Six Years On: 9/11 Open Thread

Tribute in Light, BHB Photo Club pic by dietrich via Flickr

Some are saying it's time to move on, others are still grieving and want to continue to make 9/11 a day of remembrance. What do you think?  How have you feelings about 9/11 evolved since 2001?

Comment below. Thanks.

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  • pbdotc

    we should be glad we killed osama bin laden.

    that guy was dangerous.

  • CJP

    I ain’t moving on. This was a momentuous, life-changing experience for ANYONE who was in New York at the time. We remember friends, co-workers, hero cops and firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on a beautiful, serene September day.

    The instant it happened, when I heard that a commercial plane had slammed into the twin towers on a clear sunny day, I knew there was no chance it was an accident. I never dreamed it would be part of such a well-orchestrated, dastardly attack on America targeting innocents who were going about their lives.

    I remember watching in disbelief from the Promenade seeing neighbors crying and sobbing. I also wanted to believe it was a bizarre stunt. Only 3 weeks before some nut had tried to land an ultra-light plane on the Statue of Liberty.

    I remember seeing the flowers and candles on the Promenade. The wax from those candles lingered for months.

    I remember wanting some ass kicked as a result of that attack. At the time Iraq seemed as good a target as any. Six years later we’re in a questionable war that seems to have accomplished few of our original goals and Osama is still taunting us.

    I remember seeing those posters up for weeks around New York seeking information about loved ones. Although I never knew anyone on the posters turns out I worked with someone who lost her fiance at the World Trade Center.

    I remember thinking how I’d never bring a kid into this world given the horrors that man could inflict on man. And then I had an epiphany. Maybe my wife was right. Maybe it was time to have a kid. And maybe I could teach him solid Western values of respect, love, compassion, diversity and tolerance.

    We did have a kid. We live in the neighborhood. And I gave my kid the middle name Liberty as a result. I love him so much and my wife for having him. And you can count on him to one day help shape a world in which future 9/11’s will never happen again.

    I remember angrily wanting to “k

  • Claude Scales

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, I took my daughter to PS 150 on Greenwich Street in Tribeca, where she and several other Heights kids were in second grade. I had just dropped her off and was heading for the subway to my office in midtown when I heard the sound of turbofan engines clattering overhead. I had just turned off of Greenwich, from which there was a clear view of the Trade Center about six blocks away, onto Duane Street. The jet noise stopped suddenly, and there was about three seconds of dead silence, followed by a loud explosion. People behind me on Greenwich started screaming. I ran back and looked up. The nearest tower was gashed near the top, right at the level where I knew my closest friend had his office. After a few seconds, a fireball erupted from the gash, as the jet fuel ignited.

    I called my wife on my cell phone and told her what had happened. I told her there was no danger to the school, given its distance from the tower, but that I was very concerned about my friend, Charlie. She suggested that I go to my office and try to call him. I walked across Chambers Street to the IRT station by City Hall, and was about to go down the steps when I paused to look again at the burning tower. Just then, I heard a sound like fabric being ripped, and saw the second plane banking sharply, turning and then plowing into the south tower.

    So I knew the first one hadn’t been an accident; the City was under attack. I had to get back to the school. When I got there, a number of parents had gathered in the lobby. Most were calm, but a few were hysterical. After a while, we were told that the kids would be evacuated to a school in the Village, but that any parent who wanted to take their child home could. I called my wife, who agreed I should brig Liz home. Marie, a Heights neighbor, was there to get her two boys; we agreed we would walk back together. Since the plume of smoke from the towers was blowing towards the Brooklyn Bridge, we decided we would take the Manhattan.

    When the kids were released, we gathered Liz, Harry and Jack and headed north on Greenwich. After we had gone one block, there was a tremendous noise behind us. One of the towers was collapsing. People began screaming and running as a cloud of debris chased us up the street. We stayed ahead of it and made it to Canal, where we turned east. After a few blocks, we saw a cop, who told us the Manhattan Bridge was closed and so we would have to walk uptown and take the Williamsburg.

    As we trudged through the Lower East Side, we came upon the Tenement Museum. A man stood by the sidewalk holding a hand-lettered sign that read “Water and restrooms inside.” We took the kids in for a greatly appreciated break, then headed out again. Over the previous month, Liz had been obsessed (as kids her age can be) with a particular CD, in her case Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual. As we walked, two songs from that album kept playing alternatively in my head: “Money Changes Everything” and “I Don’t Want to Be a Witness.”

    As we crossed the Williamsburg Bridge I heard a sound I hadn’t heard in some time: the paper-ripping sound of Air Force fighters dashing overhead at just under Mach 1. On the Brooklyn side, we were greeted by Hasidim with jugs of water. We made it down to ground level and paused in front of Peter Luger’s, where the kids were treated to fries and cokes. I raised Marie’s husband, Mark, on my cell phone, and he came with his van to take us back to the Heights. We got home at about 3 PM.

