September 11, 2001

Yeah, I remember September 11. I remember where I was when it happened.

I was getting ready for work. At the time, I was a high-school dropout who worked construction. I was watching “Good Morning America” on television, eating breakfast.

Charlie Gibson was on TV talking about something nobody cared about. Morning-show ridiculousness. Something like stir fry cooking. Or feng shui. Or El Niño. Or whatever America was talking about back then.

And the TV cut to an image of the burning skyscraper.

“One of the World Trade Center towers appears to be on fire,” the newscaster said.

I was about to leave the house and turn off the TV. But then I saw something. From the corner of the screen, hurtling through the sky, came a commercial aircraft. The plane hit the building. A gaping hole was torn into the South Tower.

The newscasters went silent.

Live television. I watched the passengers die on live television.

Finally someone broke the television broadcast silence. I don’t even remember what they said, but I remember what I felt. I felt scared. I felt as though our whole way of life had been threatened.

Later, I went to work on the construction job site. But nobody was working. Everyone was watching a portable television set. Black and white screen. With an antenna. We were sitting on the porch of an unfinished house. Wearing unsoiled jeans and boots.

And we were listening in rapt silence to interviews from firemen, policemen, and anyone who had watched the towers crumble.

One of my coworkers was an older man named Robert. Robert was tough. He had navy tattoos, and cropped silver hair. His hands were the size of supermarket chickens.

And he was crying.

I remember showing up to the job site the following morning and being surprised at what I saw. Draped over the banister of an unfinished home was an American flag.

The banner was about the size of a subtropical continent. Robert hung the flag.

And when I went to pick up lunch for the fellas at McDonald’s, there were even more flags in the fast-food windows. There was a huge American flag raised outside the local bank. There was a new flag outside the supermarket. The KFC. The used car dealership.

There were flags on the backs of semi trucks, a flag dangling over every neighbor’s front porch.

By the end of the week there wasn’t a person in town who wasn’t bearing our colors.

People changed that week. You’d go to the bank, and the teller spoke to you as though you were family. You’d stand in line at K-Mart, and you’d talk to people like you were all on the same team.

You went to church, and the preacher prayed for mercy, unification, and love to conquer hatred. There were few divisions. There were lots of people with bumper stickers that said “Let’s Roll.” And “I ‘Heart’ the USA.”

I remember the World Series, between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees. I remember the packed Yankee Stadium. I remember a decimated New York City. I remember how important this Series felt.

I remember going to a bar down the street to watch the game. I remember how full the place was. I remember seeing the TV.

Yankees’ manager Joe Torre was in the dugout, pep-talking the Bronx Bombers. I remember the American-flag patches the fans and players were wearing. I remember the posters in the stadium reading, “God Bless America.”

I remember America’s president taking the mound to throw the opening pitch across the plate. He actually threw a strike.

And 52,325 fans cheered until they lost their voices. Not for America. Not for a president. But for each other. For their own families. For loved ones. For their children. For life itself.

I remember when the singer on the television sang the national anthem before the game. I remember when the whole barroom fell silent. And I remember when the guy next to me started singing “O say can you see…”

I followed his lead. So did a few hundred other people inside a no-name beer joint. We all sang.

Yeah, I remember September 11. And I guess I always will.


  1. Leigh Amiot - September 11, 2022 8:15 am

    Sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, folding towels and watching cable news, a 38-year-old mother of two, an eighth grader and a fifth grader. It was thought the first plane to hit was an accident, the second hit on live TV informed me it was deliberate. Called my husband, wondered if nukes were next. I wanted to go get my children from school, but ultimately decided not to frighten them, they’d know soon enough. I cooked dinner that evening for my family, felt removed from myself as I watched my hands chop chicken. My husband’s voice choked as he said the blessing, tears filled his eyes. My family was all home, but I couldn’t get my mind off of all the empty dining chairs that evening.

  2. Ed Caldwell (Bear) - September 11, 2022 8:25 am

    I remember I was at work when the terrorists struck. My work centered around the internet. So that’s what we watched it unfold on. I was struck by how much hate the attack showed. All those innocent civilians. Everyday workers. People without defense. What a cowardly act. So much hate. And why. Evidently it was a religious attack. We didn’t think and act like them so we had to die. Pure evil. That’s what it was. Misguided hate in the name of a religion.

