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An integral part of memoirs is sharing your memories of local, national, and international events; whether you were personally there, or you were a witness as the events unfolded. Fourteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers were attacked by suicide pilots, and the loss of lives, and resulting impact on survivors and rescuers was, and continues to be, devastating. Make a list of your personal memories of that day, and the days that followed, to allow your descendants an understanding of how their ancestors were affected. Here is my list:

  • The catch in Peter Jennings’ voice as he asked the reporter to repeat the incomprehensible news that the second tower had also been hit.
  • News that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
  • The passengers of a fourth plane, Flight 93, learning of the events from loved ones calling on cell phones, took down their hijackers to prevent additional loss of life.
  • People imprisoned in the upper floors, surrounded by walls of fire, choosing to jump to their deaths. A video of firefighters with lowered heads in the Tower’s ash-filled lobby, as the thuds of bodies could be heard as they hit the ground.
  • My cousin’s husband in California unable to focus on anything, fearful for his childhood friend who worked in one of the towers. (He later received news that his friend was okay, having walked down several flights of stairs in the dark, with a terrified woman behind him clasping his pant belt loop.)
  • Covered in ash, and stumbling through debris, random strangers handing their car keys to people who needed to get home to their families.
  • Jon Stewart, with shaky voice, tearfully sharing with The Daily Show viewers that because the Twin Towers had fallen, he now had a clear view of the Statue of Liberty; freedom for all. He was chastised for showing emotion on television.
  • The free concert in New York City given in gratitude for the firefighters, including The Who and Paul McCartney, whose father had been a firefighter.
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