It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since that dark day. No matter where in the world you are, I’m sure that you remember it like it was yesterday.

I was managing an animal hospital at the time. I was on hold with a distributor in upstate New York, waiting to talk to one of my favorite reps so I could place our weekly supply order. A radio station was playing while I was on hold. The moderators were talking about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. How could this be? When Valerie came on the line, I asked her whether she knew what that was all about, and that’s when I began to find out what was happening.

Remember, this was in the days before smartphones, before social media. We didn’t have a TV at the clinic, and only one computer with a dial-up internet connection. We turned the radio on, right around the time when the second plane crashed into the South Tower. Then a client came rushing in, shouting that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.

Our phones kept ringing off the hook – not with animal emergencies, but with family members calling staff members. My dad called me from Germany. He’d been trying to get through for hours. He had no concept of how far from the Pentagon the clinic was (more than 40 miles,) all he knew was that his daughter might be in harm’s way. He was so worried, he told me not to go home, that it was dangerous to be outside.

When I finally got home that day, I hugged Amber like I had never hugged her before. Then I turned the TV on. After only listening to news reports during the day, and seeing a few isolated images online, the full horror of what had happened started to sink in. Like everyone else, I called close friends to connect, to check in, to make sure they were safe.

Today, I’m praying for the families of the victims and of the heroes that lost their lives trying to save so many others. I’m crying for the innocence we all lost that day. And I’m remembering the most important lesson that 9/11 taught all of us: life is a fragile and precious gift that should never be taken for granted.

Please share your 9/11 memories or remembrances in a comment.

25 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Remembering 9/11

  1. Living in Australia, the attacks happened late in the evening our time. I work for a company that has a US parent and we lost colleagues from our sister company in the WTC. Life changed for everybody on 9/11.

  2. This was a great post Ingrid. I remember that I was at my new job here in Michigan. I had just moved here that June. I was on the phone talking to an old friend in Cleveland when she yelled that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I said I was getting off the phone and was going to the HR office to see if the manager had her TV on, she did. We stood there scared, talking and staring at the TV when we saw the second plane hit. It was horrific. I worked on the 28th floor of a 30 story building, so after about an hour they made us evacuate (because they were afraid that more planes would hit tall buildings). They made us take the steps 28 floors down instead of the elevator. I went home in shock………….I was glued to the TV…horrified, terrified and heartbroken as I watched what had happened (and what was still happening). We were told not to come to work the next day. Life, for all of us, changed from that moment on.

  3. I want to thank all of you for your comments. Sharing memories and remembrances makes this anniversary a little easier to bear, and I’m honored that you chose this community to do so.

  4. I had stopped at a treffic light when a friend called me and shouted “had you Heard what has happened in New York?”. I said no, and Went home to turn on the TV. I live in Sweden , so this was in the afternoon. I cried, thinking about the lost souls, their families, the survivors. Thinking about how mankind could be so cruel. Two years later, the exact same date, Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna LIndh, was assasinated. So no matter how good the weather is on September 11, it will Always be a very sad day.

  5. Like Ingrid I was working in a veterinary hospital and had started with appointments when a client came in and asked if we’d heard that there was a fire in the World Trade Center, and that it a plane might have crashed into it. Writing this I just recalled that that was the order of the first thing I’d heard- fire first, then plane crash. My immediate thought was that it had been an accident-and possibly, hopefully, an inaccurate report. We had a small TV in the office and set it up in the reception area. It was impossible to focus, and I remember standing and looking as the events unfolded and details of the tragedies became known.
    Subsequent days’ memories included being outside and noticing that the skies had no planes-an eerie feeling since we’re near several major airports. Several weeks later I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time and experienced the juxtaposition of my emotions of the seemingly timeless grandeur and expanse of that place, coupled with the reality of the recent events. I remember meeting a lone man on a trail who looked rather forlorn; I struck up a brief conversation asking him from where he had come and he quietly replied “New York,” lowered his head and kept walking. If he had been impacted by the 9-11 events, I can only imagine what pain he must have been trying to endure and events he might have been trying to understand. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who suffered and those who endured, and my gratitude to those who assisted in any capacity, including all Search and Rescue Teams of people and dogs that participated in rescue and recovery.

