19 Years Ago

I was at the gym as usual this morning.

At the 9/11 Memorial

I go early in the morning and put an hour on the bike followed up by some weightlifting. While on the bike, I watch news.

With today being September 11, the news coverage focused of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies in NY, Washington and PA.

At 8:46a EST they were holding a moment of silence.

I looked around the gym and noticed that the average age of the people I could see was in the low 20’s. This meant that most of the people there were very small children at the time. I wondered if they even knew that today was 9/11.

Several of the TV screens in the gym were showing the ceremony. I couldn’t see anyone paying attention. 

Even so, at 8:46 I got off the bike I was riding and stood during the first moment of silence.

Sweat was dripping down my face and mixing with the tears that were falling

Moment of silence

A few people gave me a strange look and I politely gestured to the TV.  They figured out what was going on and they too, stopped for the remainder of the silence. 

It is still very real today, 19 years later. That day was horrible, horrifying and hellish.

I remember when I heard the news, I was in my office in Meredith, NH, where I was the Superintendent of Schools. Downstairs in the basement of that very old building, there was a small workout room with a very small television. I walked downstairs and turned it on.

I spent the next several hours watching in horror and disbelief. My friend Robert Stinson joined me midway through the situation. We both had been to NYC together and our experiences there created a bond between us and the city.

We were trying to make sense of it. We failed.

As a child, we made many trips to NYC. My parents had an apartment in Manhattan that we used occasionally. I remember always being so excited about the first glimpse we got of the city as we were driving from Philly. The twin towers were so mesmerizing for me. I loved tall buildings. I marveled in wonder as I saw them each time.

I attended the 1986 Statue of Liberty re-dedication ceremony. I was on the NH side which provides a great view of Lady Liberty with a backdrop of the twin towers. One of my favorite all-time pix of the city was taken that day. Unfortunately, I cannot find that picture.

I also remember taking my children to the city and we visited the site the first chance we had. It was powerful, painful and patriotic. I will always cherish that visit.

After my workout, when I left the gym to drive home and as I approached my neighborhood, I was heartened to see American flags in every single yard. In the time that I was at the gym, the young men and women from church had gone around and placed a flag in every yard. They will come back in the evening to retrieve them. 

The flag in my yard

It made me feel good that we are honoring the fallen and remembering this devastating tragedy. It may me feel even better to know our youth were part of the remembrance. 


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