My September 11 Story

Pancakes. 911

I was making pancakes.

My then four-year-old son Adam was the only one of my kids awake, and we stood at the stove (he in a chair next to me).  My husband stood in the living room, catching the last few minutes of news before he headed off to work.  Suddenly he called to me:

"Shannon, come here!  A plane flew into the World Trade Center!" 

I ran into the living room and watched with him in shock.  What a terrible accident, I thought.  "I wonder how a pilot could make a mistake like that on such a clear day?" my husband wondered.  We shook our heads sadly.

He left for work, and Adam and I resumed our pancake-making, though now I turned on the tiny black-and-white TV I kept atop my refrigerator for watching the morning news.  I listened to the newscasters share my sadness and concern at such a horrible accident.  Because it had to be an accident.  It had to be.

A few minutes later, as Adam ate, I called my dad to make sure he had heard about it; he didn’t have access to a TV at his office, and I figured he was unaware that this had taken place.  As we talked, I happened to glance up at the TV just in time to see, live, what looked like another plane hitting the building.  My jaw dropped and I stammered into the phone.

"Wha…Dad…what in the…I think…a plane….I just…I’ll call you right back."

I hung up, turned up the news, and I realized the awful truth:  this wasn’t an accident.

I immediately called my Dad back:  "Get to a TV," I told him, and I called my husband, who hadn’t even finished his commute.  Oh, how I needed to hear his voice. 

Like the rest of the world, I spent the rest of the morning glued to the television.  As my other children awakened, I kept Veggie Tales videos going in the back bedroom, trying to keep them away from the horror I couldn’t stop watching in the living room.  Most of that day is a blur to me, though a few stark moments stand out…

…feeling my first real panic when the third plane hit the Pentagon.  "The sky is falling," I thought to myself.

…standing in front of the television at the moment the first tower fell.  I literally reached out my hands to the TV in a nonsensical effort to stop it from falling.

…sitting in the nursery with then four-month-old Joseph, rocking him, nursing him, and weeping.

…embracing my husband when he came home that day, thinking with horror of the wives that would not be able to welcome their husbands home.

And I remember, in all the horror, was the way our nation pulled together.  The flags flying from cars and homes and offices and schools.  Politicians joining hands in song and prayer.  Americans standing with each other.  I don’t miss the horror of those days, but I miss the unity. 

As the 5th anniversary approaches, my prayers are with those who lost family members that awful day.

If you’re sharing your own 9/11 memories on your blog, please leave your link below.  Feel free to set up a Mr. Linky at your own site as well.  If you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to leave your memories in my comment section.

118 thoughts on “My September 11 Story

  1. Renee says:

    I agree! It will be interesting to read everyone’s posts. 9/11 was a day no one will ever forget. Shannon, I too miss that unity that our country had immediatly following 9/11.

  2. Trisha says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful idea. Five years, it is so hard to believe. About a week ago it hit me as I saw the expiration date stamped on my carton of milk Sept 11, 2006. Seeing that brought back all the memories of that day. Never forget……

  3. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    I hope that by remembering this weekend, we remember where we need to be again… drawing near to each other and Him like before. Too many of us have already moved on and forgotten. This is a good time to wake-up.

  4. zoe says:

    Might blog it later, but I had my school age kids at home because there was a burst water main at the school. Eldest spotted the first plane whiel flicking through channels. I rememebr tryign and trying to get onto news websites but they were all down or just jammed. So the kids went to another room and I jsut sat there in front of the tv, shocked!

  5. Jodi says:

    I blogged about this (and memories from the Challenger explosion) a few months ago, so I linked to that.
    Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear from people who remember the days JFK died and especially the attack on Pearl Harbor?

  6. Rhonda says:

    I must say that I am glad that I was at work that morning. I don’t know how I would handle the memories of seeing live the second plane hit the second tower. I still think a lot about hearing the plane hit the Pentagon.

  7. Alli says:

    What a wonderful way to bring us all together again. We all have different lives and got to where we all by different paths, but we all have memories of where we were/what we were doing on 9/11.

  8. peach says:

    Once again, Shannon, thanks for being the hostess with the mostest : ) You have inspired me to take another look at that day with a renewed perspective.

  9. Homeschool Mama says:

    Thank you for getting this together. I plan on reading several of the entries to my oldest on Monday and talking about the horrible day. I think these personal accounts will really help her feel the sadness of the day.

