September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:I walked into my house after dropping off my children at school and going to the grocery store and turned on the TV. The news was on and I saw that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, but no one was sure what was happening at the moment; no one knew the enormity yet of what was occurring. Then the second plane hit. I have family in New York and Boston and immediately tried to call them. I couldn't get through to New York, but reached my sister in Boston. Then I finally reached my parents in New York. As I was talking to my mother, I suddenly looked at the TV and saw only one tower was standing. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I spent the rest of the day in front of the TV in tears. When I picked up my children at school, they didn't know what had happened, except that all the parents were crying. On the way home, I explained to them what had happened and they watched the horrific events with me over and over.
Memory:My strongest memory is just feeling like it was unreal, that we were under siege as I first watched what happened in New York, then Washington, DC and then that field in Pennsylvania. The feeling of how could this possibly be happening here and why so many innocent lives had to be taken. The grief is the strongest emotional memory I have of that day.
Affects:About a month later I wrote this poem which appeared in poeticvoices.com:
c 2001 Nancy Rechtman
On the last day of life as we knew it
Madness rained down from the sky
Horror took over our lives
The heavens let out a great cry.
In one moment of terrible evil
The earth shattered, blow after blow
Now a skeleton teeters above
The abyss gapes madly below.
Mountains of glass and of metal
Once towered so proudly, so grand
Collapsed in a fiery inferno
Entombed thousands with hatred's hand.
Paeans to hopes and to dreams
Lie mangled, so brutally lost
Shrouded in blankets of ashes and dust
At such an unbearable cost.
Our hearts are burning and tortured
Our souls fill with torment so cruel
The ache is so vast and unyielding
A kingdom where only anguish can rule.
Life upon life upon life now gone
So savagely sudden, no more.
We cry out in anger in fear and in rage
Our beings shake to the core.
Our tears flow freely in torrents
Transform into rivers of pain
Wash over our land in the knowledge
That what was will never be again.
But we see the heroes among us
Who emerge from the darkness so bleak
They light the way towards healing
And offer the pride that we seek.
For we are the steel
Though twisted and bent
And smoldering in the ruins
Our wills are of iron
Our souls writhe with pain
No bandage can cover the wounds.
But breath shall once again lift us
Like the Phoenix, we, too, shall rise
As we grasp onto those precious memories
Of our dear ones and silent good-byes.
Let our spirits rise up now in chorus
Let our eyes seek the heavens above
We are truly one nation united
Instead of breaking, we will heal now through love.