    • Paul Sams - September 11, 2022 3:44 pm

      I apologize if my comment comes across as harsh, it is not meant to be so. I respect your comment, but I think it had little to do with religion. They were simply criminals. They may have been fanatics. I had a Muslin coworker and he was taking a lot of anger from others. I already knew he was a good man. He finally told some of those who were so angry the attack was not in the name of Islam, and not in the name of God. As he went on with tears in his eyes, he said he had never killed anyone, his son was in the United States Military, he pointed out that his son and many other people son’s would soon be going off to war. The Oklahoma bomber called himself a Christian, and was raised in the Catholic Church. Would we call him a Christian terrorists? I would think he was a criminal. Those who kill innocent people are criminals, criminals who have no regard for human life.

      • Ed Caldwell (Bear) - September 13, 2022 2:00 am

        I appreciate your reply Paul. I’m sorry my comment came across that way. Misguided was the key word in my religion statement but I can see now how that could hurt someone. I should have chosen better words. Christians have murdered too. I would call them misguided at the very least as well. “Criminals” is a better description of perpetrators. But theirs is still a religion. Just not a good one. There’s no social consensus on what constitutes a religion. It’s a sensitive subject. I need to be more careful. Thank you!

  3. Debbie - September 11, 2022 8:57 am

    I remember September 11, also. If I had the creative capacity, I would write the touching story that still lives in my heart. I would put it out here for all to read.

    I would tell of the fear that burst inside of me, seeing the second plane hit, and as you say, that gaping hole in the tower. That gaping hole in my heart.

    I remember all the screams, people running from the towers, and some running to the towers, to help those trapped inside. People stuck inside, knowing they would never escape. Jumping from windows to the street below.

    I remember how later, before the total collapse of the towers, everyone who could was calling loved ones, taking that last chance to say, “I love you”.

    So much change took place in America that day. Change for the better. Oh, the prayers that went to the heart of our Heavenly Father. We became kinder, shared more, gave more; less selfish. I think probably at that time, some of us met the better angel of ourselves.

    Beautiful, precious America!! Why didn’t it last? Why didn’t we learn? Why were the lessons of that day so fleeting? Look at us now. God, help America!🙏😢🇺🇸

    • Te - September 11, 2022 10:14 am

      Ah, Debbie, you’re a better writer than you know!

      • Debbie - September 11, 2022 10:34 am

        Te, thank you for those kind words. ☺️🥰

    • Gigi - September 11, 2022 2:02 pm

      Beautifully said Debbie ! I want to know the answers to your last paragraph too. It breaks my heart.

    • Eve - September 11, 2022 5:04 pm

      Yes, Debbie. How fleeting it appears the lessons of 9/11. There are other means to destruction other than planes.

  4. Te - September 11, 2022 10:13 am

    There have been few times in my life that I felt the chill of absolute destiny. When the missile struck the Pentagon, I knew we were at war. Born at the tail end of WWII, I grew up knowing about war, and there we were, again. I was numb for days, and isolated from friends and family by being out of town. As the years passed, and more information became available, my horror grew. Debbie, above, said it well: beautiful, precious America! Look at us now. God help us all!

  5. Denise - September 11, 2022 10:56 am

    A day we should always remember. Never forget. USA!

  6. Ann - September 11, 2022 11:45 am

    We should NEVER forget….BUT…so many….MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA 🙏🏻🇺🇸❤️

  7. Ruth - September 11, 2022 12:14 pm

    I think of all those brave souls who gave their lives for others and those who stayed with a weaker person and eventually were rescued. Amazing courage. I never tire of hearing those stories every year,
    “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends “ John 15:13
    Even greater to show love for those in desperate need.

  8. Pat, eastern NC - September 11, 2022 12:25 pm

    I remember the terror, the fear, the sorrow. But I also remember and cherish the feeling that suddenly we were all Americans – no hyphens, no groups, just Americans – and we were one family. We were kinder, gentler, caring. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who noticed. I want to feel that again, that we are one family, forever. Never forget. God bless America.

  9. Priscilla Rodgers - September 11, 2022 12:41 pm

    I remember too and I’ll never forget. My we turn back to the family and community values we found during that time. God please bless America.

