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Looking Back at 10 Years of 9/11 Ceremonies

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Casey Palmettiri
Sr. Member
Posts: 51

« on: September 09, 2012, 04:50:25 pm »

Looking Back at 10 Years of 9/11 Ceremonies

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
—Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002

“My older brother John lived [his life] in Technicolor. … When he walked in the door, the whole house lit up. And I’m sure heaven lit up when he got there too.”
—Anthoula Katsimatides at the World Trade Center site in 2005

“Last year, America’s poet laureate, Billy Collins, wrote a poem he called ‘The Names’ about the 2,792 who perished that day. Here are its closing lines:

Names etched on
the head of a pin.

One name spanning
a bridge, another
undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled
into the skin.

Names of citizens,
workers, mothers,
and fathers,

The bright-eyed
daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in
a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on
the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled
into the dim warehouse
of memory.

So many names, there
is barely room on
the walls of the heart.”
—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the World Trade Center site in 2003

“Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts.”
—New York City mayor ­Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006

“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”
—President George W. Bush at the Pentagon in 2008

“My father, Norberto, was a pastry chef at ­Windows on the World in Tower One. For 10 years, he made many fancy and famous ­desserts, but the sweetest dessert he made was the marble cake he made for us at home. … Whenever we parted, Poppi would say, ‘Te amo. Vaya con Dios.’ And this morning, I want to say the same thing to you, Poppi. I love you. Go with God.”             
—Catherine Hernandez at the World Trade Center site in 2008

“With almost no time to decide, [your loved ones] gave the entire country an incalculable gift. They saved the Capitol from attack. They saved God knows how many lives. They saved the terrorists from claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American government. … They allowed us to survive as a country that could fight terror and still maintain liberty and still welcome people from all over the world from every religion and race and culture as long as they shared our values, because ­ordinary people given no time at all to decide did the right thing.”
—President Bill Clinton in Shanksville, Pa., in 2011
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Casey Palmettiri
Sr. Member
Posts: 51

« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012, 04:52:10 pm »

Lessons We Must Never Forget

"The hole in the skyline
is symbolic of the hole
in our lives."    
Ten years after 9/11, we need to come together again as a nation and remind ourselves of the lessons we learned on that long day

By Tom Brokaw

From time to time, my flights into New York City are routed out over the harbor and the Statue of Liberty and then steered north, beginning at the southern tip of Manhattan. Before 9/11, I looked forward to these aerial tours of the world’s greatest skyline. But no more. Now I am immediately reminded of the missing piece: the World Trade Center. And my heart sinks again as I am pulled back to that long day of violence, terror, death, confusion, grief, and rage. The hole in the skyline is symbolic of the hole in our lives, that moment that took so many of our fellow citizens to their death, plunged others into a lifetime of loss and bewilderment, and blasted all of us out of our comfort zones.

We have the same reaction when we see the evocative memorial next to the Pentagon or the wound in the countryside of Shanksville, Pa.

Sept. 11 was without a doubt the single most challenging day of my journalistic career. From the moment I went on the air that morning, I had no idea what would happen next. There were so many more questions than answers. Who were the hijackers? How could this happen? What was the next target?

At one point, I referred to the burning towers and said, “There is so much structural damage, they may eventually have to be brought down.” Instantly, I regretted my words, thinking, “Maybe I’ve gone too far.”

Moments later, the buildings began to collapse on their own, and we all watched in horror, fearing that as many as 20,000 people might still be inside. I kept reminding myself, “Stay cool, tell viewers what you know, not the rumors, and don’t let your emotions spill over.” (I have Irish ancestors on my mother’s side, and those genes take me to the brink of tears pretty easily.)

I was doing relatively fine until later that day when a survivor from one of the towers began to describe his colleagues in wheelchairs who never made it out. I couldn’t stand the thought of those poor souls trapped by their paralysis, waiting for an elevator that never came. I choked up and passed our news coverage to another correspondent who carried on until I regained my composure. On Sept. 11, it took everything I’d learned in 40 years as a journalist, husband, father, friend, and citizen to make it through.

I came to know other survivors, as well as many family members of the people who died. Their strength steeled me. One was Beverly Eckert. She’d met her husband, Sean, when they were teenagers at a school dance in Buffalo, N.Y., and they called their marriage Camelot because they felt it was a fairy tale.
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Casey Palmettiri
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Posts: 51

« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2012, 04:52:50 pm »

On the morning of the attacks, Beverly was on the phone with Sean, who worked on an upper floor of the south tower. As she urged him to escape, she saw the skyscraper come down on television.

Beverly became an energetic, articulate activist for the 9/11 families, pushing successfully for an investigative commission and for fair compensation. I so admired her quiet, persistent drive to find some resolution to that awful event.

Now, 10 years later, I hope that we’ll remember how we came together as a nation. We mourned as a family and found common ground on which to move forward. We saw political adversaries stand side by side on the Capitol steps as they sang “God Bless America.” We watched proudly as young men and women enlisted in the military, knowing they’d soon be in harm’s way.

When war came and there were differences about why we were fighting, we had spirited but appropriate debates. When protesters took to the streets, there were no scenes of car burnings, tear gas, and billy clubs but of civil demonstration. We waited patiently in airport security lines as new federal agencies tried to sort out what was effective and what was merely symbolic.

Today, so much of that common fabric of united response has frayed. In the years since 9/11, we’ve been beset on another front by our economic excesses and our failure to honor the fundamental laws of financial risk.

We’ve gone about our lives with too little connection to the sacrifices of those fighting for us far away and the sacrifices of their families living just down the street or seated in the next row at our houses of worship.

