Patriot Day


Almost everyone I know can tell me exactly where they were and what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001.  For me, I was at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) waiting for a clerk to process more of my paperwork.  The televisions in the waiting room were on with no sound.  I watched in awe at the closed captioning scrolling across the bottom on the screen.  It never seemed to end.  When my name was called, I went into the office and was asked how my day was going. I told the clerk, “The television is showing the country under attack”.  She stepped out and came back a few minutes later, visibly shaken.  Our meeting didn’t last long.  I drove home, called my friend who lived in New York City and worked at the World Trade Center (the Twin Towers).  No answer.  I sat in front of the television and watched the reporting for an hour.  I called my friend again.  There was still no answer.  I called his folks.  They said my buddy was fine.  He had left to go on vacation the previous day.  It was lucky for him; not so lucky for almost 3,000 others who died and the numerous others who were injured.

The day is commonly referred to as 9-11.

The day the United States remembers the terrorist attacks.  If you don’t remember, four planes were hijacked.  The hijackers intentionally flew three of the planes into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers.  The fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The towers collapsed within two hours of the collision (110 stories tall).   It’s been reported the attack was the worst act of terrorism in the US.  After the attack, the World Trade Center was renamed “Ground Zero”.

“The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center bears solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The Museum honors the 2,983 victims of these attacks and all those who risked their lives to save others. It further recognizes the thousands who survived and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath. Demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and its impact on communities at the local, national, and international levels, the Museum attests to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and affirms an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life.”  (from

According to Wikipedia, “The flag of the United States is flown at half-staff at the White House and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world. Additionally, a moment of silence is observed to correspond with the attacks, beginning at 8:46 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), the time the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.”

The best way to remember and honor those affected and that lost their lives: observe a moment of silence, attend a memorial service, visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in NYC. The one I like the most: thank a first responder.  There were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers that perished.

One of my newer friends is a transplant from New York City.  He was a first responder.  A cop. He remembers.  He suffers from with breathing problems and some other issues from injuries he sustained from those events so many years ago.  He brings up the date infrequently in our conversations. I let him talk until he’s done.  I usually just nod my head in agreement because there’s nothing I can say to add to or disagree with what he went through and experienced.

To this day, 17 years later, I still call my friend on September 11th, since distance is just a number.

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