My friend, Angela of Canned Time, put together a post of recollections from September 11, 2001 from food bloggers – The Fit Vegan Ginger, The Road to Serendipity, Ordinary Vegan, Bunny Kitchen, The Vegan 8, VeggieGirl, as well as her own memory of that time. I share my story, such as it is, there as well – which you can read below. The amazing photos were collected by Angela from Animal Planet and the New York Daily News.
Today, as you remember and honor those who were lost and reflect on the powerful events of that day, please take a few moments to visit Canned Time and read these moving stories that sound so much like our own.
I’ll tell you one thing,
We ain’t gonna change much.
The sun still rises
Even with the pain.
Can we go on like it once was?
– from Another Story by The Head and The Heart
On September 11, 2001, I was living a peaceful life in Cambridge, MA, working as a faculty assistant to then Professor Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law School.
Like It Once Was
No matter what one felt on the morning of September 11, 2001 – shock, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, disbelief – the reality was universal: the world as we knew it had changed. Not just the smaller world that some of us call home, the United States of America, but the whole world. It was evident in the gaping holes left by airliner-missiles in three of our most iconic buildings; in the deep gash gouged into a farmer’s field in rural Pennsylvania; in the thousands of poignantly irrelevant pieces of paper lazily fluttering down from the sky before coming to rest on drifts of thick gray ash; in the stunned faces; the hopeful, heart-breaking “missing person” posters taped to fences, walls, and utility poles; the fiery political rhetoric; and the removing of shoes in airport security lines.
My experiences on this day aren’t particularly interesting or unusual. I didn’t reside in New York or Washington, D.C. I had no friends or relatives boarding planes that morning. I had no premonitions, no nagging feelings of trepidation, and in fact, for many hours following the collapse of the Twin Towers, the loss of Flight 93, and the crash into the Pentagon, I didn’t truly grasp what had happened. I imagine that my experience is much like the vast majority of Americans who began their day like any other: an alarm clock that woke them too early, a hurried breakfast followed by a commute to work and a head filled with everything that had to be accomplished before making the reverse trip back home, to family, to dinner, to a little mindless television before bed – and starting it all over again the next day.
It was only that evening as I sat down with my husband to watch the news reports that the magnitude of what had taken place a few hours before began to sink in. I wanted to turn away from the stream of sorrow and the endless loop of chaos, the talking heads and experts, and the harrowing stories of those who witnessed firsthand what had happened in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. What I knew was that I wanted to go back to the way our world was. Instead, the morning replayed over and over and over again: clear blue sky, speeding planes, flames, jumpers, first-responders rushing in and up, the domino of 110 stories collapsing one upon the other – and then another 110 stories disappearing into smoke and debris.
The next day, another beautiful September morning, as I once again walked to work my head was filled with images of carnage and firefighters and grieving. I could hear the fighter jets circling over Boston.
The events of September 11, 2001 affected me like no other disaster before it – man-made or otherwise. Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, far-away genocide, airplane crashes – sure, they were devastating, sad, and frightening and for brief moments I thought, “what was it like to have been in that plane/fire/storm? What if that had been me?” before moving on to the next event that overtook the headlines. They never really touched me. Never even got close. But this. There was no avoiding this. No turning the page of the newspaper to be distracted by something else, no way to wake up one fine September morning to the world the way that it was.
Thank you, Angela, for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts about that terrible day. In memory of those who died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, in sympathy to those who lost loved ones, and in deep gratitude to those who serve our nation in times of war and peace.