    At about 7 PM, I raised the courage to call Charlie’s home number. When I heard his wife, Michelle, answer, I knew the news wasn’t good. She had lost her husband, two kids had lost a father, and I lost someone who was as close to a brother as I’d ever known.

  • Bklyn Native

    My thoughts of the actual day have faded to a large degree and each anniversary I focus on our response to the event.

    What is clear with 6 years of hindsight is that the U.S. has fallen right into the trap that Osama bin Laden has set for us. All with the help of the most incompetent executive administration in U.S. history.

    Today, the most mighty military in the world has been placed into a quagmire, our security has not improved, the people who perpetrated the initial attack taunt us each anniversary, and they remain free attacking us and our allies (Madrid, London, Bali, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen, and the list goes on).

    The strongest country in the world, has played right into the hands of a bunch of radical fundamentalists who operate out of caves. And we’re losing. Six years on, the Taliban controls much of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda is thriving in the Middle East and elsewhere. Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, is a cluster.

    We’ve lost our military men and women, our moral authority in the world, billions have been wasted, many billions more will be wasted, our military is demoralized, and our enemies laugh.

    Our ‘leadership’s’ response to the attacks of 9/11 is nothing short of treason. I pray that one day, those at the highest levels responsible for the collosal failure of the past 6 years.

    So to answer the question, that’s how I’m feeling this 6th anniversary. I’m disgusted that the executive leadership of the country that I love is incompetent and has damaged us more than our enemies have been able to damage us.

    I was on the roof of 2 Grace Court that morning 6 years ago and saw the towers fall. The surrealness of that day has faded a bit, only to leave the vortex of six misspent years ‘responding’ to the attack.

    Thank you to my fellow New Yorkers who responded to our fallen and injured citizens, who have resolved to make New York even better than before the attack. Better primarily because we all showed, when we really needed to, that we care about our neighbors and that we’re a family of 8 million.

  • Lee Greenfeld

    an email i sent to friends the day after…

    last night i went with my wife to the candlelight vigil at the brooklyn promenade in my neighborhood. the turnout was huge, with people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds standing together, sharing in both our grief and strength to overcome. songs were sung (though i could not bring myself to sing along). candles lit. flags displayed. painful, knowing looks exchanged. most of the time i just stared across the river to where the wtc used to stand. the huge cloud of smoke is… i don’t know the words to describe it.

    on the way to the vigil my wife and i went to the local firehouse to leave flowers and light candles. they are now missing eight of their warriors. the sight of the photos, candles, flowers and signs from the local jr. high school (“dear firemen, don’t be sad. -p.s. 8″) was enough to break anyone’s heart. but worse was the wives and family of these warriors sitting out front waiting. the surviving firemen that were there — one of them still covered with dust and soot from the disaster site — seemed solemn, but moved by the outpouring of support from my community (they’ve started a fund to which many have already contributed). i am the absolute furthest from a religious person, but when the firemen asked us to join them with a local priest in prayer, i was… again, i can’t describe it. i bowed my head and just hoped for the best for them

    after dinner, my wife and i went back to the promenade — we just could not stay away. there were now candle-lit, makeshift memorials dotting the entire walkway. we saw person after person re-lighting candles that were bound to go out again. my wife and i spent the next half-hour doing the same: trying to keep the flames burning. i hate to be corny, or overly symbolic, but it really felt like we were all trying to keep the flames of freedom and our country alive.

  • fishermb

    anyone know if the lights be lit up tonight?

  • Maroon

    Will Rudy Giuliani just please shut the eff up?

  • spm

    It is amazing to me that six years have passed. I’d like to add to Claude Scale’s comments as I spent quite a lot of time with his then 7-year old daughter that week. We baked cookies and took them and a bouquet of flowers to the firehouse. On our way back, she turned to me and said “I want to thank the policemen who helped us.” I explained that I didn’t know which policemen it was and she said “That’s okay. I’ll thank the policemen here.” We then went on to the Promenade where there was about 20+ police officers. She went up to each one individually and said “Thank you for helping me. Thank you for keeping my friends and me safe.” There wasn’t a dry eye in sight.

  • JR

    Bklyn Native:
    Re: “the U.S. has fallen right into the trap that Osama bin Laden has set for us.” is giving bin Laden way too much credit. The collateral damage occurring subsequent to the planes hitting the towers was probably as much a surprise to him as it was to us. Similarly, the situation we find ourselves in is, as you correctly point out, a result of most incompetent executive administration in U.S. history (I would add greedy as well, this country’s oil dependency notwithstanding). It was not part of some greater plan by a genius terrorist. We had the ability (still do) to control our destiny, but it’s going to take more than a pseudo cowboy, absentee top-gun fighter pilot, but great fun at parties, president (and admin.) to correct the situation. Otherwise, you may want to reset your calculation on NYC property values because it wouldn’t be stroke of genius when the collateral damage from a second attack makes the neighboring area inhabitable.

