Saturday, September 10, 2016

Never Forget

Five years ago, Meghan collected some of the September 11th memories from our staff and published them as a Facebook Note. Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks, and we'd like to republish that post here. If you have a memory you wish to share, please feel free to leave a comment and join us as we reflect on and remember the sacrifices that were made that day.

“I remember walking into work that morning and literally thinking “It’s the perfect day!” The weather was beautiful. I was working at the front desk that day and I was on the phone with my sister. She had the news on while we were talking and I remember she yelled when the second plane it.”

“I was nine years old and the fifth grade. Didn't know much back then. The teachers were out in the hall most of the day acting real weird. Being kids the whole class was enjoying the free time by throwing stuff around and talking real loud.”

“I was sitting in a class and I got a text on my phone. One of my friends was telling me about the World Trade Center. Then I got another text....and another. I got five texts in a couple minutes.”

“I remember exactly where I was. I was in West Roxbury, right in the hygiene room, working on patients.”

“I was in the seventh grade. The school I went to didn't tell any of us what was going on so I didn't know until my mother picked me up from school. It wasn't until I got home and saw all the footage that I really understood what had happened.”

“I dropped my daughter off at school. As I was pulling up to the school to drop her off I heard it on the radio. School was going on as a normal day and I thought she’d be safe there, so I still dropped her off and came to work.”

“I had just started my junior year at the University of Rhode Island. My professor briefly touched upon the attacks but did not go into detail.  So I had to sit through my 90 minute lecture wondering what was going on.”

“At the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center I was performing a root canal on a patient. I was in the West Roxbury office, which had a small TV in the lobby back then.  Once we heard what happened we immediately turned on the TV.”

“I walked the kids to school I then walked to the Joyce Kilmer to vote. When I got home, my phone was ringing and it was my friend asking if I heard about the airplane and told me to turn the TV on.”

“We were walking down the hall I saw a group of teachers crowded around a TV. They watched in silence. I didn't think my teacher had a life outside the classroom, that she even watched TV, it was weird. One teacher was actually crying, I didn’t know what was wrong with her.”

“I remember being on the train wondering why people were crying and whispering about towers and planes.”

“Where was I that day? Canada. In the airport. Headed home on a 9am flight. Standing in line with a group of Americans as we saw the tragedy. A few days later I walked across the border to drive home. I was so happy to join my loved ones.”

“My teacher came in with a radio, TV, and laptop that he connected to the overhead projector. No one said a word and we spent 42 minutes listening and watching the coverage. While he wrote explanations of people and things I had never heard of before on the black board. OSAMA BIN LADEN, Al-Qaeda, Afghanistan (where the hell is that?). We watched live as the first tower came down, we heard when the president boarded air force one. We saw over and over again the planes going into the towers. It was surreal, how could this be happening in New York city, it seemed like it was war footage in some foreign country, this doesn't happen in America.”

“I was at a doctor's appointment and the receptionist had the TV on, I saw the plane crashing into the tower then left and called my husband who was watching at work. I called my brother because he worked in Boston, and they said the plane was from Boston. He said he was getting out of the city. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, it was very scary.”

“I phoned my parents in Florida to make sure they were alright. That they were home safe. I drove home for lunch that day, to turn on CNN coverage and to witness the horror of the attacks. Once it was time to head back to the office I was stopped at a red light on Centre Street in West Roxbury.  My windows were down, as were the woman's in the blue Pontiac next to mine.  I looked over at  her and saw her sobbing. That brought it all home to me.”

“I was so overwhelmed by emotion. It was horrible. To see some of the images they were showing, to see the measures people were willing to take to try to survive...just awful.”

“I remember getting to the nearest television and watching the devastating act thinking ‘This is surreal. Is this a movie?’”

“I was outside with my kids and our neighbors and no one at first knew what to think.  We stayed together all day and tried to keep updated.  I remember how silent it was with no planes flying afterward, and also seeing the first fighter jets fly over West Roxbury.”

“When I got home I was glued to the TV watching it all. It seemed so unbelievable. The following week I was down the Cape on vacation and it was so quiet down there. It was almost eerie.”

