In Memorium: September 11, 2001

Posted by in Louise Behiel | 36 comments

This video captures my thoughts and feelings on that day.

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

(in case there’s a problem this video is at

On my way to work, I heard on the radio that a plane had hit the tower. I  logged into CNN. I read the headline and then got booted out.

And I couldn’t get back in.  Not any news site. Not anywhere.

My boss came in about an hour later and gave me the latest news. She asked me to go buy a television so we could watch the news all day. And that’s what we did. We sat around a 15 inch television in the reception area and watched the news – on every channel, both Canadian and American.

In Calgary, some of us volunteered to put up American travellers stranded in Calgary. Some of us attended prayer vigils. Some of us prayed at home.

I was glued to the television. I watched all day and all evening. I even slept on the sofa bed in the living room so that I fell asleep with CNN and woke with it too.

I cried when the American Congress and Senate representatives stood on the Capital Hill stairs and sang.

I was shocked by some people’s behavior. And moved by others. And I cried.

In May of 2003 I went to New York. On the two-tiered bus tour, the guide told us that we were approaching a rescue operation and we were expected to be silent and remain in our seats. No pictures were to be taken.

We didn’t. But I cried

The next day, I went to the platform and looked at the site. I walked around the church next to the platformt. I cried at all the caps, badges, emblems and flags on the fence. I marvelled that the church hadn’t been damaged, given the desecration across the street. And I cried.

I looked at the flyers of missing people and shivered at the depth of the hole on Broadway. And I cried.

I haven’t been able to watch any of the movies and very few of the documentaries. It’s all just too painful. Occasionally I watch a bit of the memorial services, but not often. Because I cry.

Everytime I think of the survivors, families and friends; everytime I think of the horror…I cry.

This was an American tragedy. But it was a global loss. We hurt and we prayed and we cried.

A lot of years have passed, but it still hurts. I don’t talkvery much about my reaction and feelings during that time. How the pain still lingers. It is a tragic reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

And makes me wonder if we will ever learn.

God Bless, my American friends. Go in peace.


  1. I was living in Manhattan that day. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I can still remember every detail like it was yesterday. The burning acrid smell in the air. Some events are branded into the brain. I can also remember the candle-lit vigils in the parks and the kindness New Yorkers showed each other.

    • I can’t imagine the emotion of living there on the 11th. it was hard to visit in May the following spring.

  2. I should have come back here and posted that we now have a joyful memory. On 9/11/12 we welcomed a great granddaughter into the family.:)

    • wonderful – thanks for sharing the good news, Shirley

  3. Thanks so much for sharing about what happened eleven years ago from your perspective. So few people seem to remember it – I know that no one I work with has a moment of silence for each of the jets when they hit. I think it’s sad, but I do it on my own each year.

    I wrote about my experiences with this last year. I lived in upstate New York at the time and just like eleven years ago, September 11 2012 was a beautiful fall day. And I called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday just like I do every September 11.

    Like the new digs! I wish you had a like button though!


    • the like button is only available on the wordpress site.

  4. What a touching and lovely tribute. I’d like to say more, but for once, words fail me.

    • It’s such a charged memory that words are sometimes difficult. Be well

  5. I had gone grocery shopping with my mom. I’d forgotten that she drove that day. But I was hauling my stuff inside when my sister called. I guess she’d tried several times. I spent the rest of that day, and much of the next several glued to the television. What a tragic, terrifying time. It really makes me more aware of what people in other countries…who experience this stuff on a regular basis…must feel.

    Thanks for the wonderful tribute, Louise. This did affect every decent person in the world.

    • Yes, Kristy, it was a terrible day for decent people everywhere.

  6. Thank you Louise. Let’s hope the entire world NEVER forgets the senselessness of that day. God bless!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt.

    • Thanks Jansen. We can only hope.

  7. Lovely tribute, Louise. You speak for so many of us in Canada on this subject.

    • thanks Patricia. We were all affected even though it wasn’t in our country

  8. Terrible, terrible day.

  9. I cried too Louise, and I still cry.

    I remember being in the living room with Shay, she was just a toddler, we were watching cartoons, then the news came on. And I cried. And Shay did too, although she didn’t know why.