  • Cranky

    It was an awful day.

    I don’t know about moving on. Life keeps moving, we are alive – so we move with it. For me, even years later, stuff that happened that day shows up in my dreams.

    Memories from that day that stay with me – the firemen in the Heights responding to a local call just the looks on their faces, hard to describe;

    the posters of missing;

    sitting with a friend at Mr. Souvlaki that night-just numb;

    people escaping the city over the Brooklyn Bridge covered in white soot and looking likes ghosts;

    woman walking down Henry Street covered in white soot sees a dog and owner if she can pet it…woman says of course..she picks it up and says “I’m sorry I just need to hold something” and other woman rubs her back.

    Just such a bad day but the weather was perfect.

  • Lee Greenfeld

    It’s been really nice reading folks’ recollections of that day — though a few of the images are quite heart-breaking… The only thing that got me through that horrible day was working, believe it or not. I ended up tending bar at the Henry Street Alehouse, and while it was obviously tough, it gave me some sense of security to be with my regular customers and “neighbors,” as well as to help people out with a place to go rather than home. I got there to open the bar right around 4PM and already had people waiting to get in (some still covered in ash as most walked right over the bridge straight to the bar), and had to gently prod people to go home at 4AM. To say it was a heavy, surreal night would be the ultimate in under-statment… Sadly, I am not sure how many regulars we lost, though there were folks who drank or ate at HSA many times a week pre-9/11 who I never saw again.

  • pbdotc

    i’m glad we get that new tower built. it’s a real sign of recovery. it’s a beautiful beacon to freedom.

  • Teddy

    Only the people who were there that day or lost someone can truly understand how horrible that day was. Usually when I speak with someone who wasn’t there that day about what happened, I can feel a “disconnect” between me and that person. They’ll never understand what I feel and personally I can’t even begin to imagine how it would feel if I had lost someone. Anyway, I’m tired of people who say life goes on. Usually, they’re the ones who were hundreds of miles away when it happened. We do live our lives as best as we can and things are getting better (at least some things). However, the painful scars will always remain. I’m grateful that I grew up with both of my parents since they’re are many children growing up without a father or in some cases, a mother. I feel most sorry for them.

  • Teddy

    spelling edit – I’m grateful that I grew up with both of my parents since there are many children growing up without a father or in some cases, a mother. I feel most sorry for them. (I wish you had time to edit your posts)

  • nabeguy

    While I understand the need to not dwell in the past, I don’t think anybody who witnessed the horror of that day can ever really “move on” in a complete sense. Even if the things I saw end up being a movie reel in my brain that gets played only once a year, they’ll never be fully erased.

  • B

    I have lived in The Heights and NYC for only 2 years. On 9/11/01 I was on the Left Coast – cozily tucked in my bed asleep. I was woken up by frantic messages on my answering machine around 6am. THE TWIN TOWERS WERE HIT! They said, THE PENTAGON HAS BEEN ATTACKED! WE ARE AT WAR! TURN ON THE TV! After my dreary confusion passed I was alarmed at what I saw, the towers burning – people jumping (that is the vision that stays with me most). My father lived in CT at the time and had business in the city on a regular basis. Anyone who has lived far from NY before coming here can attest to the fact that CT might as well BE NYC in that sort of situation. After finding out he was safe and sound – I did what everyone else was doing…watched the TV…for days, whats happening? We all asked.

    3000 miles away everything shut down. We were physically so far away but in spirit we were right next to our brothers and sisters in the city. I jumped everytime I heard a loud noise, I literally hid under the bed when a plane was overhead only to have my then boyfriend coax me out with promises that because of where we lived (a small apartment building in the burbs) an airplane was not going to crash through our window. I still have nightmares.

    I know my experience doesn’t even compare to all of you who were here in the city living through the hell of that day but let it be known we were all affected. In my hometown – one of the most liberal cities in the US – people placed flags and called out for war. We also did what we do best – candle light vigils and moments of silence. Everyone was udderly stopped in their tracks by what happened in New York. Many tears were shed and we were all brought closer together, I have never felt closer to strangers in my life than on that day.

    Living here now I am always amazed by peoples story of that day. The experiences are almost unbelieveable – how do you survive, how do you keep living after a day like that, after seeing it not through the television but from your street, from your home?

    I thank all of you for your stories – and thank you for listening to mine, although it is an “outsiders” view…

  • Claude Scales

    B: Thanks for joining this thread and sharing your experience and perspective. I understand those who say “you had to be here,” but I think your story is important and should be told.

