Monday, September 9, 2013

2,996 (a number to remember)

2,996 (a number to remember)

I am sitting at my computer today putting on the finishing touches to a speech I will be giving on Thursday, September 12th at Kings Park Library. I must pause for a minute and remember. Why this is all so important to me, why do I feel the need to keep telling my story about my 9/11 experiences? Of course the anniversary date of that heinous act is in two days and all my memories start working their way to the surface.  In two more days we will pause to remember those that lost their lives on that tragic day in  2001.

Do we still remember what we were doing at that time and what we did in the days that followed?
We lived through it though.  I wrote a book about it and I also go around the country and speak about it. I therefore live through it almost daily as I speak about my book many times throughout the year. Is it still painful? Yes. Does the story lose impact over time? No. Must the story continue to be told? Yes. We can never forget.

We can learn to live with it and move forward, but we can never forget. I frequently compare it to a wound. When it first happens the wound is raw and bleeding. Eventually the scab forms, but at any time it can be scratched and start bleeding again. In time a scar will form. That scar is always visible so we remember, though it continues to fade throughout the years, it is still there.


This is the number of people that died in the attacks on our country that day 12 years ago.
The World Trade Center alone lost 2,606 lives.
The Pentagon lost 125 lives
The combined Airlines lost 246 lives
And yes, the 19 hijackers also lost their lives.

The American Red Cross trained me to be a disaster nurse and  I was sent to help New York City. Why did I feel the need to go? How could I not? Every part of my being knew that I had to do more than I already was doing.  I HAD to help. In less than three weeks, I was on my way to Ground Zero to help administer First Aid to the recover workers.

It changed my life...


  1. Our Pearl Harbor

    I was in Kenya on 9/11, this generation's "day that shall live in infamy." Had only been there a few days. It was night time, and I was setting up to photograph the lounge area at one of the game camps. Some tourists from California unexpectedly received a fax from their children that read in part, "By now you will have heard about the terrible events of today. We want you to know that your children here in California are safe..." But we had not heard of any events, and this sounded quite bad. We found a shortwave radio and tuned in the BBC, and people stood in shock and complete stillness as details trickled in. How unable to help we felt, eight thousand miles to the east. But the Kenyans surrounded us with sympathetic gestures. I suppose that we were fortunate to go another two weeks with a radio but without televised images of the towers and Pentagon, not to know of the anguish our Washington DC friends were feeling, not to know that dear friend Ann Judge with students from National Geographic had just perished on a plane at the Pentagon. There would be many opportunities to catch up with the visual news later, but my enduring image is of a dim chandelier surrounded by dark wood in the now solemn church-like setting of that lodge in Kenya.

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