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Thursday April 17th 2014

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Remembering 9/11

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF 9/11?
AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE TRAGEDY?

Nancy LaNasa
Abhaya Yoga Center

Summer in New York City can be heaven, and it can be hell. Bright, breezy and sunny, or hot, humid and stinky. Either way, it’s still an amazing city. Living close by in New Jersey as a kid was exciting, and moving there in 1978 even more so. And those towers? Mine, both of them. All mine.

A plane hit the WTC you say? What an idiot, must have been drunk. Oh no wait, that’s a big hole! Running up to the roof, staring with mouth wide open with two neighbors, and look, there’s a big plane flying straight at us!

And then, nothing has ever been the same. Nothing. Up on the roof so close by all day, fielding cell phone calls, hugging friends and neighbors, waiting for my husband to get through the downtown blockade to get home. I even filled the bathtub with water, going into hurricane mode.

Did we really watch them come down? Did we really dust off our neighbors as they came home, covered in ash? Are all those people in all those pictures really missing? Teaching yoga class three days later to a woman whose husband still hadn’t come home—Did that really happen?

My beautiful friend and amazing yogi Capt. Patrick Brown, FDNY, was heard from before it was over in the north tower: “Come down, the tower is going to collapse!” “What are you kidding me (in that best Queens accent), we got a job to do up here!”

That’s what I learned. We’ve all got a job to do, and that job is taking care of each other, as best we can, or maybe even better than we can.

God Bless Paddy Brown and all the men of the 3 Truck, FDNY.

John Batchelor
“The John Batchelor Show”, WABC, NYC

The day after the attack on New York, WABC telephoned me in the afternoon and asked if I could go on air that night at 10 p.m. with my co-host Paul Alexander and to speak to what we knew about the attackers and the threat.  We agreed, and I have been on air ever since in New York.

What did I know that day? The Saturday before, Sept. 8, we had done our weekend show and devoted four hours to discussing the attack of the USS Cole in October 2000, and how the culprits had not been brought to justice. We spoke to a U.S. Navy admiral, several terrorist experts, and the mother of one of the sailors killed that day by a suicide boat driven into the side of the warship.

That was the first time I had ever heard the name Al Qaeda used in connection with an organized offensive against the U.S. It was also the first time I had learned the strange details of a Arab man named Osama Bin Laden—how he had been raised a rich man’s son and a playboy, how he had worked with the CIA in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the Cold War.

Sixty hours after that show about the Cole and its Al Qaeda attackers, New York and Washington were attacked by the same force. It is spooky to consider, but there it is, that I had all the fundamental information to tell my audience with some certainty about the scale of the threat when I started my daily show on Sept. 12, 2001.

I learned in later weeks that we were one of the few radio shows on air in NYC those days because so many of the radio and TV stations used transmitters that had been on the WTC, and ours was on the Empire State Building. So night after night, we broadcasted to Ground Zero and the work crews digging out the victims and the ruin. And we told them what we knew, and what we learned, and what we all now know, about Osama Bin Laden and the mass murderers of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Michael O’Donovan
emeraldcoastphotography.com

Ten years have passed since that epic event in American history, and with that we need to be reminded of how fortunate we are, yet how vulnerable we still are. Our country remains the beacon of hope for the world, and I think the attack by misguided men, knowing they would kill hundreds of innocents, worked against them, and reinforced to our country and all nations that evil acts will never prevail over liberty, justice and freedom.

Albert Lao
Play

It was a Tuesday, and my first stop that morning was supposed to be a record store less than two blocks away from the WTC. I had just been in New York for over a year, and for some reason I woke up late that day. I caught a later bus and will never forget the moment we knew something wasn’t right.

As we realized one of the towers at the WTC was burning, we knew this wasn’t just going to be another regular morning commute into Manhattan. Some of us were stunned, puzzled, some oblivious, and others were scared. But it’s New York, right? We have to have seen everything by now.

Needless to say, this was nothing we had ever seen before. News spread quickly, and our bus turned around to drop everyone back off. For whatever reason, I never made it to work that day. However, so many others were not as fortunate.

Although the days and weeks after that were hard, the experience taught me to never take anything for granted and showed me the compassion of the human spirit.

Marc Adelman
D.C. editor of SELF magazine

I was with my father the morning of 9/11 in my apartment on Capitol Hill. As the morning unfolded, my dad said that the world would be forever different going forward. My dad knew a few things about public moments as the author of Elvis Presley’s eulogy and the writer of Ronald Reagan’s 1987 New Year’s Address to the nation. I didn’t give much thought to it at the time, but he could not have been more right. We now live in a world where anything that goes awry—from power outages to earthquakes or space age sonic booms—brings about the question: “Is this another 9/11?”

A friend of mine is a third grade teacher. She commented that many of her students talk about 9/11 as if they were there. They were not. They were born three years after. 9/11 is so etched in the American DNA, more so than any other tragedy in our history. Its pervasiveness as an event and as a metaphor now personifies what it means to live in the 21st century as an American.

John Peacock
Edward Jones

The events of 9/11 served as a wake-up call for the country that we are not necessarily safe inside our borders. There are people, apparently lots of people, that wish to harm us and our way of life.

In addition to the tragic loss of life from the attack and the following wars, the biggest disappointment for me has been the incredible divisiveness in our country and the seemingly nonchalant attitude toward these wars. While the country initially rallied, we have quickly become a nation of red and blue states, conservatives and liberals at a time where our men and women in the military are fighting two-plus wars.

This is a time we should identify as being an American, not a particular political party.

Harriet Riley
Director at United Ministries in 2001

I will never forget the horror of 9/11 and the realization that terrorists bent on destroying the world were on our American soil. In my journal that day, I wrote, “Every time I see the footage I am appalled and feel so, so sad. Words really can’t describe how I feel.”

A few days later I wrote that it seemed like Americans had been gripped by the trivial the last few years. 9/11 was forcing us to get our bearings again. I felt we needed to find our center. I wrote in my journal, “Many people are turning to their faith–the only solace, I think, in times like these.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, I didn’t really believe the people who said our lives would be forever changed. I thought they were over-reacting. But, indeed, I believe they were right. Sept. 11 changed the way we feel about our freedom forever. We will not–we must not–take it for granted.

The stories of rescues and courage and strength were healing for us as a nation. Each individual on the ground that day in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. had a story to tell. And their stories are our stories still. We are stronger as individuals and stronger as a nation because of our shared tragedy and our collective national healing.

Nick Zangari
New York Nick’s

The morning of 9/11 I was in bed and my phone started ringing non-stop. After closing the bar the night before, I didn’t answer immediately, but soon realized something was wrong.

When I answered the next ring, the voice only said, “Turn on your TV.”

It was around 11 a.m. and the damage was already done. All day I couldn’t stop watching all the images and reruns of the event. “My City in Ruins” (Bruce Springsteen) was all I could think. Then my thoughts turned to “WWIII is coming soon”. The world powers will not stand for this, especially the U.S., but our attention turned to healing and moving forward.

New York Nick’s is located at 9-11 Palafox Place. What a coincidence. Our logo still has the twin towers in it.

NEVER FORGET.