My Story - September 12, 2001 (the miracle started with a cardboard box)

United States
September 11, 2009 2:57pm CST
I am re-posting this since the first one ran afoul of some technical glitch and got all screwed up. Here it is again: Today is September 11, 2009 - the eight year anniversary of America's darkest day. It is a day when I do not post in the political section here, and I do not argue with people. It is a day for tears, prayers and reflection. I want to share with you a portion of a longer story that I wrote about what happened eight years ago. I want to tell you what happened the day after our world was changed forever because I witnessed something amazing. At the time I worked at a kiosk in a shopping mall in Poughkeepsie NY, about 45 minutes north of New York City. Here is what happened: On September 12, 2001 I went to work just like everyone else who was able to did. It was at the urging of our President that we do so, as a massive act of defiance to those who sought to destroy our way of life. It was not easy going into work with such a heavy heart, but it WAS the right thing to do. I was greeted at the door to the mall by another worker who looked just as down as I felt, and she said "great day to be an American, huh?" with tears in her eyes. I don't remember what I said to her, but we did talk for a while before starting the day. The mall was like a ghost town. Who the hell would want to shop today? So I read the papers, as difficult as it was, because I felt it was my duty as a human being to read, remember and reflect, and I listened to my little radio which was no longer playing music, just broadcasting more sad news all day long. In the NY Daily News the day before had hit the newsstands hours before those terrible events - the front page story was Mariah Carey's meltdown. Oh My God, I thought to myself, how much the world we knew had changed in just a few hours! I saved that paper, and all the ones which followed in the days ahead so one day I could show my children and help them understand what had happened to my City, my Country, and my World. On September 12, 2001 I went back to work along with everyone else who was able to in an open act of defiance against those who murdered so many of my brothers and sisters and who would love nothing more than to see us crumble. We stood up the best way we could, we showed up and in our grief we fought the good fight in our own small ways. Halfway through the day I found it intolerable not to be able to do more. I called the Red Cross and other relief agencies to see how I could help. I had no money, but I had time and a strong desire to put something positive back into my shattered world. I found out what was needed by the rescue and recovery workers and the survivors who were still Downtown. They needed fresh bottled water, eye wash, clothes, bandages, and more. They needed shoes, because the people working in the "Pit" had the bottoms of their own shoes melted from the heat of the fires which still burned and would continue to burn for a very long time. I consulted my employer who was still trying to get her mind around the fact that so many people she loved had died, and she gave me permission for what I would do next. I took a big empty box and put it in front of my kiosk with a sign asking for donations of things our Heroes needed. By the end of the day the box was full, and I took it to the nearest drop off point where they would be shipping supplies to Manhattan from. I told the local radio station and newspaper what we were doing and they informed the public how they could help. I was listed among the other groups who were collecting needed items to send down to the city. I left an empty box for the next shift to collect after I went home. The next morning that box was full and another was halfway full. Older people came silently with tears in their eyes and dropped supplies in the box. Younger people came with shoes and clothes in all kinds of sizes with the tags still on them. They purchased these items themselves with their minimum wage paychecks. Cases and cases of fresh bottled water appeared before me, and the boxes continued to pile up. I filled my truck completely at the end of the day with supplies and there was still more. Two and three trips a day I would make and I still needed others to move the donations to the drop off points! My mother contacted her optomologist, and he donated cases and cases of eyewash! The response was utterly overwhelming and touched my heart in a way few things in this life ever could. Mothers whose sons were cops and firemen working in the Pit told me what else was needed and I updated the supply list regularly. Whatever we asked for, we got tenfold! It was a small thing we could all do to help, but it meant the world to me to be able to do it and have so many people open their hearts to help our Ground Zero Heroes. As long as I live, I will never forget it. Even in our darkest hours, we managed to find some light, and some hope. Along with the tales of horror and destruction, the news also started to bring us amazing stories of bravery and heroism which reminded us all of the quality of humanity. A reminder that though evil acts may befall us, good will not be suppressed for very long. As New Yorkers, as Americans, and as humans, we will ALWAYS fight the darkness and one way or another find a way to bring light back into the world we live in. God Bless America, and God Bless New York!
4 people like this
10 responses
@deebomb (15348)
• United States
11 Sep 09
The American people are so amazing when they know what to do to help. We are always giving and doing for our neighbors in our country and in other countries. As you said God bless America, and New York
2 people like this
• United States
11 Sep 09
We are blessed to live in such a place where even under the most horrific circumstances, the best that we are still shines through.
