Remembering 9/11 Part 4: Bulletin readers recall Sept. 11Letters from Bulletin readers marking the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.
Editor’s note: The Bulletin asked readers to share their memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in advance of the 10th anniversary Sunday. Here are some responses.
Ten years later, we stand together
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11, I can’t help but think back to that fateful day in American history with a combination of awe, sadness and respect.
My plan for the day was to work in my office preparing budgets for the coming year, followed by a trip to Babies R Us with my wife as we were expecting our first child within a few short months — normal activity on a normal day in my normal life. As I got ready for work that Tuesday morning, I heard my phone ringing non-stop. Once I finally answered, my world was forever changed.
The rest of the day was spent watching TV. I tried to work, even going to my office, only to stand in front of the TV we had playing in the store with my staff and the very few customers who came in. All we could do was watch together and wonder, “What now?” Yet, there was strength in that togetherness. Strength America is known for. Strength we’ve relied upon throughout our country’s history. I felt it. You felt it. We were one people, no longer divided, in our grief and in our resolve. There was no mistaking it.
Earlier I mentioned being in awe on Sept. 11. That awe was a combination of dread and of reverence. Dread about what might be coming next. Dread of the unknown with the lingering question in the back of my mind being, “How could this happen?” Yet there was also reverence for those who were killed in a Pennsylvania field, and for the first responders who immediately went to work saving lives in the Twin Towers with no regard for their own mortality. The unwavering heroism and goodness of America was put to the test, and once again America passed with flying colors of red, white and blue.
My wife and I discussed the day’s events late into the night. Our son was to be born in December. Our joy was now tempered with concern over what sort of world we would be bringing him into. It weighed heavy on our hearts. We didn’t even know if the world we knew would exist, as there was talk of a nuclear response to the Sept. 11 attacks. But on Dec. 30, 2001, Corbin was born into an America unified in purpose and spirit. The civilized world joined us in our grief, and in our determination to seek justice for the victims of Sept. 11.
Much has changed in America in 10 years. Old divisions have unfortunately revealed themselves once again, with our country seemingly fractured along political, racial and religious fault lines. Yet I know the same spirit of togetherness in the days and months after Sept. 11 exists just under the surface of those same superficial divisions. We were all patriots on Sept. 11, united under one flag. I believe we are all patriots today as well, kindred peoples of many backgrounds and colors, standing together to remember our fallen. We will never forget.
Olsen is a Cottage Grove City Council member.
Looking back on Sept. 11
It has been 10 years since the attack on America Sept. 11. During that time I was working as a Newport police officer and also serving on the St. Paul Park City Council. This is an article I wrote as a council member in the city newsletter that fall:
I, too, watched TV in horror on that Sept. 11 morning. I was preparing for a meeting at City Hall with school officials. As the morning continued we watched in disbelief the crumbling of the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon on fire and the downed plane in Pennsylvania. That morning our nation stopped in time. Everybody will remember where they were and what they were doing.
Later that night I was returning home with my mother and we noticed the long lines at the gas stations. Mom said, “This feels like war.” She started talking of Pearl Harbor. She talked about how as a young woman in Wisconsin she gave out rationing stamps/books for gas and other items. I never heard her speak that way before. I always felt safe and lived in a time mainly in peace. I thought about how my parents, and their generation, had lived through a world war, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, Desert Storm and other conflicts.
After the attack on America Sept. 11, we found that we are vulnerable. Our peace of mind has been shaken and may never be the same. How much we took for granted as U.S. citizens. We have been brought into a new era of violence. How will we fight it? With the other wars we knew our enemy. This reign of terrorism is different. I wish our president and government well in fighting it.
Since the events of Sept. 11, I have noticed driving my squad car a more friendly public “Minnesota Nice.” People are flying the flag, businesses have banners/boards displaying “God Bless America” and “United We Stand.” I saw a small girl on Selby Avenue standing with her hand across her chest, looking at a large flag in the yard and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. There also has been a lot more waving or acknowledgement when I’m in the squad. Thank you.
I honor and grieve for these men, women and children who lost their lives that September morning. I wish those involved in the clean-up efforts well. We are one nation and stand together as brothers and sisters united.
Jim “Huffy” Huffman
St. Paul Park
We must stay alert
We will never forget that terrible day
when hatred attacked our USA.
Like Pearl Harbor of years gone by
the attack came during the morning sky.
So many watched in shock and horror
as evil struck at our front door.
The “Twin Towers” took the largest blow
with thousands killed in the final toll.
But that’s not all I’m sad to say
two more attacks occurred that day.
All America was stunned to know
that our old ways just had to go.
Our freedoms were tested and we had failed
to protect what others had always hailed.
Are we truly safer from another attack
or are we complacent and refuse to look back?
One lesson we learned on that fateful day
freedom’s not free; there’s a price to pay.
We must never forget and I’m sure we’ll agree
it’s a gift to us from our defenders you see.
A watchful attitude is now a must
and we must have good friends to trust.
Though ten years have past since that dreadful day
we must stay alert and never stray.
God bless America.
Bob Beskar, Cottage Grove
Beskar is a military veteran.