Category: 9/11 Stories

Stories about the events of 9/11/01.

9/11 Remembered: Will We Not Falter?

9/11 Remembered: Will We Not Falter?

(On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Tales Told From The Road ran stories from its readers and other sources about their experiences traveling in the days surrounding 9/11. Over the coming days we will re-run many of those stories to commemorate a day in the history of the United States and the world that will long be remembered.)

“9/11 Remembered: Will We Not Falter?” By Elisabeth Ptak

 I happened to be at the National Guard Armory in Medford, Oregon, last Sunday when the United States began bombing Afghanistan. It was a beautiful fall day where I was. The air was crisp, and overnight a new crop of leaves had carpeted the back yards and sidewalks in the picturesque towns around there. There were jobs to be had: a sign on a fruit processing plant announced the company was hiring experienced pear packers. Roadside produce stands overflowed with a harvest of pumpkins and winter squash for sale, and even the most run-down businesses I passed made up in character what they lacked in charm.

A portable traffic hazard signal flashed “God Bless U.S.A.” on the side of the road that I’d traveled in the shadow of the rugged Cascade Range.  “We will not falter, we will not fail,” blazed from the red, white, and blue marquee of a car and truck dealership, while Old Glory waved from front porches, lampposts, and motels. America was wearing its flag on its lapel and its heart on its sleeve. If it didn’t exactly feel good to be alive, what with the world situation and all, at least it felt color-coordinated.

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9/11 Remembered: The Firefighter

9/11 Remembered: The Firefighter

(On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Tales Told From The Road ran stories from its readers and other sources about their experiences traveling in the days surrounding 9/11. Over the coming days we will re-run many of those stories to commemorate a day in the history of the United States and the world that will long be remembered.)

“9/11 Remembered: The Firefighter” By Patricia Bracewell

In April of 2004 when I made my first trip to New York City. I was staying in a Chelsea hotel that had a cooking school on a lower floor, and one evening I met a culinary student who stopped in the lounge for a beer after his class. His name was Tom. He was 41 years old, muscular and tall, with a bald head and a goatee. He was taking the culinary course because he needed a new career.

(Pixabay Photo)

He told me that he had been a New York City firefighter—a first responder to the events of 9/11. His lungs had been damaged that day, and for physical, mental and emotional reasons, he was preparing to leave New York City. A lot of guys have these problems, he said, and are seeing shrinks regularly.

We’ve been forgotten, he mused. America has forgotten New York’s tragedy.

Tom’s lung damage meant that he could no longer be a firefighter. He had been a helicopter pilot once, but he could not do that either, because of the medications he was taking. He wasn’t bitter or complaining—just stating the facts. He said he felt lucky. He had a wonderful wife and great kids. He would be moving them to Florida in hopes that the heat and humidity would help his lungs.

A few days later I stood at the World Trade Center site. On one side a building damaged in the WTC collapse stood battered and abandoned, its windows gaping. The chain link fence that surrounded the World Trade Center pit held flowers, notes and prayers.

We haven’t forgotten, I thought, but we aren’t paying as much attention as we should to those still suffering from the events of that day.

Patricia Bracewell’s 9/11 story was originally published by Tales Told From The Road on September 30, 2011.

She is the author of historical novels about a little-known English queen, Emma of Normandy.

The first book in the trilogy, Shadow On The Crown, was published in 2013 and its book launch was the subject of this short film produced for community TV station MarinTV in San Rafael, California, by Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan.

The two met when both were members of Left Coast Writers, a group established to “support new and established writers in the production and promotion of their work in a stimulating atmosphere of creativity and community.”

The second book, The Price of Blood, came out in 2o15. The final book in the series, The Steel Beneath The Silk, will be published in Spring 2021.

(Tales Told From The Road will receive a small commission for purchases of Patricia Bracewell’s books made through the links on this page.)

 

9/11 Remembered: Atop Kilimanjaro

9/11 Remembered: Atop Kilimanjaro

(On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Tales Told From The Road ran stories from its readers and other sources about their experiences traveling in the days surrounding 9/11. Over the coming days we will re-run many of those stories to commemorate a day in the history of the United States and the world that will long be remembered.)

“9/11 Remembered: Atop Kilimanjaro” By Joan Steidinger

Climbing through the barren and rocky terrain, we spotted the pristine, ivory snow- capped glacier. At 18,000 feet, its vastness was breathtaking.  The sheath of ice rose thirty feet above our heads.

(Wikipedia Commons Photo)

The glacier was next to our camping area for the night. With muscles aching and deep slow breaths, each of the eight climbers slowly crawled into domed army-green tents.  They settled down to an afternoon siesta before dinner was served.

One climber, Terry, was celebrating his 60th birthday. An African porter had run down and back up the mountain to bring fresh fish and a birthday cake for the celebration.

The next morning was summit day on Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Tensions were running high and our hearts were pounding hard.  Little did we know what terrifying events were taking place thousands of miles from our remote locale.

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