  6. By 11AM, our company’s employees had started to leave the building, to head for home and try to contact loved ones. We were just 20 miles outside NYC. As I drove home on a back road, it felt eerie that I was the only one on the road. I fully expected to see a mushroom cloud ahead, thinking ‘we’re under attack, this is it’. Foremost on my mind were my cats at home. I had 5 at the time, but only 3 cat carriers. I kept thinking ‘what do I do if I have to evacuate?’. (From then on, I always had enough carriers.) It was a terrible day. I was glued to the TV, in disbelief… monstrous.

  7. I was born in Jamaica, Queens, and was raised in Valley Stream, on Long Island. I now live in Florida. On September 11th, I was coming inside from my break, and had stopped at the TV monitors by the elevators to watch on CNN the 2nd plane hitting the second tower live. I was with one of my co-workers, and we stood there in shock with our mouths hanging open. Within minutes, what was happening had spread to the whole building. Eventually, we were all sent home early. All I could do is sit in front of the TV, watch the horror happening in NYC, and cry. When I lived in NY, I used to go to the city a lot just to hang out and see the sights. I used to always see the twin towers gleaming in the sun, and had always wanted to visit them, but never got the chance. Now I never will. Although it happened 15 years ago, it still feels like yesterday. I will NEVER forget. NEVER.

  8. In a strange way the 9-11 attacks led me to have the six cats at my house & taking care of multiple community cats at work. At the time of the attacks I had one cat Mischief, I also was a Veteran having served in the Navy from 1983-1989, Well after the attacks I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines I joined the Air Force Reserve. And during the next six years I traveled all over the country & the world. My cat Mischief spent a lot of time at my parents house during those years. After my last deployment I was worn out, it was a tough one. Not to long after I finished my enlistment that’s when a litter of kittens were born at my work under a maintenance shed, normally We would have either called animal control or had them removed. but this time looking at them my heart broke, and I began to care for them, as I learned about feral cats, we got them TNR, set up feeding stations for them, And over the years have had quite a few come through our work, Some have found homes, including the six that I have. And now I read, study, and work hard to make sure that both my cats at home & the cats at work have the best life possible for them.

  9. I was working in the neonatal intensive care that day an our parents of the babies told use and the mom let use go into there rooms to see the tv about the attack , we each would go a few minutes at a time to watch while we watched each other’s babies . I still get emotional about . I pray for all the victims an there families every time I hear 9-11 may they find peace and comfort

  10. I was laid off from her job in NYC in April 2001. My old office was 4 blocks from WTC, on Maiden Lane. I had been unemployed for nearly six months and was in my second week in a new job in Florida when on 9/11. I got the news first from a coworker who had a radio on her desk, and by the time someone set up a TV in one of the training rooms, there was only one tower left. After working in their shadow for a year, that was inconceivable.

    My friends who still worked there but were ultimately all safe and accounted for, but the only way I could reach anyone that day was after we were sent home early from work, I logged on to my dial up connection and used AOL messenger to contact people. How much technology has changed since then really underscores how long ago it was, since it doesn’t seem long ago at all, does it?

    • You are so right, Julie – even though it seems like it wasn’t that long ago, all the technology changes make you realize just how much time has gone by.

  11. I remember it was already a stressful couple of weeks as I was going through a divorce and living with my mother and the company I was working for sold and was in the process of moving all of the manufacturing equipment to a location in California and the new owner kept three of us on for sales (which I would love my job a couple weeks later) and moved us to a small office in Dallas. On 9-11, the trucks were coming to move everything. i didn’t even have my desk or computer, so I brought my little tv to work that day to help pass time while I waited for trucks. I had turned on the tv and saw the news. There was a guy at the shop with me and we both just stood there shocked watching everything unfold. Then the plane went down in Pennsylvania. He started freaking out even more and I found out that was in the town where his parents lived. We didn’t do anything that day except sit there watching the tv in shock. I had my cat Dickey back then and at the time I didn’t know he had cancer. I lost him a couple weeks later.

