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September 11, 2001 A Difficult Season For Our Nation

Updated on September 8, 2013

My family lives only 200 miles away from the former World Trade Center in New York City

The following article was published by me in our local newspaper a few weeks after 9/11.

One day in late September, 2001, my husband and I pulled into a rest stop near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had just begun our vacation, and we were headed for Myrtle Beach and Daytona Beach.

This year was different. There was no way to escape "it." I had found it difficult to function since September 11, and the hole I felt in the pit of my stomach had not even begun to close. I looked at everything around me with new eyes.

Everywhere, reminders of the horrific attacks on America lingered, like the green plague cloud in the movie, "The Ten Commandments."

While my husband, Dave, stood on the walk at a rest stop waiting for me, two sheriffs parked their cars near ours. Dogs barked in their back seats. Dave asked one of the men if they had been to New York City.

The man needed to talk. He and his companion were returning home to Knoxville, Tennessee, from the World Trade Center site. He told Dave that the pictures of the destroyed buildings did not do any justice. His job had been to do a cadaver search with the dogs.

They had recovered twenty-five bodies, and the dogs were beat.

He said he had worked sixteen-hour days and had blisters on his feet. He added he was hurrying to get home. By that time I had joined my husband, and I just stood there, listening.

Throughout our trip, any conversation overheard in hotels, shopping malls and restaurants centered around concerns about the future of America. Billboards displayed, "United We Stand' and "God Bless America." Cars sported "Proud To Be An American" bumper stickers. We could have purchased a patriotic T-Shirt in any store or gas station. Flags of all sizes flew on the tops of buildings, cars and construction machinery.

Each day I logged our trip --as well as current news events --in my journal. Frustrated, I wrote, "How do I live my life while I do live? What do I say to a wounded world shattered in disbelief, shock and despair over the threat of terrorism?'

Attempting to answer my own question I penned, "Live the moment. Embrace each second of the air you breathe. It's God's gift to you. Inhale, smell, taste, hear, see and savor the beauty of the earth, the magnificent sun, the unchanging moon, the twinkling stars, loyal in their appearance."

"Treasure each season. Do all you have ever dreamed of doing, and do it now. Function. Embrace your friends, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers."

"Mend fences and broken bridges. Get rid of any junk that clutters your life. Stop repeating the same patterns. Be aware of angel sightings in human and spiritual form. Never take for granted the Force Who gave you life. Be a miracle hunter and share what you find with everyone."

At a flea market in Myrtle Beach, a woman I bought a shirt from said, "It's too bad something like this has to happen before America becomes patriotic. We should have flown our flags before this."

Perhaps she has a point. However, I believe Americans do appreciate their freedom, and we have always been patriotic. I see it each 4th of July when we celebrate our independence and cheer during the fireworks. I view it on television at the beginning of sports events when The Star Spangled Banner is sung and Americans wave and shout. I feel it at my Toastmaster's Club meeting when we salute the flag.

There are seasons when we decorate for annual events--pumpkins on Halloween; rabbits and eggs at Easter; Christmas decorations to celebrate the birth of Christ. We are now in a season where America is in prayer, mourning and retaliation, and we proudly display our colors to the world.

After listening to the sheriff at the rest stop I said, "God bless you, drive safe." The man got into his car. He sat for a moment, then motioned for my husband to come over. He handed Dave a piece of yellow "caution" tape. He had written in it with a black marker, "WTC 2001/Ground Zero" and he wanted us to have it.

As I put together a memorial album to hand down to our family, the yellow 'caution' tape will be laminated on one of the pages as a memento of the day America will never forget.

However, we must remember that there is one thing in common with every single disaster that has hit the United States: AMERICA HAS SURVIVED. We are not a weak nation. I am proud to be an American. God bless our nation.

Sparklea wrote this poem, had printed on bookmarks and mailed to the firemen in New York City
Sparklea wrote this poem, had printed on bookmarks and mailed to the firemen in New York City | Source


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    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 10 months ago

      Even through the darkest times people are able to pick themselves up and strive for more good. This will always be one of those times that Love is so much stronger than anything else. As we move forward people with kindness and support will always be there. We have to go on living life and enjoying the wonderful people and things in the world. I think that this is what life is all about. Have an amazing day.

    • profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago

      THANK YOU ladyguitarpicker! I will probably never recover from what happened September 11th - we live 3 1/2 hours from NYC and I take bus trips there quite often. A horrific tragedy. We need prayer warriors to band together and pray for the total elimination of ISIS. I have never seen such much hate... I so appreciate your taking time to comment. God bless. Sparklea

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Sparklea, a great article you have given for all to read. I think about that day in Sept. and what happened in California the other day. I am waiting to watch the president speak on the shootings. These terrorist need a lesson and no backing down. I'll be looking for your book. God Bless, Stella

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 3 years ago

      Sparklea You keep working on your book. I want to be one of the first to order a signed copy. I strongly believe in keep striving for all you want and supporting others who follow their dreams.Listen can you hear me cheering you on. Go ! Give it all your all ! I will be watching and supporting you . Do what you have to make your family happy and all things will work out. Have a good night.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Dream On: I just responded to your wonderful comments on my hub regarding the wedding night, and I am thrilled to see you visit this hub also. I have your emails and I WILL respond, and, as I mentioned in my previous comment I am truly beyond busy! I am behind in my letter writing and emails to people. You and Billy buc and Eric seem to keep up with the hubs and I SO admire your stamina!

