Remembering 9/11

Aerial view of memorial. Rendering by Squared Design Lab/courtesy WTC Memorial Foundation

Sept. 11, 2011 will summon remembrances and reflections of the events ten years ago for many Philipstown residents. Here at Philipstown.info we hope to capture some of them to share with the community. In doing so we invite readers to submit their own written, recorded or photographed works that commemorate the anniversary in some way.  Send them to editor@philipstown.info.

We also plan to cover some of the local events scheduled for this coming Sunday:

  • ·      8:46 a.m. The Great Bell at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands will be tolled once for each of the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the terrorist attacks. Both parishioners and members of the community are invited to participate in tolling the bell at any time during the memorial, which is estimated to conclude at 12:55 p.m.  For more information contact the Verger, Thom Harrington, 845-896-6333.
  • ·      10 a.m.  The Village of Cold Spring will observe a moment of silence for reflection, remembrance and prayer at the 9/11 Memorial Garden located at McConville Park (aka Tot’s Park) on Morris Avenue (Route 9D). All are invited.
  • ·      10 a.m. The Chapel Restoration (45 Market St. at the Cold Spring Metro-North station) will host the duo BlissSing. Eileen O’Hare and Cat Guthrie will lead omni-faith sacred chanting for communal healing, world harmony and love. There is a $10 suggested donation but no one will be turned away. For more information: www.blissingchant.com.
  • ·      4 p.m. The Sunset Reading Series at the Chapel Restoration will feature local authors, Sam Anderson, Frank Ortega and Gwendolyn Bounds, reading from their works with some reflecting on the events of Sept 11, 2001. A free wine and cheese reception to follow.
  •        6:15 p.m. The Garrison Fire Company will be holding a brief memorial at the PatriotGardenat the northwest corner of the GarrisonSchoolsoccer field.  The garden was created in 2003 in memory of David Fodor, a Garrison resident who was a tax accountant and volunteer Fire Warden at a firm on the 90th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.  David was last seen helping people into the stairway and directing them, since there was no safe place down the stairs, to the roof.  His body was found a few days after the collapse.
  • ·      7 p.m. The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, will host a special candlelight prayer service at the World Trade Center Memorial Cross in the St. Jude Prayer Garden located on the grounds of Graymoor, to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Putnam County Sheriff, Brig. Gen. Donald B. Smith, US Army, Ret., will be the main speaker. The Garrison Volunteer Fire Company, and the Garrison Ambulance Corp. will also participate. The World Trade Center Cross at Graymoor was erected by the Ironworkers of Local 40, N.Y.C. who constructed it of steel girders and ash from the WTC site. The Cross is a simple but powerful tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

One thought on “Remembering 9/11

  1. My memories are very vivid but seem irrelevant compared to those who suffered and died or lived but continue to suffer. Still, it is my recollection of the most surreal day of my life, and, like so much of the rest of the world, it affected me to the core.

    I was working at Glynwood on Route 301. On that perfect morning of clear, painfully blue, late summer skies, a colleague who was going through a divorce came in and immediately hurried into the office next to mine to talk to another co-worker. She was clearly upset – about the divorce I assumed – so I closed my door. But she spoke so loudly and in such a heightened tone, bits and pieces of the conversation sifted through the walls. “A plane…. hit twin towers…a second plane… he works near there”….crying. As soon as I heard “second plane” I knew what it was, or so I thought. No accident….small planes….Cessnas or something like that….explosives… a serious but not likely a very effective attack…the towers are huge.

    People inched out of their offices, stunned. We headed for the one house on site that had a television. The gardener, the workers from the farm and housekeeping had found there way there as well. Twelve or 14 of us watched in shock. Frivolous, silly thoughts sometimes popped into my head. I thought it was strangely funny that this was the first time that the full staff had gathered in this setting – to watch television – something we had never done before. Perhaps it was my mind’s defense system, trying to distract me while it processed what my eyes were seeing. We watched in complete, odd silence. When the first tower collapsed I uttered the only word that was spoken that morning in that room – a monosyllabic expletive. The second tower collapsed. There was nothing to say.

    People prepared to leave. I went back to my office. In what was a minor miracle, my sister Penny got through on the phone, calling from Windsor, Ontario. She was crying , worried about my safety. How silly that was I thought. I’m 60 miles from there. People at the drugstore where she worked were also crying. The border at Detroit was closed. F-16’s were patrolling the skies. How silly that was I thought. This is done. Almost 700 miles to the west, in another country, parents were taking their kids out of school. How silly I thought.

    My wife – who also worked at Glynwood – and I left to pick up my step-daughter Julia at O’Neill High School in Highland Falls. We didn’t say much if anything on the way there. I felt OK until we got to Bear Mountain Bridge. There was bumper to bumper traffic heading home across the bridge, traveling east. The bridge and the approach to it from the Palisades were jammed. I had never seen that before. It hit me. We were the only car going west across the bridge. It felt very very wrong to be going in that direction. I felt shaken. We were not safe.

    The kids at the school had been told next to nothing. Rumours were rampant. I was surprised how calm it was inside. More a feeling of light confusion, an unexplained day off school. Not panic, fear or disbelief.

    We drove back to Bear Mountain Bridge. Traffic was no better. I was in utter disbelief that they were still collecting the one dollar bridge fee. The definition of ludicrous. I felt a surge of anger. Someone continuing to do their job when their job was of absolutely no consequence. A silly thought wafts in… a man pushing a lawn mower in the middle of the desert.

    I remember very little else of that day. I worried about not being able to get through to my two sons. Worried about them worrying. It’s not silly when it’s your own kids. A lot of repetitive television that night – as though somehow the story might change. As though there would be answers. As though there was sense to be made of it.

    I don’t know if it was that night or a few nights later. I lay in bed, not sleeping. It was around 2:00 in the morning. I heard what had become a very noticeably absent sound – an airplane in the distance. It had to be a military transport. It had that sound. It was traveling north along the Hudson. Headed for Stewart no doubt. It seemed to be flying in slow motion. It made a low, mournful, sad sound that seemed to drone on and on forever. I felt frightened. I felt like a child.

    I recently asked my oldest brother Len for a vivid memory from September 11 and its aftermath. He said that Highway 401 – the thruway that runs from Windsor-Detroit to Montreal – had trucks backed up for many miles for several days because of the closed border. For all those miles along the shoulder of the road they had placed porta-johns for the benefit of the truck drivers. One last silly thought.