  12. Hi.. I live in Australia
    We where out to dinner and came home at 9pm…I turned on the TV while hubby went into the kitchen to put on the kettle…What’s on he called out… I looked at the TV to see a slo mo picture of a plane crashing into a building… Umm looks like one of those Jean Claude Van dame or Bruce Willis action movies .. I said.. Then I heard the announcer say… That was vision from a few minutes ago when a plane crashed into one of the twin towers..we still don’t know if it was an accident….as he went in I ran through to hubby…quick come and look at this a plane crashed in America… As we watched the show went LIVE to the vision of the second plane… We watched off and on through the night seeing vision of the third one heroically brought down by the passengers… We worried for ” online friends ” in America… and thankfully because of Facebook we where able to message them and find out they where ok… I worked as a nurse at the time…a had very good friend who was here from Ireland as an ” exchange nurse” …when I got to work the next day I found a postcard from her in my work pigeon hole..she was excited and wrote how…in a few days we go to The World Trade Centre… My colleagues and I waited to hear….we heard nothing and when she didn’t return from her holiday a week later we knew that sadly she died that day. Everyone that worked at the hospital was on edge…as we had huge ceiling to floor glass windows at the end of every ward.. And the building was the tallest building and we where right near the seaport..so very accessible … There was a ” emergency rule ” of sorts enforced…all paitents in the two or three rooms nearest the Windows where moved…no staff were allowed to stand near the Windows…our hospital and the others in the metro area where on ” alert” for about a week..ready to mobilise should the same terror attacks happen to our largest buildings in our City… I was still nursing when ” our terror attack” happened…Bali Bombings…
    America your Aussie Comrades stand with you today…may terror never win…
    If only Cats ruled the world…there would be no wars..no hate or anything horrible …just lots of naps..cuddles and catnip for all

  13. I was living in So Jersey at the time. 2 hours from NYC, and Bklyn, where I’d grown up and my family still lived. The Twin Towers were my normal, everyday view from my living room window. Since I was a little girl, every 4th of July we’d be up on the roof watching the fireworks dance from the proud Statue in the Harbor to the familiar Skyline in Manhattan. A tradition, which unbeknownst to us at the time, had existed for the final time only 2 months earlier.
    That sunny day, which was turning dark with dread by the minute, my mother called me at work to ask me if I knew what was happening. I did. We had a television at work and I had looked up at it a while ago. I knew what I was seeing as I watched the ABC station. I saw what was happening back in my home town, but it just didn’t seem to penetrate. My mother snapped me into reality telling me to pray because along with hundreds of other people, my cousin’s husband worked at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor and the family was terrified. They hadn’t heard directly from him, and the only bit of communication came from a family friend and colleague of his who’d called my cousin at his request. He was to tell her that her husband was alright and would call her soon. That was the last and only bit of information, but the promise would never reach fruition. He never came home. My cousin was pregnant with their son. After I’d spoken to my mom, the lines went down and communication was dear to & from NY. The skies were filled with deafening silence as no flights were coming or going anymore. I knew my family would be frantic & my cousin, in shock & denial. (My own son went to school in NY and I couldn’t get through to him until late the next day, so I was beside myself as well).
    A few days later my mother called me to tell me what she’d randomly found on her street. In the small dusty heaps of trash that had blown in from just over the bridge, she spotted a business card on the ground. She didn’t know what possessed her to pick it up, but she did. I could hear the shock in her voice as a hoarseness washed over it. The business card belonged to my cousins husband, Donald. Mom was stunned to say the least, and gave the card to my cousin a short time after ….
    On a bittersweet day just a few months later, Jacqueline gave birth to their beautiful son, Connor.
    Join me in prayers to the families and friends of the fallen, and the survivors.

    • I’m so sorry about your cousin’s husband. How amazing, and beautiful in a sad way, that your mom found his business card in the ashes that had blown across the bridge. I’m saying an extra prayer for your family today.

      • Thank you Ingrid. Much appreciated. This was a good post, I’d never mentioned anything of that day before your request this morning. I think we all appreciate the forum, and your generosity in letting us share, as well.

  14. My boyfriend left me the night before. He was aways leaving me and finally did permanently 4 years later. I was sleeping when 9/11 started. My mother came over to my house and told me what was happening and to turn tv on and I saw one of the live attacks. I lost my job a couple days later, because the company I was doing telephone work for were all killed during that attack. I qualified to go to Cosmetology school for free and I have been a licensed Cosmetologist since 2003. I have 6 cats and have done alot of volunteer work for cats and animals. Meow

  15. It’s so odd to think that the only cat my human has now that was around back then was Binga! Boodie was around – she was a kitten – but she hadn’t yet been rescued by the group that took her in. Even Sparkle wasn’t born yet. But even though it was a long, long time ago (several cat generations), my human still gets quiet on this day.

  16. I left a message for my neighbor, asking her to feed the cats, since I didn’t know when I’d get home. When I finally got in about 11PM, I found a message from her, asking me to do the same for hers. That’s when I remembered that she worked in the City, too… She’d just made it home a couple of hours before me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.