@mysdianait (60452)
• Italy
11 Sep 09
This is the first direct testimonial of those events that I have read by someone I know. Even though I only know you Kitty across the boards here, I 'feel' that I know you much better than the authors of other articles that I have read concerning that date. It was possibly for this reason that while reading it I felt many more emotional reactions than previous times. Thank you Kitty for sharing this and sharing what it was like for someone who was right there on the spot.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Sep 09
I sent you the full story, what I posted above was just the end portion. The events of eight years ago is something that is forever in my heart and seared into my soul. I only very recently discovered that a dear childhood friend was among the people who were killed that day. I watch the memorial service every year, including the reading of the names, but I didn't know that one of those names was the boy I grew up with. Today I sobbed when they read his name and then had to explain to my four year old little girl why I was crying and why I cry EVERY year on this day.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (132425)
• Garden Grove, California
11 Sep 09
angrykitty thanks so much for reminding us of the good things'you and a lot of others did to help the victims and the fire and police after 9/11.You were all heroes and thats so great,we need some good things'to'remind us we are still here and still all fighting the good fight. You cannot keep Americans down we will come'back and with a vengenance. Right God Bless us everyone.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Sep 09
Thanks, Hately, but I'm no hero I'm just a regular person. The real heroes were those who were at Ground Zero that day and the many days that followed and our firefighters, police officers, first responders and our troops. What I posted is only the second half of a much longer story that I tell every year on this day, but I wanted to make sure you all got to see some of the GOOD that came out of that terrible day.
@peavey (14932)
• United States
13 Sep 09
This brought tears to my eyes as so many other reminders have over the last couple of days. I hope and pray that the people of America will always remember 911 as the day that we remembered who we are. Even now, though, there are those who don't understand the emotions the day evokes. Let's make it a point to talk to our children about it and what it meant and how it felt, so that it won't be lost in history.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Sep 09
I never get tired of hearing that story! It just shows that the worst of times brings out the best in people!
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Sep 09
I admit that I don't really look at newspapers very much, except for Newsday, as you probably found out when we first met back in probably late 2006 or early 2007. Back at the time of the attack, I did not realize that I was able to read the news sites, particularly Newsday, for free. I was kept up to date on events in a paid-to chatroom, being that I was practically cut off from news, being that I was only a cable-modem subscriber, & I was only able to get channels 2 through 13. All those stations broadcast from New York City, & had their transmitter sites/facilities in Tower I, so when that was hit, it took all of the television stations off the air (except for WCBS channel 2 who was in the Empire State Building - but because of two scumbags named Larry Tishman & Dan Rather, I had refused to have anything to do with them). I also was supposed to get moderator training in the chatroom that day, but after the news happened, the head admin just set things up so that I had my extra privileges. So I found myself in the chatroom with all of these extra mysterious buttons. My first mistake - accidentally kicking myself out of the chatrooms, but I was kept up to date by the active membership. I also had plans to meet a guy that I knew from the chatroom in New York City that night, being that he was heading there for work purposes. However, those plans got canceled. I also found out that while driving into The City (what us residents who live near New York City call it), he actually saw both planes hit the Twin Towers. The next day for me, it was all that was talked about. It was this incident that sparked off the war in Afghanistan because the ruling Taliban refused to hand Osama Bin Laden over. It was probably also what later led to the war in Iraq. That was probably the last terrorist attack on the United States, not counting those roadside bombs & convoy ambushes in Iraq & Afghanistan. Then there are the flawed conspiracy theories that later came out that can be pretty much discredited, such as idiots who are not engineers trying to explain engineering. They also found the mastermind of the attacks, & we later found out where that fourth plane was supposed to crash into (I forgot myself), & that there were originally five or six other targets throughout the United States that were decided against because either they were not feasable, &/or budgetary constraints of Al Qaida. All in all, the attacks were the REAL cause of the recession.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Sep 09
Wow, this story was very very touching and I really appreciate you sharing this with everyone. I honestly teared up while reading this and just remembering what had happened that day. I am very touched hearing about how everyone came together and I thought it was incredibly good of you to be the firs tto initiate it. Thank you again for sharing this story.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Sep 09
That was so beautifully written Kitty, I felt like I was right there beside you. I don't really have anything to offer that could even come close to what you have already said, and I'll just leave it at that.
@Barbietre (1444)
• United States
12 Sep 09
Yes we NYers ar a resiliant bunch. But what many people failed to realize before this event was how kind hearted we are. On the outside we are tough, but inside we are very gentle, generous souls, and the same can be said for the USA. No one, no matter how they try, can douse our spirits and strength.
@theprogamer (10543)
• United States
11 Sep 09
Incredible story. I apologize if I missed other postings of it from the years before if there were any. MSV, that story is quite inspirational, as well your a lot of your deeds that day. All and all, its also made me think about a lot of things again. I really can't explain it all, however one thing that stands out most is hope and I mean the real thing. Again, thanks for taking the time to share all of this.
1 person likes this