tried to get home but it was a lost cause. I made it as far as Staten Island 6 hours later and witnessed what seemed like a completely surreal event. Smoke all over lower Manhattan and covering Brooklyn and you all have seen the rest of the picture.. It was unbelievable..
    I ended up turning back around and stuck in Jersey .. Next day was an all day affair to finally get home.

    The dust was all the way in the middle of Brooklyn coating the the inside of the windows I left open..My dogs lasted an amazing 34 hours without making a mess waiting for me…
    Besides physically seeing what happened that day, there are a lot of things that stuck with me.
    Unification was one of the best things that came from that event.
    We were America ready to stand up for our country because somebody had violated our ground because of our beliefs and success.

    We need to keep that attitude and choose leaders that believe in America and want the country to succeed on the blocks it was built on. Not leaders apologetic for who we are and want drastic changes that leave us open and vulnerable…

    NYC was also a police state after 9/11 and it was the way it looks in many other countries. Bridges,tunnels and subways heavily guarded, living in fear that something more was going to happen soon. It was not America that I have ever seen before and never want to see it again.

    It’s funny how fast people forget…

    God Bless America.

  11. Maggie Says:

    First of all, I have been to NYC both before and after the attack on the WTC. My most recent trip took in a few days in New York. It is a wonderful city in its own way.

    Second, I remind everyone that it was not only Americans who lost their lives that day, there were several Australians, many of them young men and women working at the WTC who were amongst those who died. Also, our Prime Minister at the time John Howard, was in Washington and witnessed the attack on the Pentagon.

    Third, and this is my story, the night of the attack (it was night in Australia) I was at a Bible study and a question was asked that led me to remember the first attack on the WTC. I answered that question “would declare war on the USA”, I got home where my sons were still up watching TV, and I went to bed. About half an hour after I went to bed the attack took place. My sons captured that moment on video tape. The next morning when I heard the news I thought I was listening to War of the Worlds, then I put on the TV to see what took place. I knew that without a doubt it was Osama bin Laden behind the attack. He was responsible for the first attack. I remain shocked that I had predicted what took place, that it had become reality.

    My heart remains with all the families of the victims of this dreadful act of terrorism. My heart goes out to the wonderful and warm people of New York who were terrorized that day. My heart remains with the Americans who lost family that day, and through the actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I pray that the USA will remain safe…..

  12. Tammy Says:

    Your post is the most moving I have read today. I watched the horror that day on TV; I wept and trembled all day long. I cannot fathom what it must have been like to live it. I can’t believe that the first President who took office after the attacks spent the day painting houses, albeit for a wonderful cause. Thank goodness the elephants won’t forget, because the asses already have.

  13. Rose Says:

    I will not forget. Though we were a continent away (west coast) it hit home. Everyone was stunned, it lasted for months. The streets were quieter, the towns not as busy. Eventually it returned to normal.

    Now, I am angered by what I see – as you describe – Obama, Ayres, the America is Weak and Apologetic Tour, the bowing to the wrong people, the shunning of allies, Chavez grinning like a Cheshire cat and dictators the world over joining him.

  14. IslandLibertarian Says:

    It’s the the end of the day here, 10:12pm Hawaiian Time, September 11, 2009. Another anniversary of that horrible murderous event comes and goes. I watched the explosions and buildings collapse on the news programs, again. How did this happen to the greatest country on earth?
    Then, I hear our apologizing President making absurd promises about health care and the economy, again. How did he get elected President of the greatest country on earth?
    I’m looking over my shoulder for a Cheshire Cat………..

    God, please save America.

  15. Bud White Says:

    Beautifully said, AC. God bless America, indeed.

    O/T check out this shockingly brilliant essay by Mark Steyn.

    • BaldManMoody Says:

      Powerful stuff in that article. I liked it. I particularly like the discussion of the “wrong crowd”.

  16. That is certainly a morning that I will never forget. I lost several people that I knew in the attack, and it’s immediate aftermath. It goes with the territory when you work in emergency services I suppose. Within minutes of the second plane crashing into the building I was ordered to the EOC, and less that a minute after that the phone rang again telling me that my commission had been reactivated, and to head for the Federal Center. What a mess to say the least. One thing that I will never forget from that day are the F 16’s flying low over Colfax Avenue with missiles under their wings.

    Never forget, never surrender. God Bless America!

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