twin tower attack

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Today, we remember the 2,996 people killed in the cowardly terrorist attacks on the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Today, we remember the 1,400+ first responders who have died in the years since the attack from illnesses related to that day. Today, we uplift the families of the victims and the survivors who walked from the rubble. Today, we remember the raw emotion we felt, the shock and anger, the unity and love. Today, we renew our pledges of “never again” and “never forget.” 

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The Surreal Early Morning TV of 9/11, Just Before the Attacks

15 years ago my first grade class was moved into the gym with the rest of the school before normal ending time. We weren’t allowed to leave until they got in contact with someone to guarantee there’d be someone to take us off the bus.

When my sister and I got home my dad was there but his suit was covered in soot. He told us that he had to walk out of Manhattan because trains weren’t running because the Twin Towers were attacked and collapsed.

It didn’t make sense to me. Two weeks ago we had been on the roof of one of the towers when we went to visit my mom at work, as she worked on that block. How could they just not be there anymore?

And worse where was my mom?

She didn’t get home until late at night, dirty and exhausted. We hadn’t been able to contact her and until that moment we didn’t even know if she was still alive.

I ran to her crying and screaming how I thought she was dead and I didn’t let go of her for the rest of the night.

I was lucky. There are many people who’s parents or friends did not walk in their door that night. Who didn’t get to hug them and hold on all night.

We will always remember the people who were working in that building and didn’t make it home that night. The brave men and women who went into the chaos in order to try and bring someone out.

We will never forget.

I was twelve years old when 9/11 happened. I remember a strange hushed frantic air to the class. There was something going on and it was slowly rippling through the school. To be completely honest I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was back then, but I could tell that something serious had happened. We were all let out early and given advice on how to get home. Luckily I didn’t have far to walk home. The streets were packed with people all walking somewhat aimlessly–in a fog–waiting until they could get home and make sure the news was real for themselves. When I did get home, the planes were crashing into the buildings over and over, on repeat. It made me slightly sick and I turned the TV off.

I never visited the memorial until this past year, and it’s a beautiful place. There’s a mournful stillness about it, and yet still so much hustle and bustle going on outside the memorial that it’s perfect. The heart of New York, still beating after a trauma.

- David Isler, New York City, NY