Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remembering 911...

Photo by Salt Water New England
On the ferry - the view of lower Manhattan returning from Governors Island, early 1990s.

Remembering those we lost and those who responded....


  1. In the winter of 2000, I spent three weeks of training on the 72nd floor of Tower Two at the World Trade Center. On my first day, I searched for the door to the stairway and found it locked. I figured someone would unlock it for an emergency, and that security was not allowing free access because of the 1993 terrorist bombing.

    Each morning around ten, we had a fifteen minute coffee break. I always took mine at the window to enjoy the incredible views. Far below, I could see the Statue of Liberty on my right and the Staten Island Ferry to my left, plying back and forth from the Lower Manhattan terminal. In the middle space, small planes and helicopters flew by with frequency. Each object below me looked like a toy from my perspective.

    One morning I stood holding my coffee cup beside a fellow from California on my right and another from somewhere in the Midwest on my left. Suddenly a very disturbing thought came to me. What if someone with a Middle Eastern background, who had emigrated with his family to America at a young age, had found his way into the US Air Force. What if he had secretly been radicalized and had decided he could fly his jet filled with fuel into our building. Would that even be possible? My cohorts chuckled and informed me in no uncertain terms that our air defenses would never allow such a thing to happen. I saw no point in arguing.

    Each day at lunchtime, I'd take the elevator down to the cafeteria and inhale a cup of soup. My lunchtime has always been for walking, not eating. Then out I'd go and take a right turn, staying close to the building, and walk a 45 minute counter clockwise loop that always took me past St. Paul's Chapel where George Washington had worshiped. One day, on exiting our building, I made my usual right turn and headed west. Suddenly I ducked as I sensed a large object falling at high speed from above. A sheet of plywood I thought; then it was gone. The human mind can play tricks.

    Two days later, the incident mostly forgotten, I headed out for my walk and got halfway down the length of the building when I looked up to see a pitch black human form, arms and legs spread out, descending from from the sky, as if someone had jumped out a window. Again the figure was gone before it could reach me, but by this time I was clearly rattled and never again walked close to the building in the two weeks remaining of my class. I could no longer trust my imagination.

    On July 9th my son, who is 36 now, became the father of twins, a boy and a girl. I can't describe the joy, it is immeasurable, but I do worry about the world into which my grandchildren have been born. But is my fear much different from that of my ancestors who worried about Indian attack, witches, surviving winter, not to mention their harrowing trip across the Atlantic ? I discovered that Gov. William Bradford's first wife fell off the Mayflower and drowned in what is now Provincetown harbor. Three years later he married Alice Carpenter and they became my 9th great grandparents. If it were not for tragedy, and pure luck, I would not exist. So perhaps life really is one-day-at-a-time, taking joy in every good thing that happens, and hoping luck comes our way. Today however, my thoughts are with those who weren't so lucky.


  2. One of my brother’s good friends was on AA 11 when it hit the north tower, trapping one of our relatives above. We will never forget.

  3. We must never forget.

  4. I'll always remember September 11th, with deep sadness and immense pride. I'll never forget. Neither will my children and grandchildren.

  5. To be quite honest , I'm surprised that this took until 2001 to happen . The USA has been involved in a lot of overseas situations and has a lot of enemies . It's now a question of which country has a domestic nuclear detonation : there's many devices out there and unaccounted for .

  6. The captain of this ferry likely participated in the boat evacuation from lower Manhattan. It was the largest water evacuation in history - larger than Dunkirk. My cousins were (thank God) on one of those boats. Other friends, neighbors and classmates were not so lucky. If you haven't already, I'd suggest watching the film that was made about these amazing mariners:

  7. I lost a high school friend on that day. He is sorely missed by everyone who knew him. --Holly in PA


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