Remembering 9-11

It is hard to believe it's already been ten years since such a life-changing day. Our staff was working a few miles from the Pentagon at the National Military Family Association office. Everyone hovered around the television in utter disbelief about what happened to the World Trade Center. The phone was ringing off the hook when our building shook from the impact of the crash into the Pentagon. A plane later went down in Pennsylvania. As military spouses living on nearby installations, we struggled for hours to get home while our spouses worked through the night as so many others did.

That day, and in the days since, the Nation mourned the loss of life and celebrated the heroics of so many. 

The past ten years saw many changes to our lives: growing families, deployments, many moves, and a constantly renewed respect and pride for our service members and their families.

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Where were you on September 11, 2001? What do you remember? How has life changed? Is there a loved one you’d like to pay tribute to? A military family you’d like to honor?

This is your space to remember and reflect.

Share your thoughts:

Enter this word:

Read what others have shared:

Items 1 - 25 of 34  12Next
Comment: I am a bloodline descendant of a Civil War Hero(Primus Lightsey)and my heart and soul goes out to every veteran. I have published several books that reflect the military. "Keeping a Family Legacy Alive" "Civil War to Civil Rights" "Diary of a Civil War Rebel" visit
Submitted by: Twin on December 4, 2011
Comment: My life has changed immensely. My husband was in the Marine Corps in the '90's and had been talking about going active duty again. September 11th confirmed that - he is now in the USMC Reserves and has deployed 3 times to Iraq since 2005. As for that day - Sept 11th - just talking about where I was that day, brings tears to my eyes. The feeling of helplessness was so potent. I am so proud of my husband and ALL of those in the military. Our freedoms and independence in this country are very rare. Our military's dedication to protecting and serving our country is a blessing.
Submitted by: ywrmom on September 9, 2011
Comment: I would like to honor the Old Guard soldiers who were First Responders that have never been recognized for their bravery. The unit went into the Pentagon when it was still smoking with BDU's and painter's masks to search for survivors. Col. Laufenberg who never entered the Pentagon, received the commendation medal, Col Laufenberg said "the soldiers were only doing their job" so the paperwork for the soldier's medals was shredded-- when in fact the brave men risked their health and well being to search for survivors, way beyond the "Call of Duty" It has been ten years and no one has awarded these soldiers the recognition or tribute they deserve for their 9/11 dedication and heroics, on that life changing day. Some of the soldier's names are: Ryan Richardson, James Kirkham, Adam Behrens, Matt Ginkenger, Bill Rittersdorf,and a number of others from the Old Guard Company. It was heartwarming to see the Firefighters honored at the Pentagon, but these brave soldiers were part of the search and rescue team alongside the Firefighters waist high in jet fuel and body parts with only BDU's and painter's masks. Ten years and not one of them have been honored for their brave act of patriotism.
Submitted by: Alice on September 8, 2011
Comment: I was 8 months pregnant with our first child, working at the VA Hospital. My husband was a reservist for the Marine Corps. I new that our lives had just changed dramatically when I saw the news that was broadcasted across every television in our store. I went back to my desk to call my husband, who was at his civilian job. He told me that the command had just called and he would be reporting to his duty station. He moved into the barracks that was located three hours from our home four months after our son was born and went to war one month later. He decided to remain an active duty Marine from that point on, we sold our house and relocated to his duty station at that time. Each anniversary becomes very emotional to me as I think of and pray for those who lost loved ones and all the lives that were changed on that devastating morning.
Submitted by: Candi on September 8, 2011
Comment: My brother-in-law worked at the Pentagon on 9-11. His daughter was young then and she knew within an hour or so that her father was alive. However, her best friend had a dad working at the Pentagon as well. It would be hours before her friend heard if her father had lived. He did, but I will always remember my niece's loving heart for her friend. She would not celebrate her father's safety until she heard about her best friend's dad. At twenty-one she is getting married this May to a wonderful young man. Her childhood friend will be a bridesmaid. They bounded for life! Bless them.
Submitted by: Jackie on September 8, 2011
Comment: Because I live in Alaska, events that happen in the "lower 48" seem so far away. What happened on 9/11 was very surreal to us. It wasn't until I got to visit ground 0 that I fully felt and understood what happened that day. I urge everyone who hasn't been, to go. The experience is beyond words. There is a reverence and spirituality there that will sadden you yet also lift you soul, and make you prouder then ever to be an American.
