Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | September 11, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Living in New Jersey, so close to New York, brings the 9/11 experience much closer. With the 10th anniversary upon us, there’s been a lot of reflection not only in the news, but in everyday discussions. Much of it revolves around “where were you on 9/11?”

I spent time talking to one friend at school, and she lived in Manhattan when the attacks occurred. She worked in midtown but had not yet gone to work when the towers were hit. She recalls seeing thousands of people walking up FDR Drive, some shoeless, many with ashes on them. She remembers the lingering dust, smoke and rancid smells like it was yesterday. She also remembers the posters hung everywhere, looking for missing loved ones.

For every story of a person who lost a life in the attack, there seems to be a story of someone who narrowly escaped. I’m grateful our friend Jordan, who was scheduled to fly on flight United 93 from Newark to SF on 9/11, got a flight out the night before. His son’s bar mitzvah was yesterday. I’m grateful that Mark’s cousin Jane was late to her work meeting in one of the top floors of the towers, because she had a homeowners association meeting at the same time. At least one of her coworkers wasn’t so lucky. She evacuated, but went back in the building after getting the “all clear.”

I also want to remember one of the previous owners of our NJ home. He died in the towers, leaving behind his pregnant wife. My heart goes out to her and her son.

Today I’m going to share photos of painted tiles I saw at the World Trade Center site in 2007. I was in New York for a conference that April, and went to the World Trade Center with my friend Michelle. We saw a giant pit that used to hold the towers, and instead held cranes, dirt and workers. The site itself looked only like a construction site, but between the escalator levels connecting the street and the transit system, we found these tiles. They were created by children whose parents (mostly fathers) died in the towers.


  1. Powerful post, Deb. Thank you for reminding us of the survivors. It is miraculous that, out of 50,000 workers (and many more visitors), only (what a strange word to use here) 3,000 were killed. I heard 20,000 were saved: amazing. And possibly more amazing is that about 27,000 were late to meetings like your friend Jane? Is that possible?

  2. Just one more layer of heartbreak to this day. And how haunting it must be for you. I wish you peace tonight, I hope I can get to sleep myself. Thanks for posting this.

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