My September 11


by Karen Green

It’s hard for me to see to hear to read all of the rehashings of September 11 each year. I empathize, I sympathize and I sometimes even pathologize their pain. I didn’t lose anybody in the attacks, but when the sun sets on September 11, a day full of pain and sadness for so many, it will then dawn on the saddest day of the year for me.

My September 11 is September 12, the anniversary of my father’s death.

Am I comparing the two events? No. Yes. No. I marry the events, a pall cast and spread over just so many hours more; a national day of mourning and remembering and railing at the unfairness of it all. I share those things as I think of my father, on the fourth anniversary of his death.

My father was an American, a Vietnam veteran and an objector to much of what America was about. His death was not sudden and unexpected, if you count the 4 weeks we had to prepare for it, not sudden and unexpected. He died an ugly, horrible, painful death. We lived through it, we think about it nearly every day. We have survivor’s guilt, though his illness was his alone.

He was one of the most important people in my life, and he is no longer here.

Grief is grief. Pain and sadness is for the living.

September 12 marks four years. How, I wonder, can that be? I feel like a lifetime has passed since he went away. I have a child he never knew, for chrissake. Missed knowing her by less than 2 months. She’ll miss knowing him forever.

I have a new life he knows nothing about. I had many conversations with my father as we contemplated this huge change, but he didn’t have to be there for me to know what he would say. I want you to be happy. Do what you think will make you happy. Your kids are the most important thing in the world.

His kids were the most important thing in his world. I knew that.

September 11 is fast approaching, say the calendars the newspapers the TVs the magazines. The season of grief is upon us.

And then comes September 12.

Photo by walknboston via Creative Commons


Elaine Alvarado
Elaine Alvarado6 years ago

My husband called me from work to turn the TV on to see what was happening at the World Trade Center in New York City, that one of the twin towers was on fire. At first, it didn't look like much and then a commercial jetliner flew into the second tower. I was stunned and afraid and couldn't believe my eyes. Then a breaking news about another jetliner flying into the pentagon and possibly other planes being hijacked and targeting high profile places. Took so long to piece the information together. Hoards of people were evacuating the twin towers, but what stuck with me was this young man holding a photograph of his dad, asking everyone coming out of the buildings if they had seen him? He was extremely concerned and desperate to find him. Very soon after that, the first, then the second tower came down. Then the unprecedented order for all aircraft to be grounded immediately! And finally, seeing the aid stations with very few, if any survivors. All day and for many days afterward I wondered how this could be happening and very sad for all the people who died at the same time. I think sixty sets of twins were permanently seperated and I'm a twin and am so sad for them. I'll never forget because it's my birthday. Makes me proud to see those who died honored and that our president responding quickly to 'get' those responsible for attacking the US. Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead - time to bring our brave soldiers home.

Margarita A.
Margarita M. A6 years ago

"The season of grief is upon us", yes: upon us Latin Americans who lived to see the Military -helped, financed and supported by the USA- take over a democratic Government in Allende's Chile, 9/11/1973. This is OUR 9/11.

Linda T.
Linda T.6 years ago

My memory of 9/11 was that it was an almost blue cloudless morning. My cousin called as asked if I had seen the TV. I had been out walking the dogs, thinking what a beautiful day it was. My day was turned upside in minutes. I lived 45 minutes from DC. I had friends and relatives that worked at the Pentagon. My best friend's daughters worked at the Pentagon and we could not reach them. My cousin worked there and it was a hour before we could reach him.
My aunt lived within feet of where Flight 93 landed.
My world stood still that day, until I knew everyone was safe. I lost people I knew in our neighborhoods and our churches.
To this day, I can not watch the shows about 9/11. Unfortunately, I am not sure we have learned any lessons or are any safer. We turned ourselves back to God for awhile, but now have forgotten Him again. Will it take another 9/11 to bring us back again???

Gloria H.
Gloria H6 years ago

We have changed. Not for the better with thinnly camoflaged hatred towards others. We used to "hate" the Germans, the Japanese, the Soviets, now it is not an actual country, but a religious choice of people in several countries. The enemy is now the friend because they and us are making money from imports/exports. Money is the common bond. Not our human-ness, or good inside of ourselves. We hate the shadow, we put it on others, but, like Peter Pan, it is really a part of ourselves.

Bob Stuart
Bob Stuart6 years ago

I only heard about the news when my counselor looked weird and asked if I wanted to meet outside that day. I smelled a rat in the official explanation right away, and the stench has only gotten overpowering since. But I always remember that between 8 and 11 that morning, 3,000 people also starved to death. Poor people were dying at that rate for years around the time that those well-fed people died, and now that is also worse, as the resources go for wars.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

We were all in it together then, and we are all in it together now.

Henk L.
henk Loorbach6 years ago

Karen, be well. keep your head up and keep the love. thank you.

Rose L.
Rose L6 years ago

the part cut off from below:

After the signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of govt the founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it." And Madison warned of the dangers of democracies with these words: "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence & contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Sorry so long, lee. We can agree on a couple of things. Our country has not been the same since 911. And like you, I believe that 911 was a major factor in America's path to economic disaster.

Rose L.
Rose L6 years ago

@ lee e: The deep grief for me comes with the fact that this country is no longer "democratic".

I grieve for our country, too, but for different reasons. Actually, lee, this country is a republic. Not a democracy. There is a difference.

A republic:
*is representative govt ruled by law (the Constitution),
*contains the attitude of individual property rights,
*recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals.
*and results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment & progress.

A democracy:
*is govt ruled by the masses,
*contains the attitude that property is communistic; it negates property rights,
*is more concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).
*and results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent & anarchy.

Much of the above comes from old U.S. military training manuals (i.e. Training Manual # 2000-25 published by the War Dept, Nov 30, 1928), which used to contain the correct definitions of Democracy & Republic.

Article IV Section 4, of the Constitution "guarantees to every state in this union a Republican form of govt.", while the word Democracy is not mentioned even once in the Constitution!

Our founders knew the differences between a Republic & a Democracy. They emphatically held that they had founded a republic. In fact, after the signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of govt the founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it." And

Donna L.
Donna L6 years ago

I still remember September 11...The whole day was surreal. I was in class and my teacher announced that there was a plane crash in Manhattan and then all of the students were dismissed. I saw smoke everywhere and it smelled like burning outside...Papers littered the sidewalks. It was insane. Then my mom started watching the news on TV and just sat there crying the whole day. She lost a friend who worked in one of the towers. Her friend left behind a pregnant wife, and every 9/11 after that, I can't help but wonder how she is doing, and if she has a child. I was just angry. Angry that anyone would have a goal to kill others and be cruel. All those lives lost and all that talent and potential...I still can't get over my feelings, but now I've become more sad. A month ago I was standing across the street from Ground Zero just watching it in nostalgia...I used to look up at the gleaming towers from behind my car window. I wish I had video recorded that last time I saw the towers. :( I'm going to attend a couple 9/11 memorial events because I feel a responsibility to attend them. This post is written from my point of view...but there are so many lives affected by 9/11. The links are endless.