Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

StoryCorps Shares Heartbreaking 9/11 Stories

Get your hankies ready for this one. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, StoryCorps will be sharing recordings and animated shorts of real 9/11 stories over the next few days. This one is called “Always a Family,” and as you might expect, it’s a tearjerker, and a sad reminder that for every life lost that day, countless relationships were affected.

StoryCorps aims to record one story for every life lost on 9/11. You can help them reach this goal by making a donation here. Your donation will go toward recording session costs, preserving and archiving interviews, buying CDs for the interviewees, and editing the stories for broadcast.

31 comments… add one
  • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Sad story indeed. But enough reveling in tragedy! I’m sorry but every year it’s an onslaught of “Ooooh, lets revisit it all!!” so we can justify our stupid mistakes as a nation! Each and every year, the media and the politicians trot out the widows, the widowers, the children, (and heck, now even the divorced spouses!) as a pathetic means to justify their own horribly misguided actions of a decade ago…

    This whole war was all brought on by both the media and the politicians! Both were seriously gunning for it from the get go! The politicos whipped everybody up into a frenzied fever of bloodlust. And the media was right there to spoon feed the most ridiculously made up bullshit about obviously bogus weapons intel that FUCKING NOBODY even bothered to remotely check out. Nobody…. Hey, somehow, they sure can do a bang up job of fact checking the cut of meat on Lady Gaga’s latest stupid dress!! But nobody could even be bothered to ask even the vaguestly challenging questions about whether or not we should actually recklessly go to war with a country that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the attack on 911!!! Trust me, that’s so not a fucking coincidence.

    The media didn’t ask any questions — of course! — because they knew the war was sure to be a ratings bonanza! Hell, they had the most exciting, most glamorous war graphics that all looked like bumpers for the latest network drama just waiting, waiting in the wings… They were there, safely on the sidelines making it all look like so damn patriotic and so important, too.

    And so…. Here we are.

    Yes, the REALLY heartbreaking story about 911 is what it did to the REST of us. Like sheep, far too many people — that’s you, the huddled stupid masses — jumped on the lets-go-to-war-it’ll-be-fun-and-exciting-to-go-kill-people-especially-since-I-can-just-sit-here-getting-fat-eating-Cheetos-as-I-watch-it-all-on-TV!! band wagon… Democrats quickly united like lobotomized sheep behind both the feeblest intelligence, and basically, the Paris Hilton of Presidents so quickly I was utterly astounded!

    At the time I simply couldn’t believe it. Ten years later, I still don’t.

    Wait, we’re going to invade Iraq? Weren’t all the highjackers from Saudi Arabia? And didn’t we know this like mere days and weeks after the tragedy?

    But Iraq? Wait, wait…REALLY? Hey, even I — a bitter, clueless faggot — with no REAL insight to the situation knew THAT was a REALLY bad idea. And I railed and railed about it to no avail! Terrorists blew up the Towers yeah, but we did the rest to ourselves. Our country is now totally fucked. We blew BILLIONS on a war the President acted like nobody would ever have to pay for. Surprise! Now WE have to pay for it! Sure, Bush is on his Tex-ass ranch somewhere counting all his fucking blood money as he has somebody ghost pen his memoir that will miraculously glorify his fucking stupidity… But us? The rest of the nation? Oh, right. We’re hopelessly broke. Dead flat busted. Destitute and all for a fucking idioticly bogus war that in the end — accomplished absolutely nothing.

    So way to go, America. Way to go. Keep watching your treacly videos and reliving the tragedy over and over and over again. Maybe you need the escape now, and maybe I totally get that… Then again, maybe I don’t.

    Maybe I’m just tired of people reliving the tragedy. People die every day. Every day, in horrible, horrible ways. The tragedy of 911 was that we — as a nation and a people reacted so horribly wrong to it. We became a nation of idiots, led by idiots. And now we have a clueless hack in the White House who apparently stands for nothing. Meanwhile the Republicans literally are tossing out borderline mentally challenged idiots as seriously their best candidates to fucking RU(i)N THE COUNTRY! (Excuse, me! Didn’t we already have a President so illiterate he could barely string two words together? And even then the verbs were never properly conjugated…) So, yes. Yes…We have learned nothing! No, make that the rest of the nation apparently has clearly learned NOTHING!!! At this point this ship of fools pretty much deserves everything it gets…

    So go watch your sad videos, America. Keep on burying your fucking heads in the sand. It’s what you do best, isn’t it?

