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September 11th: Why I Will Never Forget

Tuesday September 11, 2001. Most adults remember where they were on this fateful morning. This is my family’s story…

I kiss my husband goodbye. There is a beautiful crystal clear sky as I drive to work on the Garden State Parkway heading towards NYC. Andy makes his way to work on the 38th floor of the South Tower in the World Trade Center.  We are newlyweds, only married 6 weeks, enjoying our new life in and around the city.  The view of the Twin Towers is amazing.

Being a mental health counselor, I begin the morning in a group session. A co-worker comes to the door asking me to step into the hallway.  He has a terrified look on his face as he tells me a plane hit the World Trade Center.   I go into the staff break room to watch the news.  I’m thinking to myself, “How could a pilot not see the tower?  What is going on?”   I try calling my husband at his desk and cell phone, there is no answer.  All lines are busy.  I watch the news in horror as the second tower is hit.

My heart races; my head spins.  No one knows what to say or do.  I make the decision to drive home.  The hour drive is a blur.  I listen intently on the radio as the commentators report the towers have fallen; my stomach falls with each passing minute.  “Why isn’t Andy calling me?”

I arrive at my apartment with my parents anxiously awaiting inside.  We live across the river from NYC.  The only thing visible from our balcony is smoke.    My Dad and I walk to the water where they are bringing people on the ferries.  We want to meet Andy as he comes off the boat.  We wait for what feels like hours…he isn’t coming.  The folks that come off are covered from head to foot in ashes.  Some are bleeding and most have tear-filled eyes.

The only thing to do is pray.  After hearing about the Pentagon and the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania I know only our faith in God can heal the pain our country is enduring.

At almost 3:30pm my phone rings.  It is Andy.  He made his way out of the tower and to a friend’s apartment in Hoboken, N.J.  What a relief to hear his voice on the other line.  I will never forget that moment.

It’s midnight.  Andy finds a train home.  Feeling physically and mentally exhausted, we don’t get much sleep that evening or the nights that follow.  Lying in bed I cry, feeling grateful he is next to me.  My head hurts thinking of the thousands of innocent lives that were taken in a matter of minutes.  I cry over the newly widowed, children and parents who will never see their loved ones again.  Many thoughts run through my head.

“How do we begin explaining these events to young children?”  

“How do we live life not afraid?”

I can’t say any of these answers became clear.  What happened is that the folks around NYC came together, as did other communities across the country.

The skyline of NYC, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the field in Shanksville, PA will never be the same. No, we will never forget. Yes, we will rebuild and be strong. Faith always wins over fear.

It’s hard to believe 15 years ago those dreadful events took place.  Our country continues to need prayer and healing.  Please pause on this day to remember those who lost their lives and their loved ones left behind.

I ask my husband what he would want me to share from what started out as an ordinary day in NYC.  He doesn’t talk much about what he saw and what he experienced.  Much of what he witnessed that morning is unspeakable.  These are Andy’s words:

“Think of this man.  I try to comprehend the selflessness of him.  Although those of us on our way down did not know what really was happening, this man and many other First Responders walked upward into what they knew would be almost certain death to help others whom they did not know.  Today, think of this man.”

The skyline of NYC, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the field in Shanksville, PA will never be the same.  No, we will never forget.  Yes, we will rebuild and be strong. Faith always wins over fear.

May God continue to Bless America, our First Responders and all who fight bravely to keep you and I safe.

Why will you never forget 9/11? What impact have those events had on your life?

Contributing Sister Site and Author

Jen-F
About Jennifer

Jennifer was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Child Development and Special Education. She and her husband moved to the Charleston area in 2003. They have three daughters ages 10, 7, and 5. Jennifer is a stay at home Mom and a writer. You can find her blog at www.my3grits.com. She is also a group leader for Proverbs31.org Online Bible Studies.

Jen’s passions include connecting to and encouraging women on their journey of motherhood. She enjoys walking on the beach, reading, exploring Charleston restaurants and spending time with her family and friends.

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One Response to September 11th: Why I Will Never Forget

  1. Kristen September 11, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Wow- powerful story. Brings me right back to the fear of not knowing what was happening that day. My dad was in NYC that day and I was hours away in College. That not hearing from them was the worst. Thankfully he was ok – he walked over the bridge to Queens with hundreds of others to try and get home. Those first responders were and are angels in heaven. Thank you for sharing your story.

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