10 Years Later: Reflections on the Anniversary of 9/11

 

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 upon us, APB would like to take a few moments to reflect on the events of that day, remember the sacrifices that have been made in the years since, and share our hopes for the future.
We invite you to connect with us. Leave a comment and tell us where you were on that day, how you’ve seen the world change, and how you would like it to continue to evolve for future generations.  
“I was overseas on 9/11, enjoying a wonderful lunch with locals on a Tuscan hilltop, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards bursting with grape clusters. What I remember most was feeling the juxtaposition of having had that serene moment at the exact moment the US was in turmoil with planes crashing into the Twin Towers and other places, as people were hurting – and they were dying. My first instinct of course was to call home and get there as fast as I could, and being that all flights were suspended I wasn’t able to. I was overwhelmed with fear and had a helpless feeling of being so far away. I was disconnected from family and friends and the country I love, and couldn’t do anything to help – I couldn’t even get home. Once back on US soil, reality hit hard with what had happened and I knew then that our lives would never be the same.”
-Brenda (@BrendaKane), Senior Agent
“I was a senior in high school and in my French class when my teacher got a call from a friend in Italy saying that a plane crashed into the one of the Twin Towers. We turned on the TV to watch the coverage and witnessed the second plane hit the other tower. For the rest of the day everyone was glued to the TV and calling family and friends in the New York City and DC area to make sure they were okay. I was in my American government class watching the coverage when the towers fell. My initial reaction was shock and sadness, but then I wanted to do anything I could to help. My friends and I waited three hours to give blood the following day, attended vigils, and donated whatever money we could raise. What I remember most was the unity and support of everyone, which made me proud to be an American.”
-Alicia, Executive Assistant
“I’d been shocked by the assassination of JFK, actually witnessed the assassination of RFK on live TV while watching his victory speech in the California primary, relived over and over the MLK assassination in the media, and was shocked by the explosion of the space shuttle live on TV, but 9/11 was the world-changing cataclysm of them all. I’m sorry to say that the world has changed for the worse as time’s gone by. The initial feelings of patriotism and willingness to sacrifice and help those directly affected – of being one nation – are gone. America is a more confused, desolate, and selfishly material society than it was before. What could have been a wake-up call was instead a squandered opportunity. To me, the greater tragedy has occurred and continues to worsen after the attack.”
-Ken (@eisenk), VP
“I remember that morning with surprising clarity. My most vivid memory of the day was seeing my high school theater director’s reaction. Normally an easygoing guy – more of a friend to all of us than a teacher – the look on his face will always be cemented into my memory. Disbelief, angst, sadness, and so many other emotions there aren’t even names for flashed at once through his eyes. That was truly the point that the reality of what was happening sunk in for me.”
-Sherri, Event Services
“I was a freshman in high school and, at the time, we didn’t really understand the global impact 9/11 had and what it meant to be under terrorist attack. It was a concept we hadn’t really learned about, and we were experiencing it firsthand. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, our nation became united in the sense that we were all feeling the same way: vulnerable, angry, damaged. All our negativity was focused toward the people who did this, and the government that’s supposed to protect us. It also forced us to depend on each other as we tried to rebuild our lives and recover. There was a surge of patriotism and it truly felt like everyone in America was one big community fighting for the same goal. As time went on, those feelings faded and that distrust of the people responsible for 9/11 was then cast upon everyone else. People now look at those around them with suspicion, prejudice, and guardedness, as if always on alert for strange behavior like we’ve been trained to do.”
-Deanna, Accounting
“As a fully grown adult I think I have come to understand those hard-wired psychological fears that promote the worst behavior in our species. Humans are easily led to commit horrors based on the most illogical of ideas. The practice of religion is so often perverted for this use that I wonder why the victims of wars are not more active in trying to disempower the institutions which totally violate the single most important message: Treat others as you wish to be treated. On September 11, as we remember all of those who died in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the three airplanes, plus the enormous numbers in homes and streets of Iraq and Afghanistan and 6,000 men and women in our military, spend some time reflecting on the root cause of this ‘culture war.’ Humans can be led to fear, hate, and murder so easily.”
-Bob D., Senior VP
“The day I watched the towers fall I was at work and I can remember thinking that each of the families involved got up like I did that morning – the kids who were in the daycare were dropped off with kisses and lunches, the adults in the building had raced out the door to deal with traffic. They all walked away from the people they loved without any idea that they’d never do so again. Since 9/11 I take special care to remind the people in my life that they matter to me and I try not to take my moments for granted.”
-Michele (@MicheleAPBSpeak), Agent
“I was at APB working and had only been on the job a little over 2 weeks. I remember phone calls coming in from family and friends to tell us to turn on our TV or radio. That we were being attacked. As a TV was turned on in our office I watched as the second plane hit the tower. It felt surreal. Like I was watching a movie. It seemed like everyone, the White House, the media, the general public, were just in awe and completely confused about what was happening. I remember it took a while before we were all convinced that what we were seeing on the TV screen was real. And once that realization struck, then the fear set in. The fear that there was more to come. And, sadly, moment by moment the news of other plane crashes were reported. More fear… So many lives lost that day and families and friends forever affected. The lives of military and civilians lost in the wars that resulted, and the ghosts that continue to haunt our view of Muslims and acceptance of all. I did not lose anyone close to me on 9/11 or in the wars that followed. But I will bow my head on 9/11 and say a prayer for all those who lost their lives and lost loved ones, and for the future of our nation and world, because on one thing I hope we can someday all agree: Life is precious. Every life is precious.”
-Tammy, Agent
“I was driving to work, and my colleague was in the car in front of me. I heard a caller on a radio program casually describe the crash from high up on the other tower at WTC. My colleague and I rushed up to our offices, and since I was the only person with a TV with reception, my office was packed with people as we watched the second plane hit. I was flooded with the spectrum of thoughts and emotions. When the first building came down, I started shaking and broke down. I kept thinking about that guy in the top floors of the second tower… We are now a less trusting and somewhat meaner society. Yet it forced Americans out of our country-centric thinking and forced us to all confront the world in a way that we had not since World War II. It is my hope that people will see that we must all be open to each other if we are to solve our global problems.”
-Michael, Agent
“In the years that have passed since 9/11, I have seen Americans become increasingly stressed, distrustful, and selfish on many levels. I hope that in the next ten years, we relearn the virtues of compassion, empathy, kindness, tolerance, patience, and forgiveness.”
-Harry, VP
“I was a junior in high school. When the first plane hit I was in my US history class, and the assistant principal came in and pulled my teacher out of the room to tell her something. She did not return, and he went on to tell us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, and he believed it was the tower that our teacher’s son worked in. (We later found out that he had been at a meeting in a different part of town.) Minutes later she came running back in to say that another plane had hit. That’s when we first realized that this was not an accident. I can remember initial feelings of incredible bewilderment, disbelief and, eventually, fear… The rest of the day students wandered from class to class watching the news and listening to the radio. At that time there were so many conflicting reports – I can remember sitting in the computer lab with a friend of mine listening to the radio. They were reporting that it was possible that there were 10 hijacked planes in the air at the time, and my friend looked at me and said, ‘I feel like we are living in a movie right now.’ It was so surreal.”
-Katlyn, Sales Assistant