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    • lets_be_honest September 7, 2011, 1:46 pm

      “Yes, the REALLY heartbreaking story about 911 is what it did to the REST of us” & “The tragedy of 911 was that we — as a nation and a people reacted so horribly wrong to it.” You are a pathetically ignorant and selfish excuse for an American. The tragedy of 9/11 was the thousands of lives lost on that day. PERIOD. It takes a sick mind to say the really heartbreaking part was “what it did to the rest of us.”

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      • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 2:04 pm

        Actually, I am looking at the nation as a whole which is MILLIONS (by last count 307,000,000) and not just thousands of people. But whatever. Obviously, this concept goes over some people’s heads.

      • lets_be_honest September 7, 2011, 2:11 pm

        The millions of people who are ALIVE? I might be wrong, but I’m going to guess those people would rather be alive, even with their problems, then DEAD. You’re an idiot and I can’t believe I even am wasting my time pointing out any of this to you.

      • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 2:17 pm

        Okay. How about the hundreds of thousands of people on the planet that died AFTER 911. As a direct result of our most misguided efforts to rush headlong into the war?

    • bagge72 September 7, 2011, 2:04 pm

      Do you really think anybody is going to take you seriously on this issue with the way you talk to them. You know absolutely nothing about the people on this blog, and yet you criticize, and berate them for beliefs they may not even have. Nobody is going to listen to your views whether they are true of false, because of the way you say them, you are doing yourself a lot more harm then good. You actually sound more crazy than Sarah Palin or any of those republicans you hate so much, because you don’t treat anybody with respect. You may actually be pushing people the other way, because out of touch you sound. Maybe you are fine with that, but if you were, you probably wouldn’t have gone on with a rant like this in the first place. This isn’t a political blog, and for you to belittle the people on here, and take away from what this post is really suppose to be about show’s how little respect you have for the people of this blog, and this country.

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    • Mainer September 7, 2011, 2:13 pm

      You do a fantastic job of bitching about the state of our country, but I failed to see any actual insight of your own. People always cry about the mistakes we made while offering no real commentary other than a complaint. You can’t hold the victims of that day responsible for the aftermath of the attacks. To sweep them under the rug like nothing ever happened because you don’t agree with the direction we took only adds insult to injury. Why not use that day to celebrate the firemen, policemen, and city workers who risked, and gave, their life to save lives? Actual lives. We celebrate our war heros and people who fight for our country. They were fighting for an ideal; a perception of our country. The people on 9/11 fought for lives. Tangible lives. It doesn’t get any more directly effective than that. And that’s not even touching everyone who died just because they showed up for work that day. You want to ignore them because you don’t believe in war?

      September 11th wasn’t just another day where people died. It was a declaration of war on our country. Not via threats or political maneuvering, but deliberate acts of war. Four of them. This wasn’t like the Cold War where essentially two countries whipped their dicks out to compare sizes, it was a pre-meditated slap in the face that blindsided us to the point of forcing our hand at retaliation. What did you expect to happen? They used four of our own airlines filled with our citizens to attack us. We’re just suppose to let that slide? The country, hell even the world, demanded retribution. The war is not about a response to the attacks. It was a declaration that we’ll go to no end to ensure it never happens again and we’re not someone you want to fuck with. And that means taking out anyone who may be a threat. Yeah it’s shitty, and a little arrogant, but the whole turn the other cheek bull shit doesn’t fly in the real world. We can’t all “get along.” Once it started it took off. There’s no pause switch, no time-outs. You can’t ask to take a break. You run with it. You make a move and you stick to it. It doesn’t matter how right or wrong you were, you stick to your decision like it was the right one. Want to know what would divide this country even more than September 11th? Having the leaders constantly retracting decisions because they may have been less than perfect. That gives the perception that we have no god damn clue what we’re doing. Not just to our citizens, but to the world. You assign that sort of weakness to the “most powerful country in the world” and guess what it invites? Leadership means taking responsibility for the decisions you made and doing your best to instill confidence in your followers. So while you sit back from the comfort of your own home and critique a country you have no idea how to run, basing most of your knowledge and facts off blogs, CNN, and articles written by anyone with half a brain and a keyboard, try to think of what you have to contribute other than complaining how much your life was affected. How many of these problems genuinely affect you? Like have an impact on your day to day life? None of it. Yeah, security is a little tighter, news channels broadcast visually disturbing images so they get more hits. Big fucking deal. Live your life and stop pretending everything would be all peaches and cream if nothing ever happened. It did, deal with it.

