Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001 Anniversary

Remembering the 2,693 innocent people who died on that day, the fire fighters and police officers who have died or suffered since then because of their selfless work in the rescue and clean-up, the loved ones of those who died who still suffer the loss every day. God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001:

8:46 a.m.
New York, New York
First World Trade tower was hit by American Airlines Flight 11

9:03 a.m.
New York, New York
Second World Trade tower was hit by United Airline Flight 175

9:37 a.m.
Washington, D. C.
Pentagon was hit by American Airline Flight 77

9:59 a.m.
New York
South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:03 a.m.
Shanksville, Pennsylvania
United Airline Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, PA, after passengers rush the cockpit and overtake hijackers headed for Washington, D.C.

10:28 a.m
New York
North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

September 11, 2011
Memorials have opened in New York City and Shanksville, Pennsysvania, and at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Preserving Our Family History

Like everyone else in this country, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the first plane hitting the south tower of the World Trade Center. We were just starting a sales meeting at the Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of REALTORS(R) when an agent arrived late and breathless. He had heard the report on the radio as he was driving to the meeting. The initial reports indicated that it probably was a small commuter plane. Not long after, we were informed that a second plane had hit, and we knew that it was a terrorist attack.

When I finally got home and could watch the full reports on television, I knew that life as we knew it was over. An avid family and community historian, I had the fleeting thought that it didn't really matter how our ancestors had lived, or thought, or looked, or where they were buried. In fifty years, would anyone care?

Ironically, I had just launched an ambitious project of scanning old family photographs. We had a substantial collection of old photographs in Atlanta, and I offered to scan and save them to a CD for any cousins who wanted one. As an afterthought, I threw this out, "If you have any old photographs that you feel are special, please e-mail or snail mail them to me."

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, with Christmas fast approaching, I was bombarded with the most delightful images from cousins all over the country. We had a gorgeous 3/4 length portrait of our great-great-grandmother, circa 1860, and a cousin sent a full length portrait taken the same day! The portrait above is a great-grandfather holding our aunt. Another cousin sent one taken the same day of the old man holding our uncle. It told such a sweet story, and I could imagine my grandmother telling her father, "Just stay right there and hold still," while she handed him another baby!

Now, at least one cousin in every family group has every old family photograph. I keep an extra copy on a flash drive and a CD in my safe deposit box at the bank. (By the way, I do the same thing with my home inventory, including photographs and receipts). Whenever I discover an old family photograph, a letter, or any other family memorabila, my first thought is to preserve and distribute as many copies as possible.

We Americans are resilient. This photo project which encouraged friendly communication among far flung cousins while honoring our ancestors and their families and communities made me to feel hopeful about the future.