From the Archives, Updated: September 11, 2001

September 11, 2005 | 8 comments
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September 11, 2001. Four years have passed–four more nails in the cross, one called Katrina–but we remember.

2001 was the year. 2749 were the number who died. Some of them died in the bowels of the towers when the towers fell. Some died beating on the doors to the roof, kept locked after the bombing in 1993. Some leapt out their windows to plummet through the air. Firemen rushed heedless into the dark unknown, into the maelstrom of cries and dust, and passed there beyond the world of men. Rick Rescorla, security chief for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, sang Men of Harlech. He was last seen carrying a crippled member of his firm down the stairs.

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In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, America weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

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8 Responses to From the Archives, Updated: September 11, 2001

  1. Stref on September 11, 2005 at 2:32 pm

    [Mocking Deleted -ed.]

  2. jjohnsen on September 11, 2005 at 4:31 pm

    If you want to lighten the tone, you can sing happy birthday to me, 31 today.

  3. D. Fletcher on September 11, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    Happy 31st Birthday, jj!

    I experienced the destruction of the WTC, live, from the rooftop of my office building. Needless to say, it was a terrible time and worthy of great mourning.

  4. John H on September 11, 2005 at 9:18 pm

    Nice thoughts, Adam. What a horrible day. I’ll never forget how I felt, and the anger I still feel.

  5. gst on September 11, 2005 at 9:45 pm

    There’s a good article about Rick Riscorla, that Celtic warrior, hero of Cyprus, Rhodesia, the Ia Drang Valley, and Manhattan, here:

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?020211fa_FACT1

  6. Adam Greenwood on September 12, 2005 at 1:17 pm
  7. manaen on September 12, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    My girl freind and I went to NYC two months after 9/11. The WTC’s splayed facia still stood. The smell of decomposing flesh was strong as crews continued to clear the site. The photos on the fences and subway walls still called for missing loved ones. LDS from around the world sent cards that were posted in the cultural hall of the chapel where the Manhattan temple now is. Their messages were comforting, but it was difficult to read one card from an innocent Primary boy, unable to accept the evil of this act, who wrote that he was sorry about their “accident.” New Yorkers are a resilient tribe: as we told them we were from LA, come to offer support, they uniformly had the attitude that they’re New Yorkers and don’t need someone to take care of them — but thanks for coming and spend some money. I noticed that the locals were friendlier than I recalled. One billboard in Times Square brandished a message that stays with me: “We Live As Many — We Stand As One.” Today’s E Pluribus Unum.

    I saw Americans’ wonderful ability to discriminate six months later in a seminar for related small-business people. We had people from around the country in our group of eight and we enjoyed working together on our projects throughout the week. On the last day, one of our group, a pleasant, dark-skinned woman thanked us for how well we’d accepted her. Puzzled by her comment, we asked her to explain. She said that she’d expected to be shunned, at best, after 9/11 because she was from Pakistan. None of us had even thought of 9/11 to her. Our sadness at the anxiety she revealed surprised her. Our response was, “But, *you* didn’t do it.” THEN she revealed that she used to work in the WTC and had been in its lobby when the ‘plane hit. She was one of the victims, but had worried how we would treat her.

  8. Todd on September 12, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve lived in NYC since 1997. My apartment was in the “frozen zone” below 14th St. I was around Ground Zero for various reasons about 8 or 10 times in the few months that followed. I smelled and saw many things. The particulate fallout from the site destroyed my air conditioner and caused me to wake with a dry, burning cough for the better part of 2 1/2 months. But never did I see any evidence of the remains and never did I smell burning flesh. I am compelled to suggest that the composition of the acrid smell that anyone except those actually recovering the remains might have smelled would have been overwhelmingly inorganic in nature.
    I was also involved in the youth program at the time. The stake’s position in the week or two that followed the attack was to keep things as “on track” as possible. I, personally, had a very difficult time with this. Others did not seem to be as affected, but I don’t believe in the notion that what people need is to keep their routine when they are affected by tragedy, but I digress. Yes, many LDS congregations sent things to us–especially to “our” youth. I don’t fault them for that…but we did end up with boxes of things that we needed to distribute. Fortunately very few LDS members were killed in the WTC (I’m only aware of two) and comparatively few were directly affected (meaning injured or lost family members/close friends). Some were. Most weren’t–more or less because NYC is very large and the statistical likelihood was simply somewhat low. So we had boxes of things–we gave them to the youth. It was a friendly gesture, as I said, but I compare it to–well, what do you do if a family member dies in a ward? Most people don’t know what to do so they make some food and take it over. It’s a gesture–meant well–we don’t know what to do so we do something we know. Well, that’s what it was like. We appreciated the well meaning gestures, but we were not the ones who lost so much. Things sent to us (and there were about 10 boxes if I recall) were distributed as fairly and thoughtfully as possible. I don’t know what that says about us. It’s just what we did. I don’t know if any items were sent to the charities that were for the actual orphaned (non-LDS) children–it’s possible that nothing was sent–many of the items came with cards that were clearly addressed to an LDS audience.
    But at this anniversery, I’m grateful that some of the attention was deflected by the needs in the South. I apologize for that, but it’s true. In all truth, when I think deeply enough about the attacks, I begin to remember how I felt living in Manhattan all the way into spring of 2002. There was a dull ache of stress–too many explosions. A plane crashed in November…the city was on alert. My roommate took Cipro because he worked at NBC on the floor were the anthrax was opened. A homeless man died on the street in front of my apartment–probably from inhaling too much of the dust–it was clear he was not very healthy to begin with. It was a burden I don’t like to remember.
    On the 1 year mark, I went to Union Square, which is were I found community solace in the daily candlelight vigils immediately after the attacks. But one year later it was all about politics.
    Now four years later, I find I don’t want to remember. I want to respect and not forget, but I don’t want to remember.
    At some point it’s just better to remember the happier times. It’s better to “remember” the future.
    But that said, I, like most New Yorkers (surveyed in the NYTimes), feel very confident that we will be attacked again. I have stored materials including water. My 72 hour kit includes gas masks, advanced first-aid items, iodine pills, a fair amount of cash, and basically everything but a bio-suit and those I have priced many times. I will be genuinely surprised if I find in twenty years that I never have used them.

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