Submitted by: Ada on September 8, 2011
Comment: I was on my way to the World Trade Center. My school, where I received my undergrad degree, was only 3 blocks from the WTC. I got into Penn station in Newark,NJ and there was an annoucement that the Path trains were no longer going to the WTC (by this time the 1st plane had hit). My first thought went to my mom, because she worked in the World Financial Center buildings surrounding the towers. I finally called her and she said do not come to school, go back home because a plane hit the building. I got back on the train to go home and from my are in NJ, you could see the towers burning and one was leaning to the side. My mother was 100 feet away from the tower when it started to collapse. I still cry when I watch documantaries about 9/11 and my mother has not been back downtown since then.
Submitted by: dee dee on September 8, 2011
Comment: We were living in Miami and my husband was at a conference in the Pentagon when the attacks began. He called me at work to let me know he was ok and wanted me to know we would not be able to talk for several hours. He would try to get home to us as soon as he could. 4 days later he made it home at 2:00 am. I picked him up at MIA and was shocked to watch an American Airlines plane escorted by fighter jets. Sept 11 changed the way we view life, the way we fly, the way we observe others, and it made us fear many things we were not aware of...
Submitted by: only4zqm on September 8, 2011
Comment: I had just PCS'd from Korea to Ft Campbell, KY (yes, to be with my boyfriend, a fellow soldier). September 11 was my first day at my new unit, I remember exactly where I was, how we heard about the Twin Towers falling. The next day it took 4 hours to go 3 miles, from our apartment to post. I ETS'd and my boyfriend became my husband and he is preparing to deploy for the fourth time. I wish people paid more attention to the sacrifices being made for the freedoms we enjoy and far too often, take for granted.
Submitted by: HoneyB on September 8, 2011
Comment: On the day of the attack, my family was in Japan. I was in NYC and saw Flt 175 make the second strike. Afterwards, I think that Americans watching the iron workers, NYPD and NYFD working on the site in the days following gradually realized that the values of service and loyalty that had made our nation great were very much alive and well in New York City: every day people on the streets cheered our fire fighters, cops, and union workers as they drove to and from the site. The attack made Americans realize that the Hollywood and TV tales of New York were mostly fiction. People everywhere realized that the real NYC was working at the pit, serving in the military, and that NYC folks were Americans: that we were not Sodom and Gemorah, but a town with people they now respected and admired. I assisted a NYNG unit assigned by acting as their language office to help any foreign nationals looking for lost relatives. There were many, many missing foreigners. My most memorable contacts were the Japanese and my long years in Japan stood me in good stead. 22 Japanese bank executives were never found. Their companies at World Trade had about 400 employees,mostly Americans. When the Port Authority advised people to remain in their offices, hundreds who could have escaped the Towers died. The Japanese supervisors, however, overrode the PA orders at once, and sent their entire staffs to safety. They, as supervisors, however, remained behind, however,shutting their firms down, tidying up, and consequently perished. To their eternal credit, not one of their people died in the collapse. They remain unsung heroes of that day. I am still proud of my city and its people and their response to that day of horror. I am so grateful to the generosity of Americans who did so much to help our city through its crisis. I my heart, we remain one!
Submitted by: Bluelight57th on September 8, 2011
Comment: That day I came in to work and the silence was screeming out. My co-workers stood staring at the TV. When I got to my desk I began to process and began to think of the kids that travel for work and where they were that day. I found them all in a hour and just wanted be be with my family. My son a firefighter was scheduled to leave with his rescue team when it became a recovery. I appreciate the Rescue efforts of all the emergency teams. The MIlitary have been there under horrible conditions and I thank our President for not doing what other presidents did and let terrorists get away with attacking US soil and property (ships). I am so honored by by US citizens for protecting the US.
Submitted by: Donna on September 8, 2011