  10. GiBee says:

    Great post, Shannon … Your emotions and thoughts were very similar to my own, as I’m sure they were to pretty much everyone… Amazing. How can we forget?
    May I post mine tomorrow?

  11. Michele says:

    Hey Shannon, this weeks Blogging Chicks Carnival has the same theme. I’ve opened the Carnival up to all women so if you or your readers would like to submit their rememberance they can just email me.

  12. Maggie says:

    I was working on a military base. They sent us home. We were not allowed back for 4 or 5 days. Then I had to go to Boston a 3 weeks later… The entire world changed.

  13. tracey says:

    thnx Shannon- it was hard to write- (even harder than I thought it would be- )But remembering is imperative.
    With prayers for our tropps who are fighting aginst terrorism- ts

  14. tracey says:

    thnx Shannon- it was hard to write- (even harder than I thought it would be- )But remembering is imperative.
    With prayers for our troops who are fighting aginst terrorism- ts

  15. Barb says:

    You made me stop and remember exactly where I was, what I was doing and all the emotions I felt that day and for several days thereafter. So later today, when my grandbaby leaves, I’ll do this, too.

  16. Laura says:

    Hi Shannon!
    I’ve linked to my memories of that day… I am also participating in “2996”, the tribute to the victims of 911 (my entry is titled “Just One Man”). Both of these posts are up now, and will be sticky at the top of my blog until around midnight on Monday, so no one has to scroll through my entire ramblings to see them.
    Thanks for this… I was wanting a reason to write down my resurfaced emotions from that day, and this gave me that chance.
    It was hard, very emotional, to go through it again… those feelings are just right under the surface, and are so easily stirred. We should never forget how we felt that day…

  17. Michelle says:

    We were stationed in Guam at the time and my husband was on a 7 month deployment to the Middle East. I was at home by myself(in Guam) with our firstborn, Katie (one month old at the time) trying to survive being a new mom alone and get through my husband’s deployment. My mom called me in the middle of the night (Guam time) and I turned on the military channel news to see the horror unfold. I remember feeling more alone than I had ever felt after we hung up the phone and wondering why we would bring our new baby into such a horrible world. I also remember being afraid that I would not see my husband again, with him being in the middle east. Shortly thereafter we had a 7.0 earthquake in Guam and I decided that was my last straw. I bought a plane ticket to the states and Katie and I went to stay with our family back home for 3 months and returned to Guam right before my husband came home from his deployment. September 11 was my first reality check with the true evil that exists in the world. If I hadn’t known the saving grace and promises of Jesus, I don’t think I would have made it through that extremely hard time.
    My heart aches for the families that were directly affected by it. I still remember many of their faces and names from newscasts and interviews immediately after the tragedy. They will be etched in my heart forever.
    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to them and allowing us to share our story.

  18. Emily says:

    Thanks for doing this Shannon. Every single story I’ve read so far has given me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I think we each can relate to every single one. It has inspired me to write down my own memories for my children. Working on writing it has stirred up some very raw feelings, making me realize that I have yet to completely heal from it. And then I think about all of the individuals that lost actual family and friends, and I can’t even begin to imagine their feelings. Praying that they are finding peace in their lives…

  19. Darlne says:

    That was a horrible morning. I was the only person I knew without television at the time. We had a T.V., but we couldn’t get reception because we only used it for kids videos. My parents taped the news footage for us, and it was horrifying.
    That post is a wonderful way to remember.

  20. Pamela says:

    I’m sorry I hit enter – before I got my correct URL – fingers were fidgety
    My son in law was in the military and I had to change my flight from 9/11 to 9/10 to accomodate his schedule.
    I was so happy I wasn’t lost in some airport like 1000’s of people all over the country.

  21. mimi2six says:

    It seems that every generation has an earth-shaking event that they always remember when/where/how they heard the news. I was a senior in high school when JFK was assassinated, and though that was a hard thing to get through, especially for those of us who were young, the impact of it pales in comparison to the horror of 9/11/01. The whole thing was so incredibly awful, it was surreal. I kept thinking, “This just can’t be happening.” I’m glad our nation is making a big deal out of this 5th anniversary….it’s appropriate and right that we do so.

  22. Becky says:

    Thank you for hosting this….I had clear, vivid memories of that day but it wasn’t until I wrote about it that I realized the intensity of all the emotions.

