Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Visit to Ground Zero

I remember many little details of the morning of September 11, 2001. At my 9:00 AM home care visit the TV was on and we watched the fire from the impact of the first airplane crash into the World Trade Centre. At the next home visit I saw the second plane hit the tower. I remember the patient, the address, the weather, and other details that would normally be lost after seven years. I postponed my next visit and rushed home to try and grasp what was happening.

I avoided much of the TV coverage in subsequent days due to the horror of the images that were played over and over again. I haven't necessarily agreed with the wars and American policies that have followed as a consequence of this event. I don't watch the memorial services or listen to the roll call of names that is read each year on this date. But I do think of the personal loss of life and the bravery of many who died that day.

We visited Ground Zero this June during our trip to New York City. The mood was sombre and people were silent as they looked through the fenced off area. I was surprised at how narrow the streets seemed and the number of nearby buildings still scorched with fire. It was impossible to imagine the bedlam that would have been present in the financial district of the city on that fateful day. We stopped at the nearby fire station, Ladder Co. 10 and viewed the memorial and pictures of the men from this location who died trying to rescue others.

One morning I walked along 10th Avenue behind a group of uniformed NYFD firemen. I was impressed with the open respect shown to them from people passing by. I sensed a respect for policemen as well that is not usually seen in big cities. New York City was changed by the 9/11 attack but emerged with pride and resilience.

As a Canadian I give tribute to those affected personally by this tragedy and pray for peace and the end of conflicts that have arisen in its wake.


  1. So many tears, so much grief, too many lost. A sad day of remembrance.

  2. Who could ever forget that day? I still have trouble believing that it happened, and especially that those 2 towers fell down. Unbelievable.

  3. Ruth--I wondered if perhaps you had visited Ground Zero on your recent NYC trip.
    Somber memories indeed.
    It is frustrating to me that U.S. policies subsequently have absolutely squandered the world-wide support for the U.S. and against those who attacked.
    We missed a HUGE opportunity.

  4. I, like you, stayed away from watching the horror played over and over on T.V. I tried not to read every little detail in the newspapers too. The event itself was horrible enough. I did not want to make it worse.
    A very sad day to remember.

  5. Amen to your whole post.

  6. I too remember the little details of that day. What sticks out the most is I was driving to work and the radio personnel is September 11, 9-1-1. I remember thinking that 911 is used for emergencies and just a mere 30 minutes later the first tower was hit and the whole world was in a state of emergency.
    Everytime I see the numbers 911, whether is on a cash register, on digital clocks, a calculator, an odometer...and even today I punched in at work at 9-11AM, I am reminded everyday of this horrible event. It brings tears to my eyes to know so many beautiful lives didn't get to live. I will never forget that day!

  7. I think we all have indelible memories of where we were and what we were doing. I can imagine a visit to that site is humbling.

  8. I never understood why the US went to Iraq-or maybe I do understand it but don't agree with it.-Either way-what happened on 911 was horrific.-What bothered me most was watching the people that were forced to jump out of windows knowing that they were going to die one way or another.

  9. I remember the events so clearly. At the first crash, I was attending a back-to-school liturgy at a high school in Maryland.

    Thanks for this post, Ruth. First Responders are true heroes, every day. My Dad was a Baltimore City firefighter.


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