Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11—Ten Years On—

I think most of us have been pausing this weekend to reflect on the ten year anniversary of 9/11. We didn’t have facebook ten years ago, but we DID have our family quarterly newsletter. So, I have what we wrote after 9/11. Here is just a small portion of the twenty pages we wrote:

From Essays written --One month after 9/11, In October 2001:

From Beth Kinsella Sakanishi living in Japan:

“It’s hard to write about something so wrenching, so completely mind and emotion-saturating. I still feel as if I am made of glass as I walk around. I guess one place for me to start is what none of you experience: life lived elsewhere during a national crisis.

It was ten in the evening here and we were watching ABC as the second plane hit. We stayed up until three and then I could not bear to watch anymore. Everyone here has been so sympathetic and caring. Not only my students and neighbors have asked if my family and friends are safe, but the people in the post office and supermarket.

It occurred to me that the truth about clichés is that, while in ordinary times they may seem banal, in times of great grief, they are safety lines. They are rungs in a ladder to help us peer out of a deep well, to help us test the air.”

From Julie Lochner Riber:

“We had gotten up early that morning. We turned on the TV, as we usually do, debating over whether we’d watch cartoons (Wes) or the news (Julie). I won the battle that morning. Wes exclaimed “Oh my God! Someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center!”

I want to know all I can so I can tell future generations honestly how I felt and why. I owe it to those who died September 11th and those who are fighting this war. Am I afraid? Not really. Am I aware? Intensely. If I could do anything more than that, would I? You bet.”

From Kristin Kinsella Walker ( Kristin Kinsella then):

“The patriotism that this country is displaying makes me proud. Since I wasn’t around in any of the World War I or II times, I don’t know if this is how America was then, but that is how I imagine it. Houses, cars, buildings, trees, everything has a flag on it.

It seems that nothing can go back to how it used to be, and that makes me sad. I try to go on with my life as normal, but I don’t really know if it’s possible.”

From Pat Kinsella Herdeg:

“Norman Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’ comes to mind—in particular , ‘Freedom from Fear’: A mother and father tucking their young children into bed in an upstairs attic room, the floor scattered with toys and dolls. The parents’ wear looks of tender love and of worry. The father holds a folded newspaper in his one hand—headlines from Pearl Harbor.

Now, as I look back I am struck that my first emotion after the horror was one of anger. For all of my life, we lived in what might be innocent arrogance—our country could not be touched by war. Pearl Harbor? Act of war and on a faraway group of islands. But the idea of 9/11….And, now, my children will have to grow up in a world far different from the one I did, if only emotionally.”

From Nick Herdeg ( age 10) : “ Bin Laden is a bum.”

From Lucille ‘Aunt CB’ Taylor Kinsella:

“With Pearl Harbor we had an immediate enemy to marshal our forces on. We all became ‘brothers’ and every sacrifice was made without complaint.

This time it is different in that ‘terrorists’ come in many colors and costumes. This war will be fought differently.

Mom writes eloquently that we need a new ‘Marshall Plan’ to help the poorer countries. She ends with: “hopefully we will settle down to a determination to pursue not only terrorists but help the poor societies which spawn them.”

John ‘Uncle Jack’ Kinsella:

“Will it change America? My answer is yes—it certainly has changed my thinking forever. I have always believed in the concept of “Fortress America”. We were safe in our ‘Fortress’ with the largest moat in the world—the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

I now know that it is possible for people who hate us to easily cross our moats and do our country serious harm.”

Chris Kinsella wrote a well-thought out essay on war throughout the ages and ends with:

“It is interesting that history has shown that the superpowers are constantly threatened where they are most vulnerable. We must learn from this.

I believe the government needs to provide funds and protection on our planes, trains, mass transit and other terrorist targets.”

Sue Kinsella wrote:

When I drive in to San Francisco now, I slow down before the Golden Gate Bridge and look for planes. I do not feel safer knowing that military generals can give the order to shoot down commercial jetliners.

I am very grateful that we got filled up on family time this summer, when we got to see all of you. Have I told you, each and every one of you, that I love you?”

Jen Dalle Kinsella wrote:

“My mind kept racing back to the summer of 1991 when I worked at the World Trade Center. I still have my access badge—44th floor of Tower One. Doesn’t do me any good now.

I had the opportunity to go out on the catwalk on the 110th floor. I have no fear of heights—there is no glass, no guardrail, and no noise. Just you and a breathtaking view of the city at night. And now it is gone.”

And, I have to end with Dan Kinsella’s thoughts:

“One of the things that travel to other countries brings is a realization of how good we have it here. Our way of life is not ordained, it is not guaranteed; it is only achieved by much hard work every generation. It’s time for more hard work to maintain it.

We’ve been able to do it for the last 225 years, here’s hoping we can do it again.”

As Sue said ten years ago: “Have I told you, each and every one of you, that I love you?”


Ali said...

This is all very interesting for me to read, and I've been reflecting on many of the concerns written here all day without knowing it. Pat (my mother) writes how her children will forever grow up in a different world, and Kristin, whose age then is my age now, writes that nothing can go back to how it used to be. I don't think I fully realized the horror of 9/11 until watching specials on the history channel today, absorbing how much it shattered everyone's illusion of safety. I was 12 years old at the time, and I didn't comprehend the enormity of what had happened, and terrorist attacks are something I've just grown up with. But now, being old enough to look back and recognize what 9/11 meant for the American people, and reliving the day's events through television, I can see that life has forever changed for our generation, even if I didn't know it at the time.

I like Julie's distinction of being aware but not afraid. I'm in DC right now, and have many close friends in NYC, but I'm not afraid of the bomb threat. I'm very aware that it's a real concern, but it's hard to actually feel afraid. Maybe that means that although the events of 10 years ago shook our sense of security, they didn't destroy it, which is certainly a victory for America over the terrorists.

Sue Kinsella said...

Thinking of Aunt Doris on her birthday, September 11.

Lucille/CB said...

Every Sept 11 I think of Doris but 10 years ago I was on my way to spend 3 days with her for her birthday I had plans to take her to a really posh restaurant to celebrate! Instead we spent the time glued to her TV, both bawling oceans of tears!
I did the same this AM [ 10 years later] as I watched the ceromonies. I flew with those who ended in Shanksville, I ran thru the Pentagon corriders and I breathed the dust of the towers as they came down! I could never match such courage !
WWll we exhibited such patriotism and all pulled together. May we all again, especially the Congress!!!

Jack Kinsella said...

I was listening last night to a program about 9/11 and the speaker commented that one of the most deeply ingrained traits in humans, when faced with danger is to run!
Then when you think of the first respondeers who knew fully well the danger, unhesitatedly went into the towers to rescue people, you realize how truly brave they were.
Jack Kinsella

Evelyn Taylor said...

On Sept 11, 2001 (9/11) my daughter, Pam, and I changed our plans to travel to Europe on the following Tuesday. We changed our plans ourselves.

The victims and their families of the 9/11 tragedy did not have that option. Their plans changed that day in an instant---plans to do a good job at work that day; plans to get married; plans to have children or raise the ones they already had; plans to go to school-- a myriad of plans that life is made of.

Their plans ended that fateful day!

May God bless them all!