17 Years Later, We Still Remember

17 years is a long time.  Kids grow up.  Adults grow old.  People move on.  Memories fade.

But, not these memories.  Not the memories of jets scrambling outside my office near Dulles airport.  The horror watching the day unfold.

One moment that continues to stick out to me was a bit more than a month after 9/11.  I was in NYC for a work trip, my first time back to the city since 9/11.  The subway took me as far south as it could, and I walked from there.  I needed to see the carnage for myself.  A small part of it didn’t seem real.  Not my city.  Not New York.  The moment I’ll remember most isn’t the stores closed, boarded up because of no customers.  Nor of the temporary power lines running down every street.  Not even the wreckage itself, though the one piece of metal sticking up out of the pile was a sight I won’t soon forget.

That one moment that sticks out was when I realized how quiet it was.  No cars.  Very few people.  Those that were there came to pay their respects, quietly.  I remember walking over near Battery Park to see a memorial, where folks had laid flowers and other heartfelt items for loved ones lost.  At that moment, I was at a loss for what to do, where to go.  I just stood there and absorbed it.

The enormity of that moment is inescapable.  Of so many moments during those days and weeks.  So many people gave their life to help others that day.  The sacrifices of so many will be remembered.  Even after the streets were repaved, buildings reconstructed, monuments erected.

I write a post about 9/11 every year at this time.  Sometimes I’m flying, other times I’m home.  I don’t go back and read previous posts I’ve written about 9/11 before I write a new one.  This just isn’t something scripted.  It’s something everyone in our generation lived through.  We owe it to all those who lost a life or a loved one on 9/11.  To take just a moment on this day.

We still remember.


About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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  1. On the eve of bin Laden’s attacks, America’s GDP was nearly 10 times China’s and 40 times Russia’s. The U.S. military machine was unparalleled, with the Pentagon spending more on national defense than the next 15 countries combined. And despite those staggering outlays, Washington was running a $125 billion surplus.

    Seventeen years later, endless wars abroad and reckless policies at home have produced annual deficits approaching $1 trillion. Trump’s GOP will create more debt in one year than was generated in the first 200 years of America’s existence. And while the US has been mired in endless wars and bloody occupations over the past 17 years, China has used that same period to aggressively develop economic partnerships across Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. Perhaps that is one reason China will soon overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy.

    In Syria, the US (Ambassador Haley) threaten a sovereign nation that if they attacked Idlib (Al-Qaeda) the consequences will be dire …

    Although we remember, sadly, the terrorists have won!

  2. The hardest thing for me to do was go to a funeral, really a memorial, for someone that was killed on September 11. Has anyone ever gone to a funeral without a body? It’s sad beyond words. 🙁

  3. What I remember most abour my first visit to NYC in DECEMBER 2001, was the smell that still hung in the air. Walking to ground zero on a separate visit in 2002, I remember walking from the last subway stop and people were quietly talking. The closer we got, the quieter everyone became. At the site, no one spoke above a whisper. Most spoke not at all.

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