These are the opening pages of my journal…

“Tues. morning before 7:00 – Awakened from sleep with a nightmare about an attempted rape by a taxi driver…Told him to put his clothes back on & climb back in the front seat…He complied…I was not surprised…I felt disturbed, but not terrorized…

then our daughter calls with the NEWS at 7:00. We are roused out of bed to a changed world.



Great sobbing anguish when the South Tower collapses on live TV…

Wrenching sobs…

No tears…

Has World War III begun?

There was an ache where my heart should be…

How could it be?!

How could it be when I stand in the shower wondering whether I have enough time to wash my hair before we’re attacked, wondering what clothes I should put on, what shoes I should wear if I need to run. These are questions I have NEVER had to ask before!


I began this journal several days after 9/11 because there was so much horror mingled with emerging beauty that it needed to be recorded lest I forget. A recently altered book with raggedy blank pages and a rough purple cover became the foundation for Living 911, an eighty page remembrance of an event that has impacted this generation for the last ten years. I set some creative parameters: it would not be red, white and blue, but unrepeated rich satuarated colors; it would contain a horrible story combined with beautiful images. Each day a freshly painted pair of pages contained my response to unfolding news, thoughtful commentary, and personal experience. The journal flops open to my favorite pages…

“Early news reports told stories of people on the highjacked airplanes calling home on their cell phones to leave messages on answering machines or to tell loved ones of the terror unfolding. Mostly they called to say “I love you…” – the ultimate bottom line in this disaster. I am continually amazed at the presence of mind so many had in the face of unimaginable terror.”

Collaged next to an autumn wreath are two cell phones with the words TWIN TOWERS beneath them. Somethings can’t be destoyed.

Another page…

“Within weeks a friend is called up to serve in the National Guard. He asks his wife to give me his Claymore anti-personnel mine to take care of until he returns. It’s only a practice weapon, but sobering none the less. Because Mike and I have shared a joke about the Claymore, I’m the only one who would appreciate it he said.” I am…


Other pages recall a Bryant Gumbel interview with Billy Graham’s daughter where he asks her ” “why didn’t God stop this or do something about this?” She replied, “For years we have told God we didn’t want him in our schools. We didn’t want Him in our government and we didn’t want Him in our finances and God was a perfect gentleman in doing what we asked of Him to do. We need to make up our minds: Do we want God or do we not want God. We cannot just ask Him in when disaster strikes.” Bryant Gumbel was silent…’

One of the closing pages reads…

“Poster, stickers, flags abound everywhere with patriotic colors and slogans. Foremost among them is “United We Stand.” I agree that as a nation we must come together & resist this present evil, but we can’t do it out of our own energy & thinking. “United We Stand” is only half the phrase. The other half should be “Together We Kneel.”

The creation of this journal was a therapeutic process for me. It recorded, in short bursts, the worst and best of humankind. When it was completed at the end of a month, I was in a different place than when I began. I waded through shocking horror to a place of sober hope.

Lest we forget…

Where were you when you heard the news of 9/11? Over time, what was the emerging beauty you experienced out of so much horror? Who would you call on your cell phone? If you created an art or writing piece as a memorial to 9/11, what was it? If you were to create a 10th anniversary remembrance of 9/11, what would it look like? What would it say?  

I looked forward to hearing about our shared experience.


9 comments to Pages

  • Barbara Hayes

    I have chills and tears, Lynn. I am trying so hard to get TIME back into my life – MY time – so that I can start doing artwork again. Your posts inspire me. Where was I when it happened? In bed. I had turned on the news, as was my habit, and the first plane had struck, but all I could see was smoke. I thought a light aircraft had hit the building and fallen to the ground, but they weren’t showing a broken plane on the ground. While I was trying to figure this out, airplane #2 angled into the picture and flew into the second tower. I saw the approach. I saw the impact. I was frozen, stunned, breathless. So were the news anchors. They reported it but also speculated: terrorist attack. I called my brother. “Turn on the TV, NOW!”