“9/11 was the second day of school of my sophomore year. At the time, my high school was undergoing a major renovation and they pushed back the start date to complete as much as possible. It was second period when the Principal came on the loud speaker and said that a plane had just crashed into one of the twin towers. After the announcement, class was to continue as normal. Teachers didn’t turn on the TVs in class, so I really didn’t understand the impact that this would cause. After the second plane crashed into the towers all concerned students were allowed to go to the guidance office to speak with their families. It wasn’t until I went home for the day that I saw what was going on and could grasp the magnitude of what had happened. From that day on you knew life would be forever changed.”

-Andrea, Sales Associate
 

“I had just put my sons on the school bus and walked into the kitchen to see the images of smoke pouring out of the first tower on The Today Show. Matt Lauer was saying that a plane had hit it and I remember thinking it was probably a private jet out of Teterboro, because I think one had flown too close to the city not long before. Then they ran video of what was clearly a commercial plane. I immediately called my mother to tell her to turn on her TV, because she and my stepfather had been married at Windows on the World and it was so creepy to now see the building on fire. I then called the office of a friend who travels all the time to make sure he wasn’t on the plane because his in-laws had been tragically killed in a plane crash and I was worried about his wife and family. Thank God he wasn’t, but I later learned that someone from my town was. I couldn’t take my eyes off the television all day. When the towers started falling later in the day I remember dropping to my knees in disbelief. When I put my three kids to bed that night I felt so sad for them living in a world where this could happen and knowing that it would never be the same.”

-Holly, Senior Agent
 

“It was my second day as News Director of a radio station on the 27th floor of the Prudential Tower in Boston. By ten a.m. we all heard the news that the terrorists flew from Portland, Maine, through Boston and on to New York, and there was little as frightening at that point as standing on one of the upper floors of one of the only two skyscrapers in Boston, wondering if, in the next few moments, we were next. When the first plane hit, I phoned a friend in New York and told him to look out the window. He had been sleeping when the first plane hit and as soon as he looked out the window he shouted ‘Fireball!’ as the second plane smashed into the remaining tower. Everyone stood in the conference room in front of a large television and cried as we realized the United States had just gone to war.”

-Lauren, Agent

“I was on the 43rd floor of the Prudential Building in Boston working as a travel agent, and we had several hundred passengers in the air. We had to carry boxes full of paper itineraries down 43 flights of stairs when our building was evacuated as a precaution. It was a very scary day. We spent the next week trying to locate our travelers – as the flights were grounded immediately we had no idea where anyone was. Because the airports and trains were grounded, we rented and even purchased cars for folks to get home to family and loved ones. I remember feeling every emotion that day. I was scared, mad, and very sad. So many innocent lives taken away. Today it still makes me sad to think about. I hope no one ever forgets the price we pay for freedom and the men and women that serve and protect all Americans each and every day.”
-Michelle, Event Services

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