September 11th, 2001: The Moment
September 11th, 2001 a day that changed our lives forever. Fourteen years have passed yet that same gut wrenching feeling of that sunny Tuesday morning is forever instilled in us. A day when our freedom was tested and 3,000 innocent lives were taken, 400 of which were emergency service personnel. That moment of horror…where you were, the feeling that came over you and the terrorists acts you were witnessing it all seemed unreal, but that moment is something we would forever remember.
In a matter of seconds, everything about being an American changed. At 8:46 AM the first plane struck the north tower of the world trade center with three additional attacks following. Loved ones began phoning families to say their goodbyes. Brian Sweeney of United Flight 175 phoned his wife to say, “Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked,” he says. “I just want you to know I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have a good time. Same to my parents and everybody. I totally love you.” Sean Rooney phoned his wife Becky from the Twin Towers. “He told me he was on the 105th floor, and I knew right away that Sean was never coming home,” said Becky. “I called his name in the phone over and over. Then I just sat there huddled on the floor holding the phone to my heart.”
Surviving heroes such as Pasquale Buzzelli, known as the 9/11 surfer and author of We All Fall Down, fought for their lives trying to escape the attacks. Employed on the 64th floor of the North tower with a wife who was 8 months pregnant with their first child, Buzzelli worked hard to escape while thinking and praying knowing he was going to die. Able to escape to the 22nd floor the North tower then collapsed which is when Buzzelli astoundingly surfed through the debris in what is thought to have been an air pocket, and survived. Firefighter Mike Lyons said, the fact that we saw an individual up there after what we had climbed through, in the position that he was, was nothing short of miraculous.’’ Buzzelli’s wife had just spoken to him moments before the collapse and watched the events unfold live on television knowing her husband was in the collapsed building. She says in that moment she knew she was a widow. It’s through the act of God’s miracle that Buzzelli survived, but as he states in the video below that came with depression from the traumatic moments and events he had just witnessed.
In the days and months following the attacks Americans searched for signs of hope. These collected pieces of hope are now displayed in the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The survivor’s staircase is composed of 38 granite-clad stairs from Vesey Street which was the last visible remaining original structure above ground level at the World Trade Center site and was where emergency personnel directed hundreds of evacuees. The staircase often stops visitors in their tracks as they read the chilling words “Go down this set of stairs and then just run — run as fast as you can.” The World Trade Center cross and the Ground Zero bible are two additional artifacts preserved at the museum. The cross is composed of a group of steel beams found in the debris after the attacks, while the bible was found opened to Matthew 5:39: “But I say to you, ‘Do not resist one who is evil.’ But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Thinking of the symbolism of these three artifacts brings a rush of emotions over you that are indescribable.
As we look upon the New York sky line tonight, two beams of blue light symbolizing the Twin Towers will shine into the sky until sunrise. As these lights fill the sky and sadness fills our hearts may we mourn for the fallen heroes, the heroes who survived, the soldiers who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom, and all the families affected by this tragic day in history. The war of September 11th is not over, but we must stand united as Americans.
President George W. Bush addressed the country from the oval office at the White House on September 11th,2001 stating, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
Now and forever we will remember the heroes and the families affected by these attacks. May God Bless each of you as we join and pray today. Please take this time to honor those who died, those who have served, and those who carry on.
Click Here to take a virtual tour of the family room filled with mementos and remembrances of those lives that were claimed as a result of the attacks.