  • Sara Blackburn

    I was teaching in a preschool. My co-worker was driving the van for the morning school drop-off, heard what was happening on the radio and called us. We turned on the radio and listened until the second plane crashed. After that we turned the radio off and were unable to get the information we wanted from the media because we were afraid of traumatizing the children with the radio and tv news broadcasts. We stumbled through the morning in shock and disbelief and once all the children were napping we pulled a tv into the hall, rigged an antennae and watched the horror. We cried. We were near speechless. My 3rd story apartment sat under a air path frequented by planes and helicoptors. All was silent that night and for many nights after. When airways were cleared for life flight, my roommate and I were terrified at unfamiliar sound of a helicoptor flying over our apartment and it took us several minutes to realize what that sound was. Looking back I remember how horrified I was. I wrote several poems regarding the event. Detailing it. Recording my thoughts and emotions. I will always remember where I was that day. It seems crazy to me that it was 10 years ago.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    At the time I was still working. I had to be at work at 7:00, so was up and getting ready to do so. The bedroom next to mine was being used as Dede’s office at the time, so I could turn on the TV in my room with out fear of disturbing any who might be sleeping near by. Dede was at her desk doing some work.

    The pictures on the TV of especially the first tower being hit was surreal. I’ve seen so many “crash and burn” movies that the reality of what was happening in New York didn’t make sense. I rushed in to tell Dede what I had seen – her initial reaction was somewhat the same. Then the second tower was hit, and reality started to sink in. By the time I got to work, everyone had heard what was happening, and we went into a what do we do now mode. I worked for a county government office, and all county employees are considered to be first line emergency responders to one point or another, so we were in a getting ready to do what needed to be done mode.
    As the week wore on, what beauty I saw was a sports stadium filling up with donations of every possible thing that people in an emergency situation could perceivably need. Having George visiting us from Uganda right now reminds me also of an article I saw in the next few days. A tribe from Africa had offered part of their herd to the United States so we could have provision. So touching and so telling of how people with so little arise to problems.

    Love, hugs and prayers,



    Lynne, you blog is marvelous. John and I were in Canada–Ridgeway, Ontario, visiting a cousin and her husband. We were finishing breakfast when a neighbor called to tell us to put on the TV as a plane had flown into the Tower. We saw the second plane go into the other tower. We were planning on going to my high school reunion in Niagara Falls, NY, in a few days. Of course, the border bridges were all closed with trucks and cars lining up to get through. A sister of the cousin we were visiting worked as a Canadian Customs Officer on the Peace Bridge. She kept us informed of when and where to cross which we finally did on the Friday at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. Saturday was the class reunion, and we attended it, but people were rather quiet this time. A week or so later we went back into Canada to visit more friends and relatives. We kept seeing signs saying “God Bless The USA”. They were selling little American flags to raise money at every place we stopped, and there were many American flags flying on buildings or flagpoles. I’ll never forget what my cousin’s husband said. “Why are they attacking the USA? That country does so much for other countries!” John and I will never foget this time in our lives. We pray for everyone involved.

  • Jeannie Cavender

    I received a phone call early the morning of 9/11from my son in California saying that his grandmother and I would not be flying home that day. I reminded him of our itinerary and yes we were flying home that day and planning on him meeting us at the airport in Santa Barbara. It was then that he told me about the planes flying into the towers and that all air transportation had ceased for the time being – we were not flying home.

    My mother and I were just concluding the ten day stay we (and other conglomorates of the family) have enjoyed numerous summers at our cabin in Neskowin Oregon. We have pictures of my mother and dad there before they were married in early 1930s. There are pictures of my brother and I as babies and also my children. The days there were a repite – no phones, (only cell which I usually did not turn on and I had only had done so that morning because we were leaving.)no TV, and not even much incentive to turn on the old radio. The sounds we heard were sea gulls, the waves rushing to the shore, a gentle breeze from the huge pine trees, and the relaxed conversations or laughter of other summer cabin folk who passed by on foot or bicycle who, like us were enjoying just being away.

    Hanging up the phone I now knew my mother and I would be driving back to Califoria. I learned that the rental car we had could not be taken out of Oregon and would have to be returned to the Portland airport. Anxiously I called until I found another rental agency that would allow us to pick up at the airport a car which could be driven to California andwhich under the current circumstances was not easy to locate.

    My mother was still asleep when I finished my calling, so I then headed for the beach – my usualy beginning of the day at Neskowin. My goal was often to hit the cross tide about a 1/2 mile up the beach that always promised sand dollars – but you had to get there faily early to find them before others “discovered” them. How eerie it was to be on a beautiful wide sandy beach, walking alone in the surf with just a touch of sun coming through the mist and feeling perfectly safe, yet knowing, and at that point really knowing very little, that the world as we knew it was completely turned up side down over 3000 miles across the country.