Comment: We were stationed in Germany. I had just arrived from picking up the children from school. I received a call from my sister-in-law in California. She asked me if I was able to watch the news. Since we only had AFN, I told her no, but turned on the tv. The AFN channel had the US news station on and was showing the towers and the planes. I called a friend and asked her if she was watching AFN. Later that evening we received a call from the chain of command letting us know that the bases were at Delta and to wait for further instruction on what to do. I remember being in complete shock and wondering what this all meant and how many more planes would attack our nation. After my husband returned home, we stayed glued to the news for what seemed an eternity. That night we all slept in the same room. I remember being in a daze for the longest time. The gates were manned by Germany troops, barracades and tanks. Our lives changed greatly that day. No longer was Germany a carefree place to be. Although I never felt unsafe or threatened, the reality that OPSEC was vital to our safety tainted our experience. And the realization that our Soldiers would now be called to war and harms way was also a reality that we would have to face. But who knew it would be for so long.
Submitted by: latina on September 8, 2011
Comment: On September 11th, 2001 my family were staying in temporary housing in Schweinfurt, Germany where we just PCS'D ved. I remeber watching the video of the two towers burning and was thinking that it was some kind of movie. It didn't dawn on me that it was real until I heard the Bradley tanks and military roll onto the installation and lock the gates down.
Submitted by: UofOduckfan on September 8, 2011
Comment: I was at home in base housing at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. I was shocked and watched in horror the coverage on TV for hours. I was scared because for years I commuted through the PATH station under the World Trade Center to my job a few blocks away. My brother worked in New York and might have been nearby. I also grew up in Ridgewood, NJ, which was the suburban town with the greatest number of losses from the towers collapsing. I was afraid people I knew were there. To this day, I have never listened to or read the list of names of people lost. I don't want to know if I knew anyone who died there.
Submitted by: P on September 8, 2011
Comment: I would like to remember all of those we have lost in this battle since 9-11 and how it has changed so many lives including my own family learning to deal with our loved ones and how this war has changed them. My families prayers go out to everyone.
Submitted by: JHerbes on September 8, 2011
Comment: I was working as a volunteer coordinator for the American Red Cross and had just arrived at work and we were all huddled around the tv to watch the planes crash into the towers with such disblief, that it could not be happening, my husband was deployed with US Navy, scheduled to return on that life-changing day. I could not reach him nor did I hear from him for days. I jumped right into my work coordinating and providing help and assistance to military members within the community, family members that had loved ones in the area, helping others during this tragedy. Finally days later I was able to take a breath and soak in what truly had happened I was also finally able to speak with my husband to let him know I was okay and was also assured he was okay as well. I also became an Aunt for the second time as my neice was born within days of the tragic event, and her hospital photo shows her saluting, such an appropriate photo for such a time as this. I am so proud of my husband and his job of protecting and serving our country and providing us Freedom that so many take for granted.
Submitted by: Wyatt Family on September 8, 2011
Comment: I was working as a social worker and leaving the house for work when my husband Jim opened the garage door and shouted the trade center in new york was hit by an airplane i said a prayer for the poor pilot who I thought got sick or passed out and ran into it by accident than when i got to work a second attack happened and it was then i knew this is no accident it is an assault on the americans iwas ill for days and the first thing i wanted was an american flag to show my love of country
Submitted by: curly on September 7, 2011
Comment: I was working in the customer service department at a bank when I called our loan department. We didn't have television or radio in our area, so the individual I spoke to in the loan department told me to find a TV. I went out to the little snack shop right outside our area and caught right as the second plane was flying into the World Trade Center. I went back in and told my boss what was going on. For days like this there is no way you can ever forget what has happened that day or since then. A few years later, after a friend of mine was killed in Iraq, I joined the military myself. That day and the impact it had on all of us as well as the following conflicts will forever live in our minds and hearts.
Submitted by: Mking on September 7, 2011
Comment: We were living in Okinawa, Japan on a Marine Corps Base. We had been shut in our house for 2 days because of a Typhoon. It was late at night and I was already in bed as I checked the TV one more time to see if what stage condition we were under for the Typhoon. Just as my husband walked in the room we watched the second tower get hit. It was surreal. For the next few weeks we were not allowed to go out in town, just base to base, the Air Force Base had a curfew of 11:00pm every night. It was strange to see the Marines armed and guarding our kids' school, and the Japanese police guarding the outside of our gates.
Submitted by: Liz on September 7, 2011
