September 11, 2001 Remembrance

By:
NNV Members

September 11, 2001 is a day burned in the memories of Americans who were alive to witness the tragic events that unfolded that morning.  As we mark the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11, NNV members share their memories of that unforgettable day.

“On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in bed, still enjoying the fact that, after my recent retirement, I could stay up late at night and get up late in the morning. My clock radio came on, and the typically witty morning host of WGMS somberly mentioned there was a plane crash in New York.  I ran into my living room and turned on the TV. At that point, no one was sure whether the plane's crash into the World Trade Center was intentional or an accident.

I had been volunteering as a medical escort driver for a local non-profit and was scheduled to take a woman to her doctor that morning. By the time I left home to pick her up, planes had crashed into the other World Trade Center tower and the Pentagon. There was now no doubt this was an attack. I picked up my passenger and, with a few general questions, realized she was unaware of the news. She was a fragile woman, and I sensed it would be best not to bring up the matter. There was no TV in the waiting room, and no one was carrying around smartphones then.  The waiting room was completely silent. I took my passenger home, and I was glued to the TV the rest of the day, communicating by telephone and email with friends and relatives. We all found it unbelievable, but we knew it had actually happened.”

-Elinor Stillman, NNV Member

“My memory of 9/11.  Bob and I were in Cuba when he heard of the first plane (someone saw on TV) and then as we were renting a car, we heard of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center.  In the car, we heard English programming on the radio, only to have it completely cut off shortly afterwards, and for the next several days we only were able to obtain limited Spanish programming. Our return to the States was delayed by 7 days.  Finally on reaching Miami, I arranged a flight to Boston the next day, and then to Philadelphia, where we rented a car to drive to DC.  Washington Reagan Airport was a ghost town.”

-Benita Lubic, NNV Member

“On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was working at the National Institute of Mental Health.  I was interviewing a research volunteer in the Clinical Center when we heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  We joined others watching TV news when the second plane flew into the other tower.  It dawned on all of us at the same moment -- this was a terrorist attack, not an accident!  We were told to evacuate the 15-story building immediately, as it was considered a potential target for one of the hijacked planes heading toward Washington.

I had to reunite my volunteer with her mother and get them off the NIH campus, then leave myself.  We stumbled down many flights of stairs with hundreds of frightened people.  I settled my volunteer in a safe spot, then searched for her mother, whom I found nearby looking for us.  After seeing them drive off safely, I fled into the Metro, got off at Friendship Heights, took $200 from the nearest ATM, ran all the way home and turned on the TV to discover the extent of the horror that soon became known as "9/11".

-Pat Kasdan, NNV Founder and Member

We remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and celebrate the many heroes of that day.

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