  23. Cindi says:

    Thanks for this hosting idea, I will be posting mine on Sunday at midnight. I have already posted my 2996 dedication to a great American lost that day.

  24. Deborah Li says:

    I remember i was doing my final year in secondary school back home in Singapore… it was the night before my first final exam paper… When the plane hit, my dad ran out of the room and said, “Everyone, come watch the tv now!” We all ran into my parents room and watched with horror… USA was hit on home soil.
    Boy, I didn’t want to go do my exam the next day. No body was in the mood in school.. we were so depressed. I remember praying over and over again for the people who had lost their loved ones so suddenly and thanking God that my loved ones were next to be.
    I remember my dad saying days after that religious extremists have been threatening US for years. No one thought it would actually happen… until now… It was one of those days and weeks after u never forget.

  25. Jaime says:

    Thanks for hosting. I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to read as I’m still a little raw from it all, but I definitely want my children to know about it in the years to come.

  26. Waya says:

    I wasn’t sure how to write a 9/11 post until I saw this. Thanks for inspiring me to commemorate, celebrate and reflect on the lives of 2,996 victims of 9/11.

  27. Gego says:

    I was preparing and dreading an all day inservice on abberant child behavior when the first plane hit. Instants before I was leaving the house, the second plane hit. I saw it and watched in disbelief. I journeyed to the meeting where we had a 15 minute break each hour and a half. We were were glued to the TV. I remember the feelings of horror and sorrow and fear and a desperate feeling of needing to be home, on my knees in prayer. Safe. Lunch was out of the question. The 30 minutes we had were spent in my car listening to radio reports, calling my mother to check on her safety. The only peace I felt that day was knowing my son and daughter-in-law would protect their children at all cost. I knew my daughter was strong and would seek safety and be comforting her friends. The first thing I did when I got home was reach for my Bible for the comfort and consistency and familiarity. Then, prayers. Lots of them. Prayers for the souls I knew were gone, prayers for the loved ones left behind, prayers for our President, prayers for the Police and Firemen, prayers for the survivors. Prayers. Comfort, solace, protection from the horor my heart and mind could not fathom then and cannot now. Trusting God that the nightmare of 9/11 would never touch another city in our country. Still praying and still trusting, and still thankful, so incredibly selfishly thankful my family is safe.

  28. motherkitty says:

    I’m here from Susie’s Space. Thank you for writing about your memories of 9/11. Your feelings, I’m sure, echo what every person in this country felt that day and the days that followed this horrific attack.
    I invite everyone to visit my site to read my tribute to Cynthia Wilson who was killed when the WTC Tower 1 fell.

  29. PastorMac's Ann says:

    I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together for 3 days now. I finally got it done.
    Even now, that day is still incomprehensible to me.
    Thanks for the tough challenges as well as the funny one Shannon.

  30. e-Mom says:

    Thanks for doing this, Shannon. *-)
    I never listen to the radio in the morning, but on that terrible September day, I had the overwhelming urge to turn it on. When I did, the newscaster was in the middle of describing the collapse of the first tower. It was uncanny! I watched the news for days afterwards… way too much. My 9/11 post is called “Helping Our Kids Process the News.” It includes some quotes about age-appropriate discussion ideas from Common Sense Media. Please stop by for a visit! Thanks again.

  31. Melissa says:

    I have a tribute up for Keiichiro, who died in the WTC… and like you, I did many of the same things.. Keeping my son away form the tv- calling my friends at work (we are military) and one I even brought a tv to because she couldn’t get one. It was insane- and I can’t even believe it’s been 5 years. You know a weird reaction i had? I remember when I had my baby at the park, and a plane flew over. I point and said, “Look Nathan, a plane” and he looked up and clapped, while I tried hard to hold back my tears…

  32. kailani says:

    Thank you for putting this together. It’s a great way for people to join together and share their experiences with each other.
    I have a tribute to Madeline Sweeney up at my site as well as my memories of that morning.

  33. Joy M says:

    I wasn’t going to, still felt to raw to come up with words, but I did. Yeah, it was as simple a thing as making pancakes, but it’s etched in our memories forever.

  34. Bessers says:

    Thanks. I want to always remember. Writing about it for my blog helped remind me, as well as serve as a way to preserve my memories to tell my son when he’s old enough. (He’s only a year old.)