  10. Donna from Iowa - September 11, 2022 12:41 pm

    “Beautifully written; no one of age will ever forget the feelings when they became aware of the tragedies occurring right here in our beloved country–but thanks to “God and strong people we rebounded and life is good here in the USA.

  11. mccutchen52 - September 11, 2022 12:44 pm

    I was at work when the person I was talking to on the phone said “Damn I gotta go”. He hung up then the manager told us what happened and we accessed the internet. We were still working but mostly on autopilot. Every chance I got I changed over to the internet to see if it was real.

  12. Donna from Iowa - September 11, 2022 12:45 pm

    Beautifully written–no one will ever forget their feelings upon the tragedy that was unfolding right here in our USA

  13. jocelyn - September 11, 2022 12:59 pm

    Never Forget Sept 11. It can happen again. We must be viligant to our Freedom!

  14. Diana - September 11, 2022 1:05 pm

    Such a horrible act of hatred brought our country together. We united. But, look at us now. Too many have forgotten. It’s all so sad. Yes, God help us. Bless the USA! 🇺🇸

  15. Richard Owen - September 11, 2022 1:25 pm

    I was watching the Today show while preparing to hit the streets as a freelance photographer for the Walton Sun when they cut live to the towers. I was listening to the commentators and knew they were wrong. Having been associated with the FAA and airline community of Atlanta, I knew this was no accident. Then I watched as the second airliner struck. All I could think of is that, at 53 years old with a heart condition, there was no way I could return the favor of Osama bin Laden and his terrorists. I hit the streets that morning to document how Americans were reacting. It was a sobering day.
    Now we have idiots like Soros, Bezos, Zuckerberg combining forces with Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the progressive Left trying to finish the destruction of our country. Remember this day, America, and make sure you VOTE come November!!

  16. Ron Pfeiffer - September 11, 2022 1:31 pm

    Yes–I remember it well. Stephan Siller lost his brother lost his fireman brother that day and since has founded “Tunnels to Towers” which gives homes and pays off mortgages for those men and women hurt or killed in the service to our country. They have a 4 out of 4 rating and spends 93% of the donations on homes etc. He does not take a salary!!!

    • Debbie - September 11, 2022 1:47 pm

      Tunnels 2 Towers…such amazing people, wonderful work. Their motto, “While we have time, let us do good”. We can help by donating.

  17. clarence carson - September 11, 2022 1:54 pm

    I just want to say; I hope it doesn’t take something like this to get US back together. We are so divided right now.

  18. Dee Thompson - September 11, 2022 2:15 pm

    I was on my way to work. I got in and everyone was in a conference room watching a TV. It was surreal. Nobody got any work done. They let us go home at noon. Before I left I called my mother. She had lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was a baby. She told me to go fill up the car with gas and get as much cash as possible at the ATM, and to call her when I got home. I drove through quiet suburban Atlanta freaked out because I saw no cars anywhere. I went home and called Mom, and watched the news and cried. I kept watching until I couldn’t take it any more. Spent the rest of the day reading a book because the TV was too overwhelming. I was afraid we would go to war and my brother, a reservist, would get called up. I lived 30 minutes from Dobbins Air Force Base and about 150 miles from a nuclear power plant. VERY scary times. Americans came together though, and became ONE country, for a while, united in our grief, outrage, and fear. We must never forget what happened.

  19. Barbara Foley - September 11, 2022 2:18 pm

    As always your story touched my heart. We will never forget🇺🇸

  20. AJ - September 11, 2022 3:24 pm

    I was already at my second customer’s office. I heard on the radio about a plane crash and helped the ladies dig out the 13 inch black and white with aluminum foil rabbit ears. When the second plane hit I joked that we were “under attack by the Palestinian Airforce.” How horribly close I was.

  21. Sjhl - September 11, 2022 3:32 pm

    I will remember that day always. Thanks for your excellent description of your experience!

  22. Maggie Priestaf - September 11, 2022 3:53 pm

    Sean, a coworker of mine at the time, an American of Pakistani descent, stopped for gas that day. He received demeaning slurs and name calling because of the color of his skin and his differentness. We Americans did come together that day but not all of us were included.