“I remember that all cell phones were down and my mom was so nervous for myself and my brother where we were away at college.”

“When I got home I remember my mom called all my family in New York to make sure they were all right.”

“My daughter was in the sixth grade, and the school hadn’t told them anything. It was business as usual for them. I was so stressed debating what to tell her, when to tell her, how to tell her. I didn’t want to tell her right away. It was a tough question, how much could an eleven-year-old handle?”

“It was a time of shock and disbelief that this could have happened in a split second and it was out of our control. As the hours went by the day became a blur. It was such a terrible disaster which would change every American's life forever.”

“I remember watching it on television and thought this can't be real. I really thought it was a movie, thinking no one is really this cruel, til my kids’ school called to pick them up. On my way there I remember feeling depressed with tears running down my face scared that something will happen here in Boston.”

“This other girl got a text on her phone, too, and she raises her hand and tells the professor. At first the professor didn’t believe her, she thought she was mistaken or trying to get out early. So I spoke up and said I got five texts saying the same thing. The professor was shocked, you could tell, but she tried to keep things all business. We had twenty minutes left in class and she made us sit through it. I guess maybe she didn’t want us to panic.”

“It was just a normal workday and then people started talking about what happened. We tried our best to keep things normal, but I think we were all in shock.”

“I had to stay focused and finish my patient’s treatment.  She was under the effects of nitrous oxide, but in her laughing gas "fog" was confused about all that appeared to be happening.  At one point she removed the mask and asked if what she was hearing was really taking place.”

“I know people who were home that day sat watching the news and crying. We couldn’t do that. We had to work, we had to hold it together for the patients, to make the day as normal as possible even though it wasn’t.”

“We were all dealing with the same emotions. But we did the best we could to keep things normal because that’s all you can do. Patients still came in to get their teeth cleaned and I still cleaned their teeth.”

“In the following two or three months, there was no sound of honking automobile horns. People were all numb. It was a silent grieving, we were all family bonded in a deep loss.”

“My husband is a firefighter and his firehouse was beginning to organize a group of firefighters to go from the area to be stand-ins for the New York Fire Department. He had volunteered but he didn't end up going.”

“The next few days were hectic, every time the news came on you worried something else, or something worse happened.  Eventually the fear subsided but the government kept saying we had to be vigilant, it just made me more aware of my surroundings and I tried to be vigilant, whatever that meant.”

“Over the next few days, I thought it was really touching to see people band together and try to help each other through the grief and shock. It almost slowed life down a bit as people made time to be kind to each other.”

“I worked downtown on the weekends at the Swan Boats. The mayor instructed us to open for business that Saturday, the city was dead, it was like a ghost town, again surreal. The Hancock observation deck and top of the Pru were closed to tourists. We were open for 2 weeks after till the end of the season and everyday I worked it was weird. Something had changed in everyone.”

“It was so sad to see people holding up pictures of lost loved ones and hearing about Gerard Dewan.”

“The thing that affected me most about that day was the story of Flight 93. Just the fact that they had to take down that plane and the highjackers. The passengers on Flight 93 saw that they could change things, that they could take control. That’s always the thing that bothered me the most.”

“My kids were young, so I always watched them closely anyway. I was afraid to fly though, for a long time. I still don't like to fly!”

“I was a senior in high school at the time. That spring Senator Ted Kennedy and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy visited my school. All the seniors in the AP US history class were involved in a round table discussion. We talked about the concepts of freedom and terrorism, civil rights, foreign policy, diversity and tolerance. It was an interesting experience to have two people with that much authority sit and listen to an 18-year-old’s thoughts.”

“9/11 was one of those disasters that had me wondering what if I was there...or worse a family member? It really put things into perspective.”

“Going from a hateful man like Osama to electing a man named Obama shows the diversity and strength of a country united in the goal of equality and freedom. We have lots of problems as a society but my experience having such a literally "in your face" job proves to me how wonderful and beautiful human beings can be. I believe the 9/11 heroes left their love to each of us. We owe it to them to succeed, take an active interest in life, and make it our personal responsibility to add value to our world.”

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