      My daughter told me , "Mom you HAVE to complete the book you are working on" and she is right. The clock is ticking...I am leaving the house now to go to Barnes & Noble and WRITE. I cannot seem to get anything done at home with four cats who love to lay on my papers, my lap, and tease for food and constant attention. I am SO loved by my husband and cats. We are quite the family. THANK YOU for your lovely feedback...Don't give up on me please, blessings Sparklea

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 3 years ago

      As September 11th has once again come and gone. I had hoped more people would be flying their flags and showing their patriotism. Some how many people don't want to talk about it and try to forget it ever happened. I think this is not the solution. I think by sharing our loss and our strengths we grow stronger and share more love for human life. All lives of people everywhere in the world. Looking for world peace not pain and suffering. As always I love to talk to you but you must be busy. I understand and if you find the time I would love to still chat. Have a good night.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Dream On, I often revisit this terrible tragedy and am so touched by how so many came together. Blessings, Sparklea

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Dream On, when this happened, just being only 200 miles away, I felt it was on top of us, and I kept looking at the sky for planes. It was so eerie and scary, and I had a photo in the house of the towers from a day trip I had taken a couple years prior. Awful tragedy. just awful. Thank you for taking time to comment. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      I revisit in my mind and thoughts. How we can keep helping each other every day through every obstacle. Have a great day.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      truthfornow: Thank you so much! I so appreciate your visiting this hub.

      god bless. Sparklea :)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Uplifting words during a sad time.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Writer Fox, Thank you so much for your taking time to read this hub, as well as, your comments. And thank you for your votes.

      I don't think anyone can fully recover from 9/11...Everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing when this happened. One of the most tragic days of my life, as well as millions of others. I will never understand what makes people do these things. This is where our faith can really be tested. Thanks again, Writer Fox, Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What an amazing personal story! 9/11 changed America for all time, but it did bring citizens closer together and inaugurated a new sense of patriotism that didn't exist since the Vietnam War. Voted up and Awesome!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      I am humbled and tearful by your very kind words. I have so many flaws, but God keeps me grounded as His work in progress. I hope whatever I write makes a brighter day for the reader. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      All I can say to this is; my tears do not stop flowing and reading this in love. Made me proud to be an American that knows great folk like you. Because of you and your kind our love and way survive.

      We write and we keep love alive. And you are just as much a hero as any ground zero man. Amen.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York


    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      This day will affect us all in different ways. Many thoughts cross my mind some I can't still figure out so many years later. Most of all I am so proud to be an American and strongly support freedom for all. Thank you for sharing and caring.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York Thanks so much for taking time to read this. I so appreciate your comments. With all the complaints in this world, I still say, God Bless America! I choose to see the good in our country, without focusing on the bad. I so firmly believe good will overpower evil...every time. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • profile image 4 years ago from upstate, NY

      Well said and heartfelt! Sometimes we're too busy looking at what wrong with America to appreciate what is right. A nations finest hour are usually during its darkest times.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      thelyricwriter: THANK YOU so much for your lovely words. It was such an awful time, wasn't it? I also agree this brought our country closer together. I so appreciate you taking the time to read this. God bless you real good, Sparklea PS: I also believe in my heart God uses evil to bring out goodness. There is still a lot of good in the world.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Sparklea, voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful. Thank you for such a heart-felt article. I commend you for making and writing the poem for the firemen, very inspirational and I'm sure it meant a lot to them. Powerful words of advice. I couldn't imagine being there or in the area on that terrible day. I believe we've been close as a country since then, much closer then our government I may add. This is truly inspiring and I know somewhere along the line, your words brought comfort.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      teaches12345: thank you so much for stopping by. We must never forget that awful day. It truly traumatized me, I was so torn up when it happened. I marvel at the way it all happened and that the pilots were willing to give up their lives in their attempt to destroy America. To take one's own life is something I will never understand. I appreciate your comments and God bless. Sparklea :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      On 9/11 this year, I was amazed at all the beautiful ceremonies and tributes honoring those fallen heroes. It is wonderful how our nation pulls together to remember those who died and helps the survivors and families to heal as time continues. Blessings for writing this lovely reminder.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      DJ Anderson, wow, thank you for sharing that. I totally believe evil CANNOT win because love reigns in our nation. It is so easy to focus on the negative things going on in America, forgetting that there still remains so much good in our country. I SO appreciate your taking time to read this hub and for your positive feedback. God bless you real good, Sparklea :)

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Dearest Lea, your article is amazing, and I love your poem.

