The Twin Towers Ten-Years Later

We are Writing Our Own Memorials Each and Every Day

I can best honor those who were lost by living my life to it’s fullest, and not be consumed by anger, anxiety, or depression.

This week, as we approach the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the media will have endless documentaries about the massive terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and of the passengers that tried to take control of a plane that crashed into a field to prevent it from reaching its intended target in Washington D.C..

Despite the raw emotions I feel each and every time I hear about that day, I want to try to focus on the 2,996 casualties and the wonderful memorials of those that were lost as the tenth anniversary draws closer. So many people were murdered that day, that if I were to read just one obituary per day, it would take more than eight-years to read all the memorials. I can best honor those who were lost by living my life to it’s fullest, and not be consumed by anger, anxiety, or depression over the attacks.

Then and now, I live and work figuratively in the shadow of the World Trade Center. The towers were not only a familiar landmark, but where friends, family, neighbors, and employers worked. Whenever a boy I cared for in the 1990’s and I used to take walks we would point at the two towers. I would say, “Your mother and my brother work in the 11,” and he would point at the 11 to show me he understood this is where his mother and my brother worked. (Eleven being the shorthand for the two towers).

In the months after that horrific day, as identities of those that were murdered were confirmed, local newspapers published heartfelt tributes and obituaries from family, friends, and colleagues. The memorials typically shared sentiments such as, “He was the greatest father, the most caring husband, and worlds nicest person,” or “She was the best mother and daughter and the most giving person you could ever meet.” Currently, when my charges visit their mother who works in a building on ground zero, (the spot where the World Trade Center and surrounding building were destroyed), they read lovely tributes and memorials in the building as well.

It is very hard to take any positive lessons from the memories of that day. But, a pivotal moment for me was when a childhood friend who lost her high school sweetheart, husband, and the father of her children on 9/11 said that being angry and anxious is a waste time. She explained that she just wants her kids growing up knowing they had a wonderful father. When she said that I finally realized it was time to focus on the wonderful memories of those lost, rather than being consumed by anger.

I hope in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks I can honor those who lives were lost by remembering that each day, in my personal life and working life, I am writing my future memorial. Each and every day I greatly affect the children I am helping raise working as a nanny. I want to share a loving and positive attitude with my charges. I hope that in 10-years, (and at a much later date in my obituary), my employers and charges can say, with only the slightest bit of hyperbole, “She was the best nanny in the world.”

Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard the Twin Towers had been attacked?


  1. I was getting up for work. When all of a sudden I heard my mom screaming, “God, No! The towers have been hit”! She used to work in the WTC and had a lot of friends still working there. I’ve never seen my mother so emotional. She was crying and calling friends. She called my brother since he was on his way to work late that day headed into NYC and she begged him to come home. He argued that he had a meeting uptown. In the past planes had hit the towers accidentally and it wasn't a big deal. But he wasn't on the subway yet and it was closed so he had to come home. We watched it on the tv and I knew I would not be going to work that day sicne I lived in the Bronx but worked as a nanny on the Upper East Side. I still can't beleive it happened. Still doesn't seem real.

  2. I was driving my charge to a dr appt when I heard it announced on the radio. Living only an hour away from NYC my instincts told me this was not an accident and we were going to lose friends. There is no possible way a pilot could not see the WTC. I tried to call the parents, but needless to say all circuits were busy. Just as we entered into the dr office I looked over at the television and the second plane had just hit. Again,the circuits were still busy. We completed our appointment and decided it would be best to take the boy to school and try and keep the day as normal as I could. But as we arrived at school the office told me just to take him home since they had called to have all children picked up as soon as possible. Many attempts later I successfully reached my my dad boss about 11:00 am and he came home. Sure enough the family I worked for lost 3 friends that day. It would have been worse had it been just an hour later and more people were at work. The neighbor was driving late to work and saw it and turned around and came home. Another neighbor had horrible stories of running over decapitated bodies still holding brief cases. SO much depression and therapy after that in our town. I never felt so much anxiety in my life. My heart is still beating faster as I write this!

  3. I was just getting to work. I didn't have to go to work that day as I had school but I didn't go to class that day, school was right across the river from the towers and I figured it was too nice outside to go to school so I’d work until noon and catch up on laundry for the family I worked for as a nanny. I worked until 9 instead and sped home to my loved ones.

  4. I was sitting in my third grade class looking out the window and I remember this look coming over my teacher's face. I didn't understand why she was so sad. Then she turned on the television and I watched the twin towers fall. I remember it more vividly than any other memory from that long ago in my life. I will never forget that day. And I feel so sorry for all the people who lost their loved ones on that horrible occasion.

