Reflections of a September Day- Part 1

**Note:  The images and audio linked in this post will be upsetting.  They’re not meant to be sensational or disrespectful, only to help all of us to never forget.**   

            Tomorrow marks the 9th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil.  A year ago, I started this blog with the posting “Things to Remember on 9-11”.  In the years since that horrible day, much has been written about, spoken of, argued over, etc. when it comes to the events of September 11, 2001 and why they happened.  Sometimes it seems that the real people that were affected—those whose lives were lost and the people who love them—get brushed to the side.  Even now, images of the attack come along less and less as the always-parental media (who know what’s best for us) refuse to replay or reprint them, for fear of upsetting anyone or of being politically incorrect.

That’s not the case here.  Truth lives, and sometimes it hurts.  We can try to bury it in the past, but we can’t ever let ourselves forget what really happened…and what really did happen that day?  Put yourself in some other shoes…

                                                            

Suppose you were a tourist hoping to get an early start on seeing all the sights of New York, or maybe you are a local on your way to work.  The day is beautiful and calm until the first plane strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Not long after, another plane strikes the South Tower. Shock and fear surround you as the chaos unfolds.  As you watch people running—and jumping—from the two skyscrapers, you wonder why this is happening and when it will end.

     Inside the building, those who managed to escape later described what was going on as “surreal” and “hellish”.  You definitely get that feeling when you listen to the 9-11 calls of those trapped above the points of impact.  Kevin Cosgrove’s  last moments of life have been heard and remembered by people who never met him, as were those of Melissa Doi.  Both of their 9-11 calls have been edited together here.  Mr. Cosgrove, trapped on the 105th floor of the South Tower is last heard exclaiming, “Oh, God!”, as the tower begins to come down above him.

            No less compelling are the terrified pleas of Ms. Doi to the 9-11 operator, asking if anyone was coming to help them on the 83rd floor.  Trying to keep her calm, the operator tries repeatedly to reassure her as she asks, “I’m going to die aren’t I?”  Ms. Doi also describes the unbearable heat and the heavy smoke that caused many office workers to jump some 1200 feet to their deaths to avoid being incinerated.

 

This above photo, known as “The Falling Man” became famous around the world.  Most papers ran it only once, resulting in much criticism from their readers.  The Associated Press photographer who took the picture, Richard Drew, expressed his feelings towards the critics by saying, “I didn’t capture this person’s death. I captured part of his life. This is what he decided to do, and I think I preserved that.”   Drew explained in an interview that 9-11 was more than just the crumbling of the buildings.  It was about the people.  Nine years later, the identity of this man is still uncertain, but in his death, he’s become a symbol of the horrendous choice many of those in the towers were forced to make that day.

People in the street, who probably thought they were safe, realize they’re not as the South Tower crumbles to the ground.  Twenty-three minutes later, the North Tower follows.  Both send hurricane-force winds carrying dust and debris through the streets of Manhattan, forcing many to duck into stores or under parked vehicles.  The ash that remained afterward was ankle-deep in most places– knee deep closer to where the towers stood.

Photo by Susan Meiselas/ Magnum Photos

   …all of this only covers one of the 3 attack sites.  Lest we forget that 125 civilian and military personnel were murdered in their workplaces at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the terrorists’ intended target.

 ….and the only plane that didn’t reach it’s target, Flight 93—thanks to the heroic last actions of the passengers and crew who attempted to take back the cockpit from the cowardly hijackers.

The area behind the fence is the field where Flight 93 crashed to the ground at 500 mph

**PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR PART 2 POSTING TOMORROW AFTERNOON***

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