      My husband and I were in Washington. D.C. shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

      An area, approx. an acre of land, between an exit and an entrance to

      the interstate, in view of the pentagon and the amazingly huge,

      gaping hole,....this land had been designated as a place to bring pictures of loved ones who had died, leave sympathy cards and children's drawings, flowers. People burned candles, hugged total strangers, prayed, and spoke in hushed tones to show reverence. In one direction, we saw the pentagon and the assault on our nation; when we turned around, we witnessed the resolve to keep living, and loving one another. It was truly a spiritual experience.

      I say to everyone, "KEEP FLYING OUR FLAG!"

      Thank you, Lea, for sharing this with us.


    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks DDE, as the date nears, how can anyone of us forget? I was in a Toastmasters public speaking club at the time, and I had to give a speech about it. Very painful to do. I so appreciate your visiting this hub and your feedback. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Time flies by but the memory will forever be with the world on this day, such a wonderful write up here.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc, you totally amaze me with how you manage to visit so many hubs and comment on them. I so much appreciate you taking the time to read my story.

      That being said, I can't thank you enough for all the hubs you are posting about writing. I have printed out many of them, and you have no idea how helpful they are.

      It has been very hectic, and I need a block of time to STUDY and comment on your work. I never want to 'hurry through' a hub, that is not who I am.

      You will "see" me soon. God bless and thank you from my heart, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Cleaner3; I so appreciate your taking time to read this hub and for your comments. My greatest prayer is for Americans to turn their hearts to God. I still believe, with all the evil going on, that America will stand. We need to pray for our government - even if we disagree...Prayer changes hearts. I have seen it happen MANY times. God bless you real good, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Jackie, I also pray this September 11 will be a safer one. I have never felt safe since 9/11.

      My daughter and I took a trip over the ocean in June and I prayed MONTHS prior for safety on that plane, ashamed to let myself stew about possible terrorism instead of totally trusting God. I know it is an after effect of that awful tragedy which we will probably never fully recover from.

      America was founded on God, "in God we trust' and these people who get 'offended' - too bad. If they take "In God We Trust" off our currency, I hope it doesn't happen until God takes me into eternity.

      I agree with everything you said, and thank you for taking time to visit this hub and to comment. God bless you real good Jackie. Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I only need one word, Lea....beautiful!

      blessings always


    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 4 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      Sparklea.. wow.. love this story .. I love America and will tell that to anyone.. I often get caught up on political hubs where people from other countries make derogatory remarks about our country ..and I will not stanfd for that ..I am a poet but I have my passion for my country also .. this story is so awesome my dear.! I fear our country has been led down the wrong path by the democratic administration in the lead now.. they have weakened our country and made it ever more dangerous for all Americans .! .. n

      Bless you .. God Bless America..


    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I keep a flag since then and I never did before. It did seem America was always patriotic but now every way we turn those rights are being stolen. Prayer and allegiance that this country stands for is offending to those who want to live in an unAmerica while we support most of them. I certainly don't feel safer since 911 and you would think that is what we would have been working toward but now we have let the terrorist in to live right among us and I only pray this 9/11 will be a safe one. We better all hold tight to our bibles and our flag, for satan knows his time is about up and truly only God knows what is up his sleeve.

      Interesting story, thank you for sharing. ^

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Faith I am speechless at your very kind words! Living so close to NYC, and my cousin living there...she was 2 miles away when it happened...I remember my walk the next morning was just terrifying to me. I could not even stand to hear an airplane. They dismissed us early from work, and I had to run an important errand at the mall, and it was a ghost town there...stores were closed, posted signs they were closed because of the attacks. It is a day never to be forgotten.

      THANK you for taking time to read this, and I don't think any American will truly recover from that great tragedy. I have my diary from November 1963, where I penned the assassination of President Kennedy.

      It was very profound to run into that man and have him hand us the tape from the World Trade Center.

      God bless, and remember, you are in my prayers daily and thank you so much for the votes and sharing. Love Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Audrey, Thank you so much for visiting this hub and for your kind words, so very much appreciated. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Phenomenal write dearest Sparklea!!!

      Wow, and thank you so very much for writing such a profound piece. What a story here you have shared of what you had witnessed with your very own eyes and heard with your very own ears. What a beautiful poem, "Three Cans of Paint" to have written and shared in such a loving manner with the firemen in New York City! Wow, again. You are a treasure and it is people like you who make this nation so great. I am blessed to know you and call you friend.

      What an inspiration you are to all and thank you for such a powerful reminder here of just how great and strong our nation still is, even now.

      I just love your heart, and here it shines so brilliantly. I am proud to be an American too. Yes, God bless our nation and God bless you too.

      Voted UP, Awesome, Beautiful, Interesting and Useful and Sharing of course!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      As we come up on this anniversary again, I think about the need for peace--and how we must all work toward that


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