By Kate Riley September 11, 2012

Today would feel like any other Tuesday in autumn except that it’s not.  Just like that Tuesday on September 11, 2001, this day is very different in the hearts of all of us who watched it happen.  Here we are, eleven years later still reliving the tragedy and mourning the lives lost. 

On our recent visit to New York City in August, we took an afternoon to visit the 9/11 memorial and see 1 WTC as it gets closer to completion. 

freedom tower nearing completion


I wrote about where I was on 9/11 last year, and what I’d witnessed in downtown New York City when we saw the embers still burning when we visited in 2001.  I hadn’t been back to the site until this year, in part due to time constraints in previous visits, but also because of the sorrow that overwhelms when you visit. 

names and pools 9.11 memorial


I was glad to be finally be back and witness the new WTC today.

reflecting pool 9.11 memorial


I ran my hands over the beautiful memorial and the names of the fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, policemen, firemen, and rescuers we lost.

names of lost people


9/11 is difficult to explain to children who weren’t alive when it happened and who cannot understand the evil that occurred that day.

bronze statue and kids


Watching the site being rebuilt and the tower rising is unlike watching an ordinary skyscraper under construction – it brings renewal and is a symbol of our resilience. 

tower under construction


When you sail the ferry from Battery Park, you can see both the tower rising in downtown Manhattan and our Lady Liberty standing tall and proud in the harbor.

freedom tower

statue of liberty ny harbor

Seeing both make me feel so proud to be an American.



  1. Beautifully written, and great photos. I haven’t told my girls about Sept. 11, but this morning the principal talked about it over the loudspeaker and told the children to ask their parents about why today is important. I was volunteering in Natalie’s first grade, so now I can be prepared to answer her questions when she gets home this afternoon.

  2. Thank you! This post is beautiful. My children were in JR high and High school at the time. I am now a grandmother of two small babies and had never thought about having to tell them about 9/11. Spending my day praying for Americans today.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I was in my first year of serving in the Air Force when 9/11 happened. I was seeing my little brother off to the airport who was headed off to basic training when the towers were struck. I remember being shocked and utterly terrified about the fact that as I watched the 2nd plane hit the tower I knew my military career would be changed forever. I’ve lost friends and fellow servicemen and women as a result of what happened in NY 11 years ago. This is a day I certainly will never forget and I plan took ensure my children know why their mom, dad, auntie, and uncle wore and continue to wear our nations uniform proudly. While I’ll still be buried knew deep in drywall tomorrow, today I thank those who sacrificed to ensure I have the opportunity to figure out how to fix the walls I destroyed…..

  4. Lovely, I’m always so impressed when bloggers take time to reflect on this date. It’s sort of my touchstone for how I feel about the blog or the business if they ignore this day. I am doubly impressed with you!

  5. What a sobering day for all of us in America. Just how fast our whole lives can change forever. It’s something we won’t ever forget.


  6. What beautiful pictures Kate. I have not been to the site myself because I just can’t get up the courage to go. I will remember that day for as long as I live. It’s still very fresh in my mind as I am a New Yorker and a very proud one at that. I still remember where I was that day. We were on a trip in Florida at Disney. Woke up, turned the TV on and I saw the second plane hit the building. I thought, what a horrible movie this is and changed the station {I had just woken up}. Every station had the coverage of what had just happened. We just couldn’t believe our eyes. We were supposed to be at the happiest place on earth {Disney}. There was no way we were getting on a plane home to NY. We drove home a few days later when the bridges were reopened. I still remember coming over the bridge into NY and seeing all the smoke and they were checking cars still I believe. As we drove up I95 on our way home all of the over-passes had signs on them giving prayers to all Americans. It was beautiful and emotional all at the same time. We did not personally lose anyone that day, but we all lost something that day. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures Kate. Still can’t believe it’s been 11 years…xoxo

  7. Those are wonderful photo’s! My boys and I traveled back east in August of 2001 to stay with my parents, we had the privilege of going to the top of the twin towers and my boys loved it. We had been home just a couple of weeks when this nightmare happened. I cannot fathom how difficult this day must be for the families of those who were lost:(

  8. So beautifully said, Kate. The weather here in New York today is strikingly similar to the weather on that awful but defining day eleven years ago. Your pictures capture the same beautiful blue sky. They are a great image of the hope that I try so hard to keep in my heart on this day as I relive so much of the sadness we all experienced.

  9. Thank you for this post….it is so important to never forget the events that transpired that day and
    to remember the families who were never the same because of it. God bless our nation and the families that have suffered so much.

  10. I’m from Queensland, Australia and my family and I were lucky enough to spend a month in NYC last Christmas/New Year. We visited the 9/11 memorial whilst there and I cried the whole time I was there. That was a day that united the whole world and will never be forgotten.

  11. Beautiful post, Kate. I was living in Southern California at the time and remember talking on the phone with a friend. I looked up at the television and saw the second plane hit. Since I hadn’t been really watching what was on t.v., I thought it was a movie. My youngest was 5 at the time. We talked about it yesterday and she said she remembers her teacher gasping. She also said she really didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t lose anyone personally in this tragedy but even typing what happened to our country still brings tears to my eyes 11 years later. I hope those families have been able to heal.

  12. When I’m there I can’t bring myself to visit the site. We have friends that were living there at the time – it was days before we found out that they were okay. For those that lost loved ones my heart aches. I pray we never forget.

  13. I’m from Canada, and I too remember where I was and what I was doing at the exact moment I heard the news about the towers. We may be a separate country but we felt we were going through it with you, as I’m sure people from all around the world did. You are proud to be an American, and we are proud to be your neighbour.

  14. Thank you for posting. My husband was a first responder (NYPD sergeant) on this day and it is amazing how raw it still is. We have moved South to raise our triplets born after 9/11, yes I said TRIPLETS!! They are 9 now and we have not been back to see the construction. THANK YOU for posting this remembrance but also these pics. My husband has spoken at many schools. He does acknowledge (through tears) the devastation but focusses on the good in the remembrance of that day.I only mention this because when speaking to your own children it may help all of you. The children seem to respond to his message that they were able to safely evacuate 12,000 people that day out of the buildings, that the NYers in those buildings saved each other by being orderly in evacuating and helped each other, how the country came together when the terrorists tried to break us apart, and how on Sept 12th everyone was a little kinder to each other. God Bless America

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