    • Jonas - September 11, 2022 4:15 pm

      Maggie. That is so sad. 💔😔

  23. pattymack43 - September 11, 2022 4:14 pm

    Never forget…..🙏🙏🙏

  24. Terry - September 11, 2022 4:18 pm

    Excellent essay. Too many have forgotten, though. That’s sad.

  25. Susie Flick - September 11, 2022 4:45 pm

    Yes, I remember where I was, in my car on the way to work, listening to the Today Show on my radio and Katie Couriccame on and relayed what happened….didn’t know whether to keep driving to work or go back home.  Was halfway to the Moline, ILoffice so I drove there.  Everyone was looking at computers that weren’t working – black screens – no access – then we were told to go home and wait until we had access.  I worked at Merrill Lynch and all the satellites that carried signals were based in NYC so computer access to all our offices across the US were down. I drove home, I worried about my family, my niece that lived in NY and their offices were on Madison Ave. My niece was at home in upper state and her husband had taken the train to work.  She finally heard from him later that day and he was at his parents’ apartment.   My cousins, stepdaughter, worked in a building near the towers and watched it happen and got out of the building and walked to wherever.  Luckily no one I knew was hurt.  As I drove home, I saw long lines at every gas station I passed….it was surreal.  It was a horrible, terrifying day for everyone regardless of how it impacted us all. 
    It was a Tuesday and I’m sure we didn’t go back to the office until the following Monday – if I remember correctly.   I will never forget that day.

  26. Carol - September 11, 2022 4:56 pm

    As always, thank you for sharing your story in such a eloquent way! A day, a week, a time we all share and will never forget.

  27. Heather Miller - September 11, 2022 5:18 pm

    I remember my husband and I watching the scene you describe. We saw the commercial plane plow through the Tower killing everyone. We were dumbfounded. I also remember we sat across the kitchen table and both of us burst out crying. We watched the scenes develop on tv, saw people jump. I did have to throw up. I will never, ever, be able to erase this day from my mind, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the tragedies are supposed to make a much bigger impression on our minds than the happy birthday parties, etc. I think so. God bless America. May we never, ever, have to experience the hatred poured out on us like this again.

  28. Ruth - September 11, 2022 5:19 pm

    I guess I was hoping you’d end this Beautifully written post with…”What happened to That America?” …I remember it too and as sad as it was… we all came together as a country! …”One nation under God, indivisible…”

  29. Anne Arthur - September 11, 2022 5:27 pm

    We were eating breakfast in our Caribbean home, watching US TV, which suddenly showed these pictures. It was so surreal. My niece worked in NY close to the World Trade Center and we were so worried. We only got a call late at night to say she’s ok. She had to walk all-day to get home because there was no transport. We’ll never forget.
    I believe that day nobody worked in any country. It was as if the world stood still. Since then, all has changed for the worse. Very sad.

  30. Margie Van Oostrum - September 11, 2022 5:55 pm

    My thoughts are swirling in my head. Sept 11, my children spread across the USA and Europe. How could this happen? Was it real? I think we saw the second plane hit or was it a rerun? My brain could not compute what had happened. From a military family I knew war was eminent. But my mind could not understand. I sat for days watching rescuers work and I prayed for survivors but there were none. My mind could not take the horror of what had happened. Good I thought, our country is finally in the same page, and yet I can not understand how much more divided we have become since that day 21 years ago. I grieve for the victims and their families and I grieve for how we have slipped down a slippery slope. Perhaps the evil that attacked that day has overcome us. Lord help us.

  31. Kim - September 11, 2022 5:58 pm

    Read The Harbingers by Jonathan Cahn.

  32. Peggy M. Windham - September 11, 2022 6:09 pm

    I remember that day well too and I’ll never forget! Today is also my sister, Carolyn’s birthday! She’s 80 today and our whole world has certainly changed! Thanks for always sharing a wonderful story.