  5. I was a sophomore in high school. It was second period and our fire alarm went off. This created some confusion because some people had heard about what happened and some had not. After our school filed back inside we were instructed to go to our third period class where we watched the news and the second plane hit. It was a strange day, nobody could even laugh or crack a smile. We were all worried. You couldn’t help looking up into the blue blue sky and feeling profound sadness when there were no planes landing and taking off from O’Hare. Somebody had an accident in chemistry. That’s why our fire alarm went off.

  6. It was less than a week before my 10th birthday and I was in 5th grade in a suburb of Rochester, NY. All morning, the teachers were acting strange. People kept coming into the classroom and whispering together. We went out to the playground around 11:00, but my teacher pulled me inside early. The hallways were crowded with parents yelling and running around trying to find their kids. My teacher led me to my aunt and cousin (who was in 4th grade). My aunt explained quickly what had happened and took us home. We sat around the TV at our grandparents' house all day. My mom couldn't leave work, but I called her at least 10 times, begging her to come home. She worked at Hallmark and had only one woman come in that day. The next day, my teacher told us about a group of exchange students she had gone to NYC with the previous spring. When they visited the Twin Towers, they all laid on their backs on the ground right at the base of the buildings and stared up at the towers. She said it looked almost like they reached all the way to Heaven. Well, maybe they did.

  7. I remember going to work that day full of problems and sorrow about a bad marriage and terrible job. I watched in a crowded break room at work as the second plane hit live on TV. I can remember the silence in the room and a low moan from someone. One lady shook her head and covered her mouth with her eyes wide in terror. I felt my knees buckle a bit before I caught myself and then the tears came. The entire day was full of shock and tears — suddenly in a fraction of an instant my entire focus shifted away from myself and all my worries. How could my life's woes be anything compaired to all those lost? My self-pity and loathing was nothing compaired to that loss. My worries for my future shelved as I had little to worry about as I had a loving family that I was going home to — and I cried harder thinking of those children who would never see their family members ever again. That night I went home watched the television until I couldn't bear to see the horror any longer and laid in bed and prayed — prayed for all those families, for the rescue workers, for everyone who couldn't ask for help. Even a year after it all happened I still cry in private for all those lost — and try to help wherever I find the need without holding any of what I am back.

  8. I was sleeping at home in Seattle. I remember my mom coming in and saying “There’s something the kids and teachers will probably be talking about” and she told me all about it. I didn’t really understand the severity of the situation at the time because I was only 10 years old but I remember seeing clips of the towers blowing up and hearing about all the people that died.

  9. I was working as a nanny in a house with a gorgeous view of the WTC from the living room of the house I worked in. The kids were in school. I watched it on tv. I called my boss begged her to come home as she works in NYC. She argued with me, but the roads got shut down going into New York so she had to come home. The father picked up the kids from school. The mother and I watched the scene from her front yard. We cried like crazy. Since they live on a mountain hundreds of people stood outside just looking and watching in complete silence. When I saw it fall there was nothing we could say. Just shock. I didn't leave work right away because I didn't want to be alone. Next day we started hearing of the people that never came home or were accounted for yet. Eight people from the town died and one was a father of a student in the school my charges go to. We heard stories from the survivors though. After all of these years you would think remembering the day would get easier. It doesn’t. I still get choked up and I cry. I’m so afraid of losing the details. I’ve been to the World Trade Center site so many times since, and I see the buildings that survived, and I think about this is where this happened.

  10. It's crazy that I could watch this unfold with my naked eye but couldn't help the people. So close it could have been us. Why them and not us?

  11. I happened to be off that day. I remember that when I first turned on the news, no one knew that it was a terrorist attack. Even the newscasters thought it was simply a horrible accident. Then I saw the second plane hit, and I stood there in my lving room with my mouth hanging open. I had errands to run, so I left, and listened to the radio broadcasts. I made it to a store with a news broadcast on the televisions that were for sale just in time to see the first tower come down. There were a number of people standing around at the time, and we just stared at each other. When the second tower came down, we held on to one another and cried. It was a moment that I will never forget. Nor will I forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was shaking then and will be if I watch the news coverage this week about the anniversary. I still can't help but cry and shake when I talk about it.

  12. I was a senior in high school in a town about 5 mins away from NYC in NJ. I was in my first period class which was sociology and the department head came into the classroom and spoke with the teacher. She then relayed the message that a plane struck the wtc. We turned on the news and horrifically saw the next plane hit. My teacher broke down crying and stated ” This is not good” Everyone from my school just left because so many people had parents that worked in the city. Its still sad to see the empty skyline.

