9-11 Reflections – The Women At Ground Zero

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Women at Ground Zero (the book)

Today is among the saddest days in American history as we observe the 11th anniversary of the attacks of 9-11-01.  Yesterday, Brenda offered a glimpse of etched memories in her Real Zone column.  Here’s my story.

On September 11, 2001, I was at my home which was then in Dublin, California.  I remember my son coming into snuggle early in the morning after my husband had gone to the gym.  My son told me this morning that he remembered being awake when his father came home, turned on the television, and said “you’ve got to watch this – the World Trade Center has been hit by an airplane.  This is a terrorist attack.”  My father and mother in law were in NYC at the time.

As I woke from groggy sleep (it was around 6:00 AM Pacific time), the second plane hit.

I remember calling my son’s school to say I would be keeping him home today.  Nobody knew what would happen next.  I remember knowing that something was terribly wrong in the world for this to happen to the United States.

There were many people from the Bay Area including Tom Burnett on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.  Over the years, we have learned of their bravery and their stories.

I recall seeing President Bush when he received the news while reading at a school in Florida.  Later he stood at Ground Zero with firefighters and a bull horn.  I recall that even in the face of our worst terrorist attack, firefighters who were most impacted felt comfort as the President stood atop the scene of this massive attack.

A few years ago, my friend Donna got a book for me entitled “The Woman at Ground Zero”.  It was written by two women who live in the California Bay Area.  They offer unique perspective on the events that happened on that terrible day through the eyes of women heroes – firefighters, police officers, paramedics and emergency response personnel.  They are Susan Hagan, a firefighter and medical technician from Sonoma County and Mary Carouba, a former investigative social worker.

The women featured in the book stood shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts and speak with clarity.  Their voices are those of mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, partners and friends whose lives were forever changed at that moment.  The authors interviewed 30 women who offered their personal accounts with emotion and vivid detail.

As we focus today on this terrible tragedy, we pray for those families most impacted through losses of family and friends.  As we reflect on the lasting impact the moments of 9-11-2001 had on each and every American, take a moment today to thank a first responder, a policewoman or firefighter for their service.  Remember the women of ground zero and their courage.

I’m commemorating the day by participating in a ceremony at the All Wars Memorial in my town that occurs each year and is sponsored through the Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley.

Feel free to share your reflections on how you are observing the day.  Be safe.