Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2001

They changed our lives -- the attacks of September 11, 2001. We witnessed the devastation, felt the sorrow, and suffered the losses as individuals and as a nation. Though watching from across the country, we west coast Americans felt the impact as surely as if it were in our own back yards. It wasn’t “them” who were attacked. It was “us.”

My friend and colleague, Bobbi Emel, featured her September 11th resiliency story on her blog this week. Reading it inspired me to share my story of that day.

The ringing telephone woke us. Our friend Karen had just heard of the attacks and called to let us know what was happening, "Are you listening to NPR? A plane flew into the World Trade Center!" Turning on the TV, we were stunned and horrified at that moment. Even more so when we saw the live shots of New York City. Then came the pictures from the Pentagon and the report of the crashed plane in Pennsylvania. 

We watched for a few hours -- as long as we could stand it. Then, we went out for a walk in a beautiful wooded area of Coos Bay called Empire Lakes. Being active and being in nature seemed to soothe our spirits, even though the attacks dominated our conversation.

Next, we drove to the Pony Village Mall, where Karen's cookware store, along with the espresso bar, was a favorite local hangout. Usually, each table in the mall promenade just outside the store entry held a small vase of fresh flowers from Karen's garden. On September 11, candles burned and their glow reflected from the tawny table tops. She had also set up a small TV so everyone could keep up with the latest news. And, yes, the locals had come to be with others and share their feelings and the experience. In disbelief, we spoke in hushed voices as we glanced toward the TV and talked about where we were when we heard the news. This would be a day when every person would vividly recall every detail.

Judy and I were scheduled for a vacation to Egypt the very next week. We'd been practicing our Arabic greetings and tourist phrases with the aid of language tapes and were practically packed to go. That morning of 9-11, the immediate calls from our family contained questions, pleas, and orders about the trip.

“You’re not going, are you?” 

“Please, don’t go. If you want to see the pyramids, you can rent the video.”

“You’re NOT going.”

To each person, we said, “Let’s just wait and see what happens.” But, before the end of the day, it was apparent that we would not make that trip. Ever.

Now it’s been ten years. I still have a dull ache in my heart for those lost -- the victims and the rescue workers who were doing their jobs, even when it threw them into peril.  I ache for their loved ones and for the survivors, whose lives were ruthlessly catapulted into an unimaginable track. My ache seems small, when I compare it to what theirs must be like. 

But, I remember.

Where were you, and how did you hear the news of September 11, 2001? None of us will ever forget.
~ xoA ~


  1. No, none of us will ever forget, Annis. And it's important that we teach our children about that day, too. I was a little taken aback when I heard a story on NPR the other day where a teacher of ninth-graders was talking about how his students - 4 or 5 years old at the time - will probably be his last class that remembers anything about 9-11-01. His current students were asking questions such as, "Were we already at war with Iraq when that happened?" And making comments like, "I didn't even know who Osama Bin Laden was until he was killed and everyone was so happy about it."

    Just as we must never, ever forget the atrocities of World War II, we need to continue to teach the lessons - both good and bad - of September 11, 2001 to those in younger generations.

    We must not forget.

  2. I agree, Bobbi. We must teach about and learn from those lessons. As a nation and as individuals, we must not forget. Thank you for this reminder. ~ xoA

  3. I remember being awakening by my good friend Margo that morning, calling me from work where she and her officemates were watching the news---bewildered and horrified as the first, and then the second plane hit the towers. It was inconceivable and frightening to consider what it all meant, and I also remember that I was one of those calls you got that day.

    At first I couldn't remember exactly when you and Judy were scheduled to leave for Egypt, and, not being able to reach you immediately, I panicked just a bit. I finally got ahold of Karen, who confirmed you were still in Coos Bay, and got my message to you. Speaking to Judy later, the emotions overwhelmed me---the fear, relief and need for assurance that you would at least be postponing the trip.

    Looking back--- and forward--- I can't say I am optimistic about where we have come to as a nation as a result of the attacks and the aftermath. But hope springs eternal, and so I will hope we gain greater wisdom individually and collectively.

  4. Dear, dear John ~ It was so sweet, how you tracked us down by calling around town. We loved it and loved you even more for getting in touch with us. And, yes, wisdom is what we need. Thanks so much for sharing your story and thoughts. ~ xoA