  13. I was at school in history class in 8th grade whrn our principal came in and told us all to call our parents as many of them worked on wall street. Those who could not get in touch with their parents were crying. Classes were cancelled but we weren't allowed to go home because many parents weren't home yet. The next day at school we couldn't go outside for lunch or reciess. It was very windy, eerily so, and there was ash and smoke hovering over our school. The smell and the fog that was blowing around us still sends chills up my spine. It was as if the spirits were escaping from the ruble up to heaven. There was white smoke that billowed from the site for about 2 years after the attack. Whenever I looked at it I tried to remember where I saw it in the landscape so I wouldn't ever forget where they used to be.

  14. I was on my way to work on a train from Northern NJ into Hoboken NJ and heard on the train that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane and we wouldn't be able to get into NY. So, I called a friend that lived in Hoboken and went to her condo. We spent the rest of the day glued to the TV and crying, anxious, not believing the tragedy or the bravery we were seeing. I’ll never forget that day. I felt so helpless and scared. I called my family and luckily they were ok. Perhaps the worst news was all the hundreds of people donating blood at NYC hospitals, but no patients coming to the hospitals because they perished when the buildings collapsed. I will not be watching the coverage this week. I know everything I need to know about it already.

  15. I live in Perth Australia, I was 16 years old and never thought i'd live to see something so terribly horrifying. It was around 8:30pm and I was going back to my then boyfriend's aunties house after going to the movies. As soon as we walked through the front door we sat down and watched the images of the World Trade Centre enveloped in flames. At first I didn't understand what was happening, it seemed so confusing at first but I later went back home to find my parents watching the exact same images. I asked them what was going on and they told me that planes had flown into the twin towers. I stayed up that whole night watching the chilling images of the planes flying into the two buildings, school practically stopped that next day. My mum later told me that my auntie had visited the World Trade Centre the day before they came down, which really freaked me out. I can't remember how many times I cried that week and the extreme anger I felt towards the beasts who killed many innocent people. Now I know just how evil man can be and how much damage they can cause. My heart goes out to the citizens of America, especially those who lost loved ones in the event of 9/11. Also, I salute the emergency services for risking their own lives in an attempt to save others.

  16. I was at work, mom boss in WTC building one. Father came home picked up kids from school. We couldn't get in contact with mom. Finally about noon we finally connected with her. She left right away and hopped on a ferry. Everyone was fine and talking about it, then they turned the corner and saw the building had fallen, and all went silent. She works back on the site now. They lost 8 people in their office.

  17. On 9/11 I was sitting in the traffic on a bus coming from Carteret, NJ (116 bus) heading to the Port Authority. With a full view of the twin towers, my friend and I were on our way to work. We saw the one tower burning. As we sat in traffic the fire spread and I then uttered "that isn't a small fire". We then proceeded through the tunnel. We got into Port Authority and news surfaced of "two planes colliding over the world trade center". I had a gut feeling of concern but I was already running late for work and had to make a split-second decision to go home and forfeit a day out of work or go to work. Some commuters got on the bus and went home – everyone was silent in the Port Authority. When I got in the office I thought I had "news to share". Instead, I was the one receiving word at the office that "NY is under attack and if you can go home! Go…" which I did not get home that night until midnight and it was through the Path Trains to Jersey City and we had to wait for the NJ Tpk to open for my husband to get to me at my mom's in Bayonne. I still feel how stupid and naive I was and I kick myself for not getting on the return bus back home. I will NEVER FORGET! We also lost 3 commuters from our bus 116 on 9/11.Grace

  18. I was at my nanny job and had dropped the kids at school and was cleaning the kitchen and watching a news segment on apple picking when it was interrupted with word that a plane had hit the world trade center. I called my boss crying telling her to come home. She said she had a meeting midtown so not to worry. But the police closed the tunnels. She called me back and said to go pick up the kids and bring them home. I probably shouldn't have let the kids watch the coverage with me, but I did. Finally my mom boss came home and we cried. My dad boss was already in the city and couldn't come home. He knew a lot of firefighters so he just started walking from hospital to hospital and finally found a friend ok in the hospital. The air would cut their eyes if they didn't wear proper protection. His one friend in the hospital had bloody eyes. Sadly dad boss lost 5 friends that were firefighters. Still can't beleive it happened. I was never so upset and anxious in all my life.

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