Where were you 19 years ago today? The memory of 911 is still etched in my brain. I recall the conversations I had with a co-worker as I gave him blow-by-blow reports of what was happening in America. The newsroom at the newspaper did not have televisions and when I first told him that the South Tower had collapsed he didn’t believe me.
Then I told him that the North Tower was “gone.” By then the bosses had begun watching the horror on the internet and every editor stopped whatever they were working on to find a local angle from his or her town to include in a 911 edition of the papers.
For me, Tuesday was deadline day, so I didn’t have enough time to find Orange, Bethany, or Woodbridge residents with a personal connection to the tragedy.
Instead, I wrote a column documenting my day from the time I was awakened by a phone call telling me to “turn on the tv”; to seeing the second plane hit the south tower; to the conversations with my co-worker and his reaction to what I was telling him; and finally the numbness I felt that day.
What I remember most from the 911 attacks is just how kind everyone was for nearly an entire week afterward.
My children and I answered the call when the donation of heavy work gloves, dust filter masks, bottled water, and socks (to help protect the search and rescue and cadaver dogs’ feet).
In 2001, my kids were 14 and 15 years old. They knew what was going on, they witnessed it on TV at school and, I remember they didn’t need a lot of reassurance. They were upset but didn’t dwell on it.
I have not been back to that area of New York since that day.
For all the kids who are now in High School and were too young to remember and for all the children who were born after 2001, here is a timeline of what happened that day 19 years ago:
8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. American Airlines Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).
9:02:54 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the south side of the South Tower of the WTC between the 78th and 84th floors at a speed of over 500 MPH. Parts of the plane including an engine leave the building from its north side, to be found on the ground up to six blocks away.
The Pentagon in Washington, DC gets hit by American Airlines Flight 77 at 9:37 a.m.
9:59:04 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center suddenly collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris quickly fills lower Manhattan. It is later explained (disinformation) that the collapse was not directly caused by the impact, but the intense heat caused by the fire fueled by the jet’s fuel weakening the steel support beams of the concrete floors. The WTC towers were built to withstand a 707 being flown into them. A 767 carries almost the same amount of fuel as a 707.
The Palisades seismic data recorded a 2.1 magnitude earthquake during the 10-second collapse of the South Tower at 9:59:04 and a 2.3 quake during the 9-second collapse of the North Tower at 10:28:31 a.m.
10:06.05 a.m.: According to seismic data, United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, PA, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Here is a breakdown of the victims:
|Deaths by Area of Attack||Deaths|
|World Trade Center||2,606|
|Total number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks||2,996|
|Casualties in the World Trade Center and Surrounding Area||Deaths|
|Residents of New York||1,762|
|Persons in North Tower (Tower 1)||1,402|
|Persons in South Tower (Tower 2)||614|
|Residents of New Jersey||674|
|Employees of Marsh Inc.||355|
|Employees of Aon Corporation||175|
|Port Authority police officers||37|
|1 firefighter was killed by a man who jumped off the top floors|
Talking To Your Kids About 9/11
My granddaughter is 8 (almost 9 years old) and I asked her last week if she knew what 9/11 was all about.
She said she’d heard about it, but “not really.”
I asked if she wanted to know more, and being an inquisitive child, she, of course, said “yes.”
I had found a documentary that I’d DVR’d a few years ago, that I thought would give her a sense of what happened without upsetting her or scaring her too much. It didn’t show the people jumping from the upper floors, or anyone on fire running through the lobby of Tower One. It didn’t dwell on the heartbroken family members pasting photos of their loved ones up on the bulletin boards near the site. Just the basics.
And as she watched it, I shared some thoughts about what she was seeing. I told her that I knew a Paramedic and a Priest from Bethany who helped the people deal with the terrible things they’d seen and the guilt they felt about surviving on that day when so many others died.
She has an appreciation for the first responders who risked their lives to help save others, and the many who gave their lives during that effort.
She liked that her mommy and uncle were willing to help donate things that the rescuers needed in the days after the attacks. And she understands so much more than most kids her age without having night terrors about what she’d learned. Just the knowledge and appreciation for those who were willing to help.
Last night she said a prayer for the people who died and their family members who are missing them on this day.