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      • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 2:49 pm

        Hey, obviously it was HUGE attack on us. That said, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor we didn’t exactly go marching in on China, did we? Had we actually gone AFTER Bin Laden in a solid concrete way, I would have no problems with what we did. The sad fact is, we didn’t! At least not very well. Instead we played nation building and created one big hell of a mess.

        I simply don’t agree with your philosophy here. That once you make a move you stick with it, however, misguided it may in the end turn out to be. Again, I don’t agree with this philosophy, but clearly…many, many do.

        And I don’t hold the victims accountable. Nowhere in my post did I say that. I do however hold those who seemed hell bent on using those victims as leverage either to go to war or get huge ratings on their news programs….

      • donkey September 7, 2011, 3:20 pm

        Your “solution” is why the U.S. “lost” the Vietnam war, and ended up with a stalemate in the Korean war.

        You say cold war is two countries whipping their dicks out to compare sizes.

        Well a misguided, false war, on innocent countries is irrational, drunken violence that is worse than some passive aggressive dick size comparison.

        Real people die.

        And you say the country must stick to its “guns”. You are the perfect example of an irrational, paranoid, idiot american.

      • donkey September 7, 2011, 3:28 pm

        Again it’s not you that is fighting the war.

        You too can “sit back from the comfort of your own home” and talk about war in an offhanded fashion like it’s a baseball game.

        Dubya made a classic stupid mistake. Fight a war on multiple fronts, and lose focus of the original mission.

        Dubya ruined the image of “most powerful country in the world” that will take multiple decades to repair. America is a freaking joke. Everybody is laughing their assess at the tragic comedy, of a once great nation/empire.

        Good fucking luck, friend.
        I’m willing to bet good money that you idiots will elect Rick Perry next.

        Good fucking luck.

      • Mainer September 7, 2011, 4:19 pm

        Donkey – thanks for your reply. Your point that I”m an “irrational, paranoid, idiot American” is very convincing, thanks largely to the eloquent, concrete, and undisputed evidence you use to support your points. It makes it very difficult to contend your breadth of knowledge base and international intellect. Since the part of my reply you most focused on was about dicks, I feel the need to continue along those lines as to keep you focused. Here’s a notion. Treat your opinions on past events and things outside of your control as your dick. It’s okay to have one, you can even admire it and think it is pretty good. But don’t go waiving it around in public, and whatever you do, don’t try to shove it down my throat.

        You are correct in that I am not fighting the war, your research paid off on this one. Do you know why I’m not fighting the war? Because I have no interest in fighting in a war. I’m not the one complaining about all the injustice in the world. If I was, I would feel compelled to maybe do something about it rather than just taking time off from my porn hub visits to insult random people on the internet. In case you lost track of my original point, which I can understand if you did since it wasn’t written in crayon, I was simply pointing out that the war did, in fact, happen. Whether or not it *should* have happened is redundant. But just because we may disagree with why we are currently at war does not mean we should choose to ignore what happened that day. We shouldn’t boo at every memorial, or tv program, or interview that focus on the victims of that day. That is what this whole post was about, and my reply was to point out that we shouldn’t be angry at the publicity of the day just because we don’t like the reaction our country had. But if you would like to try and spin this into a different debate, I can confidently say I have zero interest. So you can go back to trolling other sites.

      • Budjer September 7, 2011, 4:24 pm

        dude – spankwire is better.

    • donkey September 7, 2011, 3:14 pm

      Hey mark,

      I know the rest of the commentors will rip on you for being critical, or not being politically correct, or polite, or whatever.

      I say fuck them. People died. yes…

      Doesn’t mean you have to put everything associated with that day on some kind of untouchable pedestal, and that somehow after 10 years it is “impolite” to talk about dead people in anything but glowing words.

      I liked your post. I’m surprised wendy did not ban it.

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      • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 5:29 pm

        Eh, I hope she takes it down. Clearly people didn’t get it. Nobody ever learns from their mistakes. This is why we keep making the same ones over and over again. Korea. Vietnam… and Afghanistan… We didn’t loose them because people like me thought they were a big waste of time and resources…. No, we lost them because, frankly, in hindsight, they were all simply lousy causes to begin with. None of which have done ANYTHING to make the world a better place. I mean, seriously. Does anybody REALLY feel safer now?


        Because I, for one, certainly don’t.

    • L September 7, 2011, 3:56 pm

      Two words for you: Grow. Up.

