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Friday, September 9, 2011

Thoughts on 9-11 and the Tenth Anniversary

Words can not express the great loss that happened on 9-11-01.

We lost 2,996 American heroes that morning, when 4 planes were flown into the Tower One, Tower Two at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and at Shanksville, PA.


I had only been at work for a few minutes, waiting for the bank to open, when the phone at my desk rang. It was Mike, calling to tell me that a plane had flown into Tower One. I remember trying to rush Mike off of the phone, so I could unlock the doors to the bank, and start my busy day. He stopped me and said "Jen, did you hear what I said? A plane was flown into the World Trade Center, you need to get to a TV." I stopped and said, " Oh, my God, I'm sorry I didn't catch what you said the first time. Let me call you back."


I remember running down the steps to our break room, getting the attention of our bank manager and telling her I was taking the television upstairs, as something horrible had just taken place in New York. She helped me load the TV into the money elevator, and the two of us, dragged the TV into the bank lobby. We quickly turned on the TV, to watch in horror as the second plane hit.


I distinctly remember saying, "Why, why would someone do this?

The tears streamed down my face, and I just sat there in shock.


The lobby opened, and we all were still gathered around the TV. Customers joined as, and no one spoke...it was silent. When news broke of the the attack at the Pentagon, we received word that the bank was under a security watch, and it would close immediately. We locked the doors, and all of us gathered around the television set to watch the events unfold. We all stood in shock and awe as Tower One and Two later collapsed.


Local St. Louis television talked of the shutting down of the airport, major buildings in the City of St. Louis were evacuated, National parks and government buildings shut down, but my great concern was for my father and father-in-law.


As the daughter of a fireman, and the daughter in law of a St. Louis Police Officer, I was terrified that something would happen locally, and not just in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

I will never forget trying to call my Dad, as I knew he was working that day...the phone lines were jammed! I couldn't get a hold of my Dad, and I was terrified! Mike was able to get a hold of his Dad, fairly quickly, but he had been dispatched to guard the down town federal building, as they were on high alert. Many hours later I spoke with my Dad, and I felt so much better knowing he was safe. I can not express how humbling it is to think that if the location was different, it could have been my father or father-in-law, in the Towers.


In the days that followed my Dad bought us all t-shirts to support the 343...the number of firemen that lost their lives in the rescue efforts on 9/11. I am beyond speechless, at the great sacrifice of these men and women.


In September of 2006, Mike and I went to New York and Ground Zero. I was shocked at what I saw, the mementos and pictures hanging on the fence knocked the air out of my lungs, 5 years after the fact. I cried just as much as I did, when it happened. I cried when I saw that there was a picture of a young man, wearing a STL Cardinal's sweat shirt. (This didn't just impact people from New York!) I couldn't form words, and Mike just nodded and held me. I said a prayer and just stood there, watching the workers at Ground Zero. To say that there was silence and activity, at the same time is confusing...but it was. One side on the fence was reverent, and honoring the thousands, and on the other side was new life and moving forward...very hard to explain.

We had the honor of visiting the fire house located at the World Trade Center, still an active fire house today, which has opened one of its truck bays, to honor the two crews lost on 9-11. When you approach the fire house you see a beautiful bronze wall, listing the names of the 343 fire fighters who perished. Mike and I just took a moment to bask in the beauty of it as the sunlight reflected from it's surface. We then walked around the corner to see the memorial for ladder and engine #10 crew. I cried even harder, with the thoughts of my Dad, and the fact that an entire fire house crew was lost on that day. Humble doesn't even define what I felt at that moment.


Mike then drove to the New Jersey side of the river so that we could get a view of the towers of light memorial. The skyline was stunning, and the two beams of light were breath taking! I will never forget the view.


As the tenth anniversary approaches, I still stand by what I felt on 9-11-01...

Honest, and hard working Americans arrived to work, and the 2,996 Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice, will never be forgotten, and their legacy will live on forever!


Thank you.

A simple phrase, but one that our local police and fire departments need to hear.

Without reservation, our local men and women protect us daily, and I find comfort in that. Knowing that men and women, continue to defend our Nation in the Armed Services, while I sleep in a warm bed...thank you doesn't seem like enough. I pray that God will continue to watch over all of these men and women, who serve!


Our family has been watching "Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero," series on the Discovery Channel. I am amazed that Mikey understands what he is watching, and has told us that many people died and even a fire truck was crushed. Even a 4 year old understands the events that unfolded on 9-11.


We hope to take the boys to the new 9-11 Memorial in the coming days, once it opens to the public. I know that our family will honor the memory of those who unwillingly gave their lives, on that day.

How will you honor and remember 9-11-01 in your homes and hearts?