    • I didn’t include pictures, Tawny because they still upset me.

  10. I doubt any of us will ever forget that day. I was still in bed due to the time difference. My father called me and I immediately turned on the television, much to my husband’s dismay. I was watching when the second plane flew into the second tower. I couldn’t beleive my eyes. My husband was still in bed and still doesn’t beleive I saw that. He was tired. It’s confusing at that hour, I know. I was eight months pregnant at the time. I remember documenting a lot about that day in my son’s journal so that he will know what happened so close to his birth. It was a scary time. So many babies were born that day from the shock.

    • Debra, I never considered shock causing early deliveries, but of course it would. It was hard to believe what we were seeing – it seemed so impossible.

  11. I cried reading your post. Thanks for sharing, Louise. Warm thoughts and prayers to all those who lost loved ones on that terrible day.

    • DL, I totally agree – warm thoughts and prayers to all those who lost loved ones that terrible day.

  12. My husband is a cop and sometimes he will call to say he’s on the news. So, that morning he called very early and said “Turn on the news” and I’m like “Which channel?” and he’s like “Any channel.” So I turn on the news and they show the one tower and say a plane hit it. I’m like bewildered. It’s a big building how could you not miss it. As they are talking they show the plane hitting the second building. I went to sit down in my chair and missed it and hit the floor. And stayed there crying my eyes out. My then 11 year old son came out to see why I was crying. He’s like “Is it Dad?” all shook up and I can’t even answer him, just shake my head no.

    • When I first heard, on the radio, I thought a little 2-seater plane. And I wondered what had happened that the pilot could’t avoid a building of that size. It was a bad day for all of us.

  13. I still cry, Louise. I was on my way for a check-up and heard something had happened. When the doc came in he said a plane had hit one of the towers. I assumed a small plane and wondered how it managed to get into their no-fly space. It wasn’t until I later turned on the news that I saw the horror. It isn’t something I’ll ever forget.

    • That was my assumption when I first heard too Gerri. and no, I’ll never forget.

  14. I hope it is okay to share a link to my blog, it is something I wrote a couple years ago, I still cry every year…behold the power of trauma, loss, grief, wow… It is strange how times passes and yet incidents like this feel as raw and fresh as it did when it first happened.

    Drats, where’s the Kleenex?!!

    • of course it’s ok, lovely lady. take care of yourself. I’m off to check out your link

  15. Beautiful post, Louise. We lived in Des Moines at the time, and I was walking out the door to meet my mom about an hour away. I remember literally putting the key in the lock when she called to tell me what was going on. That was before the South tower fell. It was gone by the time I met her an hour later, and gas stations were already hoarding.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Stacy, I think we all remember the moment we knew what happened. Life changing for all of us.

  16. Touching tribute, Louise. I was working at home that day, and my MIL called to tell me about it. One of our friends was at the Pentagon that day, and when my project manager called to say don’t worry about work, I thought it was our friend’s wife (same first name) and freaked, asking if he was OK before I realized it wasn’t her. Turned out our friend was veryclose to the area hit, but he was fine.

    Last year I went to NY and stopped at the site, stood on the church steps you did. I still get a chill thinking about it.

    • Standing at that church in May of 2002 was overwhelming. There was some minor damage to the trees in the cemetery. But everything else was intact and complete. Truly miraculous. As I tramped around Manhattan, I saw one of the memorials at a fire station, so I went to take a look and it was the Calgary FD who’d manned up for that station. I was so touched, I can’t begin to say how that affected me, except I stood there on a street in Manhattan and bawled.

  17. Louise I too watched and cried and still do. Since I live in CT I am surrounded by many family members touched, hurt and surviving this tragic event. Your phase an American tragedy but global loss really captures my feelings.Thank you for sharing it is very hard for me also to express how much I personally was affected. I am a person who likes to give a hug, so I am passing a long distance ((hug)) on. May the Lord guide and comfort us all this day.

    • Thx Shirley

  18. I cry too, Louise. Beautiful tribute.

    • Sad day for all of us Rhonda

    • I don’t think those of us who experienced this – in Calgary or Manhattan – will ever get over the crying, Rhonda.


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