    Knowing the distance we would have to drive that day my mother and I departed the cabin within probably just an hour or so after I returned from my walk. We drove to Portland, did our car exchange. Seeing a usually very busy airport almost vacant was one of our first glimpses into the magnitude of what had transpired. We still had not had access not seen any of the TV coverage – all we knew was what we heard on the radio, we could not even try to “imagine” what others had already seen.

    The first footage we did see on a television that had been placed on the restaurant counter of the motel where we were staying in Medford There was a strange silence, people just watching, not talking, not even seemingly paying attention to what was on their plates. The “reality” was now a visual presence for my mother and I and yet the “realtiy” of the entire situation still 10 years late is difficult to comprehend.

  • Karinski

    Kev and I were watching the entire thing unfold live from KY. We watched in amazement as the second aircraft plunged into the towers. I remember turning to Kev and asking increduously “Was that actually a plane?” We walked our small town in KY where men were all now openly carrying guns and there was a run on the gas stations and grocery stores (having just moved from California, the guns were quite a shock!). I remember thinking we were quite safe where we lived because there was nothing around us…only to find out we lived within 40 miles of a nuclear power plant that was put on high alert. The first phone call I made….to you and Dad, because, even at the age of 37, I needed my mommy and daddy to feel safe in a world that had just turned very dark. I remember walking around shell shocked for quite a long time and wondering if this is what war felt like. And I became a much more vigilant observer during my travels, not alwyas a good thing! Let’s hope this anniversary passes with only the remembrance of what was and those who paid such large sacrifices.

  • Tom

    Hey Lynne,

    Great words. Thank you.

  • Helen

    I was one of the millions around the world who watched in transfixed horror and impotence as the events unfolded live before my very eyes. I live in the UK and came home to check out what was going on after a colleague came into my classroom to tell me she had heard that a big airplane had flown into the World Trade Centre. I thought she was exaggerating and that it was a light aircraft. I was wrong.

    This last week our TV’s are once more full of quiet programmes reflecting on the events through contemporary voices and camera footage and once again I have felt compelled to watch and somehow stand with the victims of such terrible acts. I think perhaps many of us are far more aware of the enormity of such acts, wherever they occur, since finding ourselves unwitting eyewitnesses to that terrible day.

    I am not an American and I hope you will pardon me for presuming to speak to your hurt but I think these words have been in gestation for ten years and your words, Lynne, acted as the midwife to bring them to birth. Thank you for encouraging me to seek to express what was in my heart.

    And in the dawns early light
    I awaken
    And the images so fresh
    In my remembering
    Awaken once again
    The pain in my heart
    And the horror in my mind
    And the numb certainty
    That it wasn’t a reel of
    Celluloid drama
    And lavish make up
    But a reality
    Of blood and tears
    And anguish undiluted
    And I think me of you
    My Jesus
    And your dark hours
    On the cross
    And I see your presence
    In the dusty figures
    Reaching out
    To the lost and hurting
    And I hear your pain wracked voice
    In the cries of the suffering
    ‘My God, my God…!.’
    And then I remember
    Your last cry in the dark
    ‘Father, forgive …!’
    And filled with pain
    I wonder how you
    Managed to say those words
    And in the dawns early light
    The images etched on my heart
    Are as clear as the rising day
    And the towers fall once more
    Like the hammer blows
    That nailed you to the cross
    And my breath is stopped
    With yours
    And I remember
    And I pray
    For your grace
    And your love
    To triumph
    In the dawn’s early light
    And in the pain filled hearts
    Of your hurting world
    As it did long years since
    In the redeeming light
    Of that first
    Resurrection dawn

    HW 9-9-11

  • Karen Greenslate

    Thank you to all of you….Lynn I appreciate your journal entries. I remember getting calls in between the images on the screen of buildings crumbling into powder-smoke and commentators who could barely speak. The phone calls were from my husband, my children, my friend, Stephenie. So many calls ended with “I love you,” but this time the words held on, and the Goodbyes didn’t come right away. When I was a girl, my little sister and I argued/squabbled often enough. If our Dad was around, and if he thought it necessary to get involved, he would require us, in the middle of the conflict, to hold hands or hug (we were not allowed to say “ugh” but we were thinking so.) Then after we were in contact, he would require us to say to each other, three times, “We love each other. WE love each other. We love each other.” Often we would be giggling through the 2nd utterance. My husband and I have tried something like this a few times in the midst of a yet unsettled disagreement. Hold hands, in the midst of conflict, and just say…..”I love you.” Something in us is calmed with this assurance and things get into perspective so easily. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea…..”Ps 46:1,2 Read the rest of the Psalm…maybe you want to keep it by your phone too!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>