Here are some things worth contemplating as we recall that surreal day in 2001 when innocent passengers on civilian planes became the first victims of the terrorists whose abhorrent actions changed all of our lives forever.

We’re still armed and on the ground in two Muslim nations where we’ve fought for much of the past 10 years, but we still have not extinguished the rage of extremists. We need to be more effective in promoting the American ideal without using guns or drones.

We need to be citizens again, offering our assistance to others. By doing so, we’ll show we can be more than the sum of our parts. Throughout our communities, states, and nation, on rural Main Streets and in countries around the globe, Uncle Sam needs us.

We need to listen to each other more and shout less. The 9/11 attacks were the beginning of an unexpected passage in American life in a new century, and no one group has all the answers.

Because of technology, our planet, even with its growing number of inhabitants, is more connected than ever before. By the same token, it is more competitive. We cannot keep our place as the greatest nation on Earth if we are a self-absorbed, deeply divided people, too quick to forget the unity that prevailed immediately after 9/11.

We owe those who lost their lives that day and in the resulting wars a common commitment to the values they personified, the values that have made this an exceptional country.

Whenever I fly over the southern tip of Manhattan where the twin towers no longer stand, that’s what I will try to remember.

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Casey Palmettiri
Sr. Member
Posts: 51

« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 04:53:22 pm »

A Time of Remembrance
• Tom Brokaw: What We Must Never Forget
• Incredible Stories of Victims' Families
• The Most Powerful Images from 9/11
• Learn How You Can Help
• More on the Rebirth of Ground Zero
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Casey Palmettiri
Sr. Member
Posts: 51

« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 04:54:27 pm »

What September 11 Taught Me

Lynn Tierney is writing a book about the lessons she learned from 9/11. [Photo courtesy Lynn Tierney]
By Jennifer Merritt

Many lessons came out of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, from the bureaucratic (forcing intelligence agencies to re-examine how they handle terrorism) to the philosophical (forcing all Americans to realize that the United States is not an island).

But for Lynn Tierney, the lessons are much simpler. As deputy fire commissioner of the New York City Fire Department on that day, she led the city’s rescue and recovery efforts in the weeks and months following the attacks, and later served as president of the Tribute World Trade Center Visitor Center erected on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. She believes what she learned along the way could be applied to everyday life.

“If somebody encounters a sick child, or a parent dealing with Alzheimer’s, your worldview shifts suddenly,” says Tierney, who is now vice president of communications for the University of California. “It can be shocking and sudden, and people can’t understand how the world could go on. There are many things we went through [on Sept. 11] that align with personal tragedy and difficulty. I thought it might be useful to see how some people—faced with what would look like insurmountable tragedy or sorrow—really rose to the occasion.”

Tierney's at work on a yet-to-be-published book currently titled, Be Not Afraid. In it, she details how she and her team made every effort to bring comfort and peace to the families left shattered by that day. Here are a few of her key takeaways:

Always say “I love you.”
“There can’t be a more important lesson than understanding how precious life is,” she says. “If you have loved ones, you have to tell yourself and tell them every single day how happy you are to be together and how much you love them.”

Honesty is always the best policy.
One week after Sept. 11, Tierney asked 1,500 family members of missing firefighters to come to a meeting. “The letter said, ‘Please bring with you toothbrushes, soda cans, a comb, soiled underwear—anything that might be used for a DNA investigation.’ But we stood up and said, ‘No one is prepared to have a conversation like this. We’re all in this together.’ The more honest you are with people right from the beginning the better off it is.”

Seek help if you need it.
“I went too long without facing up to the fact that I was personally affected,” says Tierney, a self-confessed “crisis junkie.” She speaks not just emotionally, but physically, as she now needs certain medications following Sept. 11. “I would put any chore in front of taking care of myself. You get to a point where you’re no good to anybody else unless you take care of yourself. I found personally I have to be operating from a position of strength and health. I really believe in the medical people who helped me and guided me to a better place.”

Do everything you can in support of first responders.
“I went into that job with a love and respect for first responders, but I came out with a pathological love and respect,” she says. They’re a different kind of person and they’re everyday heroes. Same thing with the military. I feel very, very strongly that we should do everything possible that we can for them, especially if we lose one of them, and do everything we can for their family.”

In case you need a reminder of the lengths first responders went to on 9/11, Tierney recounts this story: “One of the big things that happened to me that day was that I got stuck in the Battery Tunnel. And these guys from Squad 1, whom I knew very well, came through and they knocked on my car and waved,” she recalls. “We all went into the building together, and I’m the only one who came out.

“I went and spoke at their funerals, and I looked right at their families and said, ‘I saw your husband, I saw your dad.’ Mike Esposito, who was the lieutenant, stuck his head in my car—he was a hysterically funny guy—and he gave me a lecture about wearing my helmet. And I looked at his boys and said, ‘Listen to me. On the way into the worst thing in the world—and he knew what he was going into—he stopped with me, he joked with me, he’s giving me safety advice. I’ll tell you what they all did that day. They put their arms around people; they told them where to go, how to behave, and how to get out. And I know they did that because it started with me.”

And with her book, Tierney hopes to carry on their strength.
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Casey Palmettiri
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Posts: 51

« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 04:58:40 pm »

September 11 Images We'll Never Forget
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Casey Palmettiri
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Posts: 51

« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 04:59:27 pm »

The Making of a Memorial

Watch time-lapse photography of the contruction of the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa., from the National Park Foundation and EarthCam

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