    My earlier post was a kind of catharsis, forcing myself to recount (even relive) what happened. Some of it was good: the acts of kindness by the people at the Tenement Museum and Peter Luger’s and the Hasidim giving water to those streaming off the Williamsburg Bridge. I realize I didn’t respond to Homer’s question – How have my feelings evolved? I still feel the loss keenly, but I try to focus on those things that day that gave evidence of human decency in the face of an unspeakable act of evil.

  • Bklyn Heights Doesn’t Miss You

    Keep your Hannity/Limbaugh lies/propaganda to yourself.

    It appears your red state mentality conveniently forgot that following the ’93 attack, Clinton ordered a military strike that obliterated OBL’s training camp in Afghanistan. OBL escaped because of a last minute leak from radical sypathizers in the Pakastani intellegence community. (oh, but wait, Pakistan is our friend in the “War on Terror”, right?)

    It’s the red state mentality you exhibit that voted Chimpus Minumus and his string puller Cheney into office for the second time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    I blame unreconstructed red state mentality voters who can’t admit their mistake voting for falling for the same lies and deception over and over again. Even the most hard core conservatives I know are smart enough and have the guts to admit their mistake if they voted for the Bush cabal the second time.

    I find it astounding that Clinton’s BJ figures so prominently in red state folklore.

    Yes, Clinton may have F’d Monica Lewinski. But the Bush administration has F’d the American people for the past 7 years. Which is worse? Which is treasonous?

    $3.50/gallon gasoline, the dollar at a record low, our budget surplus now turned into one of the largest deficits in history, an unending “War on Terror”, obscene windfall record quarterly profits for petroleum manufacturers, obscene profits on no-bid contracts for the VPs former company.

    How’s your Haliburton and Raytheon stock doing? Enjoying that tax break on your dividends?

    Mission Accomplished, right?

    A catastrophe for America, much of it self-inflicted by this administration.

    Those who perpetrated it will not go unpunished.

  • Bklyn Heights Doesn’t Miss You

    Your response speaks for itself and speaks volumes.

    Please stay where you are and don’t return to Bklyn.

  • No One of Consequence

    I’m not sure what your remark about $3.50/gal gasoline is all about. I believe that is still considered a bargain compared to most of the rest of the world.

  • Bklyn Heights Doesn’t Miss You

    The $3.50 gas price is a tax on everyone that helps Chevron, Exxon and the like earn $25 billion in PROFIT each QUARTER.

    During the previous administration, gas was $1.50/gallon, and the oil companies made great, but not obscene profits.

    Oil reached $80/barrel for the first time ever today and will likely top $100 in the near future.

    Just one sympton of the disease that is the Bush Administration. Mission accomplished.

  • hickster

    Please stay where you are and don’t return to Bklyn.?
    RU kidding me?
    Brooklyn is the capital of the world when it comes to different people, cultures, lifestyles and differences of opinion. Say what you want to say, but don’t tell anyone to stay away. What gives you the right? Brooklyn Heights has always been a very diverse community, from lowlifes and losers to decent middle class to corporate millionares. All are welcome…

  • nabeguy

    To IMBH…great job in missing the whole point of this thread and reducing it to your own political diatribe. The question was how your emotions have evolved in 6 years. From the sound of it, yours haven’t advanced much beyond the 90’s.

  • I once lived here too

    So I randomly decided to check this blog out today. I used to live in the Heights and after seeing that there was a post about 9/11 I wondered how anonymous Heights posters would respond.

    I was most impressed by reading genuine heartfelt comments. But then it happened….the inevitable. The lefties came out and had to spew their political garbage. And of course a lone counter post was trampled as anathema to the clued in “blue state” mentality. But either way, I’m most sadened that politics and mud slinging had to show its ugly face on such a thread, and in general, in the wake of 9/11.

    The great thing about this country and that day is that anyone can believe/ feel/ or think what they want. Being a Heights blog I just knew the posts would turn political and the left would rage, but I guess the first few posts lulled me into thinking – wow how wonderful, just pure thoughts and heartfelt reflections.

    How naive I was after all. So as I look back and reflect I’d like to pray for all the families who lost someone, thank those who helped, and just wonder how my fellow countrymen could lose sight of the fundemental American core beliefs in the wake of such an afront to everything this country stands for.

    So 6 yrs later, I just pray that we never let politics make us forget what that day was really all about. Sadly I’m not too confident.

  • Truth Williams

    IMBH – your comment regarding Mr. Clinton’s indiscretion with Ms. Lewinsky is a laugh riot. Mr. Clinton could perform his duties as POTUS while not only receiving said act of sodomy but I’m confident that we could add Pamela Anderson, a pony and a jar of mayo to the scenario and he’d still be able to execute a sound foreign policy far more competently than the Empty Suit in the Oval Office.

    Good day Madam.