  33. MAM - September 11, 2022 6:20 pm

    Two events remain totally imprinted on my mind – the day JFK was assassinated and 9/11. The first one, I was a senior in college and went to the cafeteria and everyone was in front of a tiny TV. I, that night, sang at a wedding that the couple decided not to cancel. On 9/11 I was reading email on my computer when a friend called and said simply: “Turn on your TV,” but wouldn’t tell me why. I wouldn’t have gotten much done that day, except I was a freelance reporter and I knew I had to get out into the community. I did and I’m still proud of the story I wrote. but the visuals of both days remain in my old memory cells. Please, God, bring us back together and into a time of peace and harmony.

  34. David Britnell - September 11, 2022 6:40 pm

    I remember!

  35. Dutton Morehouse - September 11, 2022 6:58 pm

    Well said, Sean, but how sad, how disappointing, that in 21 years we seem to have lost – to have squandered – this feeling of national unity.

  36. Susan - September 11, 2022 7:21 pm

    I was watching GMA too. Charlie Gibson broke the silence by saying “we’re under attack”.

  37. Melanie - September 11, 2022 7:51 pm

    🇺🇸❤️🙏🏻 😔

  38. Linda Moon - September 11, 2022 8:39 pm

    I remember September 11. I was with educators and our students, and my role was to make sense of whatever was happening and counsel staff and students as much as possible in the midst of this huge unknown. Thank you for telling us your memories of that awful day. To paraphrase Churchill, may we never forget.

  39. Jan - September 11, 2022 9:02 pm

    I had passed the Pentagon on my way to work in DC that morning. The radio was on in the car, so I knew about one of the towers being hit. I got to my desk and heard someone running down the hall shouting “the Pentagon has been hit.“ I thought I was going to be sick. My son was working in the Pentagon. The man who worked across from me had his TV on so I spent most of the next few hours watching the coverage with such a heavy heart. I was not able to reach my son at either his work phone or his cell phone. During that time some of my coworkers called me into a conference room where they had prayer for my son’s safety. I’ll never forget that! It was hours before he was able to call and let me know he was OK. He was 21 at the time and worked the Pentagon’s computer help desk. Normally at that time in the morning he would have been in the “front office” where the plane hit. That morning was his first day back to work after our family vacation. Later he told us that when he had gotten into his office that morning and had opened his computer, he found that someone had been using it while he was gone and screwed up all of the settings, so he had to stay there and fix it before he went to the front office. While he was in his office, The plane hit the front office, the ceiling came down on him, he smelled jet fuel and the lights went out. It was dark but he was able to find two other coworkers and they held hands trying to find a door to exit. He knew most of the people in that front office that were killed because that was where he normally worked every day. The man In the office next to his was killed, but he survived. He had minor injuries and suffered from TMD for a few years and could only eat soft food. He got married a few years later to a wonderful gal and they have three amazing children who I love dearly. I don’t know what I would’ve done had he been killed. I believe that God spared his life, and I am so very grateful. I am so sorry for all the families and friends who did lose loved ones that day. Evil showed its face to the US that day. It’s surrounding our country again, but from within, and I hope and pray that God will work his power in our great country to heal our land!

  40. Negri, Beverly - September 11, 2022 9:21 pm

    I was one of the federal government agency workers that responded to 9-11. Today I flew my flag and wore a “In memory of 9-11”, t-shirt. In my neighborhood and local shopping center, here were no flags flying and seemly no remembering 9-11. Sadly I can’t help but wonder if in the future our enemies are again determined to take down the pentagon or other locations if there will be any brave, courageous souls who will have the strength to say, “Let’s roll” and then do it.
    Thank you for your message.

  41. Debbie Taylor - September 11, 2022 9:41 pm

    This brought it all back 😪😪😪 God bless all who lost loved ones … and the first responders who sacrificed so much.❤️ 🇺🇸❤️

  42. Karen - September 11, 2022 10:12 pm

    I will never forget.

  43. Karen Snyder - September 13, 2022 1:11 am

    Thank you, Sean, for sharing your memories of that awful day. I, too, remember where I was, what I was (supposed to be) doing, and the mixture of emotions that churned for hours as more and more details were revealed. Sadly, I wonder whether we will ever again see the likes of that unity we experienced following 9-11. I hope and pray that we will. 🇺🇸❤️

  44. Sena Klein - September 13, 2022 2:01 am

    Well said. We all remember and every year I watch the specials on TV on 9-11 because I never want to forget.

  45. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - September 15, 2022 9:56 pm



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