9/11: National Day of Service and Remembrance

Dahlia 'Hypnotica'

Dahlia ‘Hypnotica’

9/11.  Thirteen years ago, it was just another date on the calendar.  That changed for the world on September 11, 2001. I’ve struggled all day to find words to share, but they all sound trite.

Many of us wake up on the morning of September 11th and remember those early hours of fear, and disbelief.  Though I live in California, the destination of all four planes that crashed that day, I didn’t lose a friend, a family member or a colleague.  I was fortunate.

But we all felt the collective sadness and fear that swept through this nation in those early days and weeks.

Today is a day of service and remembrance.  I’ve tried to come up with something meaningful, but didn’t do an adequate job planning for the day.  If I had, I would have picked a day of service activity.  I’ll do better next year.  Today I planted a bright yellow ‘Hypnotica’ Dahlia as a remembrance.  We’re a collective planet warmed by the yellow sun.  These warm yellow flowers give me hope while honoring lives lost.  I placed the Dahlia curbside in a muted green pot for passersby to enjoy.

I donated to the American Red Cross fund in lieu of service. The:

“American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: disaster relief, supporting military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services and international humanity services.”

9/11 Remembrance

9/11 Remembrance

I’m also planning a random act of anonymous kindness before the day ends. People often joke about this, but I believe in my heart of hearts that if we all practiced individual acts of kindness, it would go far in improving all our lives.

Sending love and hope back out to the universe.

18 thoughts on “9/11: National Day of Service and Remembrance

  1. I woke up on the morning of Sept 12th [our time] at 6am to the news that the towers had fallen. Even so far away we were thunderstruck and listening, watching, waiting for more clarity all day. It was the last year I would be in the classroom and I was teaching 14 year olds at the time – and the event became a modern morality lesson for them…… it absorbed us for some time. I don’t think anybody forgets what they were doing when that news flashed around the world. Your post is thoughtful and touching and reminds me that for Americans 9/11 is still a sobering and living memory. The yellow dahlia in the pot by the curb is such a kind and loving thing to do – it warms my heart. You have also made me very glad that I chose to post my journal page on ‘hope’ right now. Thank you for another inspiring read 🙂

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    • Amazing to hear your story and perspectives from the other side of the world on that day. It seemed then (and honestly still seems that way now) unfathomable. My husband woke me up with a stricken look on his face. He was so clearly in distress that I was sure a family member died. Then when I watched (the first plane had hit but not the second) I still thought it was a terrible accident. Of course it got worse and worse and the morning went on. Then the stories pouring in, the disbelief, the anguish, the recorded footage. We went to a blood bank to donate (sadly that proved unnecessary) and the lines were out the door. I’ll never forget that day. So many friends have incredible stories, especially those living in New York at the time.

      Those 14 year olds were lucky to have you as a teacher on that day. I know you managed it beautifully.

      Thanks for your words and insights.

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  2. What a sweet way to remember the day. I like random acts of kindness each day possible but they are especially meaningful on days when we feel the world has gone to heck in a hand basket. The yellow dahlia is a pretty remembrance flower. Spent my day with the seniors writing group hearing old WWII stories from someone who was there. Then we tried not to melt. It reached 98 here yesterday. A record high.

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    • What a lovely way to spend the day. I’m not sure how I missed the fact that you were part of a seniors writing group. Nice!

      98 is brutal and an unusual high for your area. We’ve had mid nineties for a few days too, though we’re seeing a ‘cooling’ trend: only 87 tomorrow. Blech. I’m ready for fall.

      Thanks for your kindness.

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  3. I think everyone remembers where they were on 9/11 – I was at work and we saw it all unfold live gathered around someones computer screen thinking at first it was a plane that had flown too low, but then when the 2nd plane hit we knew something was very amiss. We gasped in disbelief at the people jumping out of the windows not realising at first that they were people. This day is also my dear dad’s birthday – he was still alive that day but sadly died in 2006. For me it is very much a remembrance day.

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  4. I’m sorry I’m reading late Alys. I admire you every day and most especially because you are constantly kind, generous and thoughtful for what others are going thru. I couldn’t bring myself to watch any coverage yesterday. It played on many channels. I’ve seen a number of documentaries early on, when I was very interested to learn how this tragedy was even possible and why they were in America, how long were they planning. It just seemed utterly impossible to imagine all those lives with buildings falling down or people jumping in anguish. While I, like everyone, looked for answers, I just came to acknowledge that there is real EVIL in the world and it can’t be understood or explained. I think planting the yellow dahlia is a beautiful remembrance since gardening means so much to you, what better way to share a piece of your heart. xoK

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    • My dear you’ve just described yourself. Thank you for including me on that list.

      I avoid the visual coverage and listen to the radio instead. The images are disturbing. I can’t imagine how the families feel seeing that part of things played out over and over again. It must be dreadful for them.

      It was such a dark time. I cried often in those early weeks. I was never scared, just terribly sad. My boys were only 1 and 4, so I was grateful that I didn’t have to shelter than from the news. We kept the TV off when they were awake and it was better for all concerned.

      Thanks for your sweet words regarding the dahlia. It spoke to me with it’s bright yellow flowers, sturdy and resolute. xox

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      • The world is such a different place now. We seem so much less free than when we were children yet still very thankful. It gives you an idea what those poor Syrians and their children are living with on a daily, ongoing basis. xo

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        • I’ve thought about that a lot in these past two years. The stories out of Syria are heartbreaking. Our local public radio (NPR/KQED) does excellent, in depth reporting on all of it. I can’t imagine the helplessness and trauma.

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    • Thank you, Sharon. It’s right next to the ramp so you can see it up close the next time you’re here.

      I don’t watch the gruesome footage either. It is so disturbing and it accomplishes nothing. I did watch a beautiful short today (about 11 minutes long) narrated by Tom Hanks about the boat rescues that day. It’s somber but uplifting and inspiring as well. It talks about common heroes, rather than dwelling on the horror. It’s worth a watch…tissue at the ready.

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