  35. Blessed Beyond Measure says:

    “I was making pancakes.” States the normalcy we were all busy with, just our regular lives. Reading your post, I now remember all the flags that kept appearing on neighbor’s porches, businesses. The pride I felt seeing them. It’s good to remember. Our flag has not come down one day since. It’s a bit faded and tattered, but it’s still waving.

  36. Kristy says:

    Thanks for the idea. I wanted to do something and didn’t know what to do. I bought magezines to keep for my kids someday and had always meant to write about what I was doing and how I felt, so thanks for helping!

  37. Biker Betty says:

    How can we forget? It was so hard to just sit there and watch the destruction and not be able to do anything. I had just missed the first plane, but was horrified at watching the second plane crash. It seemed too hard to believe.
    Going thru Blogging Chicks. I “Remembered” and I also did a tribute to a fallen firefighter from the day.

  38. Theresa says:

    Hey S, I decided to finally write about my experience on 9-11. Litte did I know DH was writing one to post on my blog too! So both are up. I just realized I didn’t use your button that everyone is using because I had an important pic to post for my story. Thanks for generating the idea – as always.

  39. Heather says:

    Thanks for gathering all these stories here — it’s comforting to read what others were going through that day. It was a shocking experience that brought our nation together.

  40. Heather says:

    Shannon, Sorry I left two links to my blog up there. I’m new to the Mr. Linky thing! #138 is the correct one to my post, if you want to delete the other one. šŸ™‚

  41. Barbara H. says:

    I wanted to save my post for today, and I wanted to wait to read other people’s posts until after I had gotten my thoughts down. I’ll be spending part of today reading some of the other posts here, remembering.
    Thanks, Shannon.

  42. Andrea says:

    Thanks for hosting this. I think it’s important to still process all that happened. I too wanted to wait until today to post. Now, I’ll go visit others. Thanks again.

  43. Momish says:

    Thanks for hosting and giving us the opportunity to remember and know that each of us has a story to tell, a memory to cherish and others to share them with.

  44. Susie says:

    Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share personal feelings related to 9/11. It is so important to remember. I am touched by all the stories I’ve read.

  45. Susan P. says:

    Thank you so much for doing this. Isn’t it something that although everyone’s story is different ie. where they were, etc., the feelings this tragedy evoked are all the same.

  46. Holly Schwendiman says:

    My comments keep getting eaten but I just wanted to say how incredible it is to be part of the connection of so many people sharing thoughts and feelings on this event at the same time.

  47. Karla says:

    One can’t say “great post!” to this. I’m sure we’d all rather not be posting about this today…wishing it had never happened…hoping it doesn’t again. I’ll say “well said”, how’s that?
    What an ugly, evil day. :<
    Yes, I wish somebody could've caught the buildings, like you tried to. I may have even done the same thing as you…reaching out…helpless. šŸ˜¦
    I agree with your comment about not missing the horror, but missing the unity.

  48. Tiffany Locke says:

    I just left my name on your list of stories of what we were all doing that awful day. My husband is an airline pilot and 9/11 is in the back of my mind almost everyday. I’m always praying for his safety as well as others. I will tell you this— there nothing like hearing my phone ring or the garage door open to let me know that My husband is safe. Thanks for letting us share.

  49. Julie says:

    Great story. I am amazed at all the different posts today. I am just sitting here with Kleenex remember how horrible it all was. My husband was out of town that day and I just remember calling him over and over throughout the day making sure he was okay.

  50. Karen says:

    Shannon, thank you for the chance to participate in this remarkable gathering of 9/11 stories! This was cathartic for me, because it was the first time since those traumatic events occurred that I let myself dwell on what that day was like.
    Someone mentioned memories of the Challenger explosion and wondered whether anyone remembered when Kennedy died. I was an 8th grader when he was assassinated, and we learned first that he had been shot, then shortly after, that he had died, while at school.
    My son (now 21) was in the high chair in our kitchen when I saw the Challenger shuttle explode.
    None of these events seemed real as they happened. They only drew validity as we experienced them over time and absorbed what happened through all our senses.

  51. CJ says:

    Wow, over 200 people. I don’t remember if I added my link, so I’m doing it now. Yesterday was such a long exhausting day. Thanks for doing this post. Let’s never forget.

  52. Manic Mom says:

    I posted my actual journal entry from Sept. 11, 2001 on my blog. My third child was 9 days old and I couldn’t believe I would bring a child into a world like this. Now that he’s five, I know why he’s here. Children are the light of the world. and they can make this world a better place.
    I really like your blog!

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