Comment: I remember I was getting ready for work as I was on the West Coast and it was only 5am when this happened. My hubby is USCG so I was concerned when the first plane hit. Then the second one hit and I ran to the bedroom and woke him up, turned on the TV and the rest is history. We both watched in horror. We both married each other 4 days later and family/friends were not able to fly in to the wedding, but they were safe so we were ok with it. 9/11 will forever affect us.
Submitted by: Shannon U on September 7, 2011
Comment: I was in college getting ready for my first class when I watched as the second tower fell. It was surreal, as if time stopped. My boyfriend's(now husband)dad worked in that section of the Pentagon, so my first call was to him. He told me that his dad had left for an overseas trip the day before and was fine. I had several family friends who lived and commuted to work in NYC and to hear of the stories, how they were running late or had called in sick that day gave me chills. So many lives were changed that day - the tragedy tore apart families, but brought others closer. It is a good thing to remember where we've been and how far we've come and grown as a nation.
Submitted by: Alu on September 7, 2011
Comment: My husband was in the Pentagon on 9/11. I was working in Ballston at the time. I had just talked to him about the planes hitting the World Trade Centers and wanted to know if he knew what was happening. And then the plane hit the Pentagon. I didn't know whether he had survived but made my way home because I knew that was the safest place to be and maybe my husband would meet me there. It took me over six hours to get there when normally it would only take me ten minutes. When I got home my neighbors came to see if I was okay and asked me if I had heard from my husband. I started to cry because I hadn't. Both of our daughters were in school in California and the oldest one was at the gym watching what was happening on the east coast. She later told us she thought she was watching a movie because it just didn't seem real. Meanwhile, my husband had managed to get through to his dad in Washington State and he in turned called our girls to let them know their dad was okay. I still did not know because we couldn't communicate. Ten hours later my husband walked in the door. We just hugged each other and cried. My husband told me that while he was talking on the phone to one of his friends who worked on the south side of the Pentagon when the building shook and the phone went dead. He didn't know whether or not his friend had survived. He started to call others he knew who worked on that side of the building to make sure they were all okay. Just two hours later my husband’s friend showed up at the door smelling of smoke and exhausted. When I went to give him a hug he too cried. This was just the beginning for us. My daughter lost a classmate in the first plane that hit the World Trade Center, Lisa Frost. My husband deployed to Iraq that following January and during the first three days of the war he lost one of his pilots and a very dear friend in a helicopter accident, Major Jay Aubin. Since then we have lost several more friends and fellow Marines. Our lives have never been the same...
Submitted by: Cindy on September 7, 2011
Comment: We were stationed in Giebelstadt GE on 9/11/01. I remember coming home from work to see the news coverage of the attack. My girls were not home from school yet and I was very anxious for them to arrive. I could not help but cry as the story unfolded. It was our third year in GE and I wished we could be at home with our extended family. My husband was locked down on the installation and as a spouse of a Soldier it became evident that life was changing before my eyes. In the weeks to follow there was constant speculation about deployments, we accepted new security measures on the installations and in the communities. My children road school buses with armed Soldiers escorting them for months. For us I think an age of innocence had come to an end and a time of stepping up and standing tall has prevailed.
Submitted by: SP on September 7, 2011
Comment: I was in fifth grade, I got up to get ready for school and my dad was in the kitchen watching the news crying. I walked over and saw the horror on tv. At school that day we watched tv, and the next day the whole school placed individual flags in the grass in front of the school. It was beautiful. I was in the band and we played the national anthem over and over until all the flags were placed out. I remember that day like it was yesterday. And I'm proud to say I'm married to an army man!
Submitted by: robinson on September 6, 2011
Comment: I was in the fifth grade when the towers were hit. I walked into my science class and everyone was gathered around the television, we saw the second tower hit. I am probably part of the youngest age group that remembers that day. I gained so much patriotism during that time and am proud to say I have retained it. I would like to honor my family members who have served their time and my beloved husband who is my hero.
Submitted by: z-beth on September 6, 2011
Items 1 - 25 of 34  12Next
  Print Print


Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive periodic eNews and alerts.

Please leave this field empty


Want up-to-date information and a community of people that care about military families?

Facebook Icon 2013

Twitter Icon 2013

Flickr Icon 2013

Proud Subgrantee of: