Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11, 2001

I'm the type who likes to reflect on events. If it's Memorial Day I read a story about a heroic soldier. With the September 11 attacks, for a few years I found it very difficult to rehash what had happened. After watching so much TV coverage and having that event take over for weeks and months, I didn't want to relive pictures of the burning towers. And I'm not even from New York.

As time went on, I started reading the stories. The experiences of first responders are heartbreaking, but incredibly inspiring. I wrote my reflections on 9/11 on the tenth anniversary last year.

Image: Wikimedia Commons
This past year, while writing my Young Adult historical novel set in 1963, it fascinated me how similar the 9/11 attacks were to President Kennedy's assassination. The shock and the horror people experienced, and how the nation came together in mourning. One of the best sources I found was an archived TV Guide article (thank you to the host site for posting) written just two months after the assassination, which detailed how the event unfolded on television. The JFK shooting was one of the first national tragedies broadcast live as it happened. The shooting itself didn't air live, but everything from then on: Jackie Kennedy standing stoic in her pink suit as VP Lyndon Johnson was sworn in on Airforce One, the funeral, and lots of air time devoted to citizen's reactions. Exhaustive analysis dissected every new bit of information, much like how 24-hour cable news channels operate today. Only a handful of channels existed then, and all of them aired assassination coverage. Even Oswald's shooting was captured live, which is quite terrifying to imagine. Almost like watching that second plane hit the World Trade Center eleven years ago.

The widespread coverage is probably why people like me in the Midwest, who lived  nowhere near the attacks in New York (or the Pentagon or Pennsylvania where the fourth plane crashed), felt so connected to the tragedy. We watched it unfold, the horror of it all, on television and online. An attack like that cannot be forgotten, and with it, the images of crumbling towers, people flooding the streets, and firefighters, police and regular citizens covered in dust and debris, unconcerned with themselves in order to save someone else's life. The images of heroism are what I choose to remember, along with how our nation truly felt united--although sadly by tragedy--for a few solid weeks.

Are you observing the 9/11 attacks in any way? Have you come across an inspiring reflection or article? Please share if you have.


  1. This is the first year I haven't thought about it as much. Probably because I've been at work today. But I do like to take a moment and remember. It is something that will always be with me. And I never want to forget those that were lost and those that were beyond brave that day.

  2. I live in Utah and I was in High School at the time, but it still affected me in a way few other events have. I think you're right, a big part of it was watching everything unfold all we did that day in school was watch the news coverage. Such a tragic thing. I think reflecting is the best thing anyone can do. How easily people seem to forget how we stood as one that day.

  3. I agree that no matter where you live in the USA, you were affected by that day. It's a day that will stay with me all my life, and not in a good way.

  4. I love the 9/11 version of the Rainbow Bridge story, for both dogs and cats. The twist in those versions of the story is that all the people who died so suddenly are going to be the ones to escort the unloved, abandoned, and abused dogs and cats over the Rainbow Bridge, and that finally those animals will have someone to love and cuddle them.


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