      It was a horrid tragedy because regular US civilians who go to an office building to work every day were targeted. Not politicians, not military officials, everyday citizens. People just like you and me. It was a target on innocent civilians simply because radical groups hate Americans. In the past 10 years our country has changed drastically whether in the airports or security at national monuments or even in schools.

      Though I am not a fan of the war, I support the troops that are fighting it for us. I don’t always follow daily news on war in the Middle East because it’s incredibly depressing, but I do know that these soldiers have helped keep us safe. They have carried out their orders, even if they didn’t personally believe in them. To me, your ranting post disrespects and disregards their sacrifices. It is because of the 9/11 attacks that some people joined the military. It is because of some of these heart-wrenching stories that they keep fighting to keep their loved ones and the country they love safe.

      To me, this is a way for us to commemorate, remember, and celebrate the lives of those that were lost on September 11, 2001. It is a way for us to honor them. It is a way for us to remind ourselves that true heroes still exist in the form of firefighters, police officers, and soldiers. I remember promising myself I would never forget that day. I was a teenager at the time, but I haven’t forgotten and I never will.

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      • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 5:35 pm

        Right! Because the best way to support the troops is to BLINDLY support the decisions that needlessly and foolishly pretty much send them to their deaths because we have a weak President who is desperate to show that he has the biggest stick… (i.e. the U.S. military…) Yeah, sending people in to areas with shoddy equipment — soldiers often had to buy their own protective gear!) and no real plan so they can die senselessly, but nobly for their country — THAT’S supporting the troops.

        Whatever…. I give up.

        Carry on. Celebrate death and destruction! Glorify the leaders that make embarrassingly bad decisions out of blind vengeance that leaves blood on all our hands. So be it.

      • L September 7, 2011, 6:28 pm

        I’m not going to get into an argument with you about the politics of the war. It’s not as easy as pulling all the troops out at once. I agree with you that we need to end the war soon, but honestly, do YOU have the answer to the mess that is the Middle East right now?? I sure don’t. It is unfair to judge when we have not been in their shoes.

        This is absolutely not the place for your political rants. We are NOT celebrating death and destruction. We are celebrating lives of those victims that were tragically cut short. We are remembering and honoring them. And who on earth is “glorifying” leaders in this thread??? Please don’t put words in our mouths, as you have done in the past here on DW.

        Finally, you DO realize that people lose respect for you when you rant and rave about personal agendas like this at this site? It is not the time or the place.

      • bittergaymark September 8, 2011, 3:46 am

        No, I don’t have an answer to the middle east. But I honestly don’t think our barging in and blowing billions has truly accomplished a God damn thing. Nor has it made us any safer. If anything, we are LESS popular in the middle east than we were before 9/11. Seriously, it’s all been on big clusterfuck that nobody wants to cop to…

      • L September 8, 2011, 9:43 am

        This is the last post I’m going to make on this subject. You can rant and rave all you want about how we had no real reason to go into the Middle East, but the fact of the matter is we’re there right now. It’s done. Move on. The government has to make the best of it, even if they may not support the war. In addition to finding a way to exit the Middle East gracefully, they’ve got people pulling for their attention at every angle: Fix the school system. Give aid to all the victims of natural disasters. Find a way to finally balance the budget. To be a phenomenal politician means you have to be the world’s absolute BEST multitasker about the world’s WORST problems. It is a job that I wouldn’t be caught dead in.

        To clarify, I agree with you that this war hasn’t accomplished what we set out to do, but it would be dishonoring those who have fought the war to say it hasn’t accomplished a single thing. Yes, we need to get them out of the war zone, but show appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made.

    • _jsw_ September 8, 2011, 11:28 am

      I have to agree with BGM.

      The loss of life and destruction of property on 9/11 was horrific. I knew people who died. I remember the day, and those that followed, vividly. It still haunts me, especially, for some reason, the thought of the children – and their parents – on those doomed planes.

      However, the tragedies of that day were used to justify crimes against humanity, dramatic reductions in personal freedoms here and abroad, and much, much more loss of life and destruction of property.

      Those who died on 9/11 died in vain, and their deaths were used to promote an agenda which in no way helps the victims, their families, or us. We had the goodwill of the world on 9/12. We squandered it and turned much of the world against us.

      I agree with BGM – what happened after 9/11 is a tragedy which is even greater than the one that occurred that day.

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      • haggith September 8, 2011, 7:29 pm

        “what happened after 9/11 is a tragedy which is even greater than the one that occurred that day.”

        1000% agree, unjustified deaths in both sides that far exceeded the ones that day. how many more are gonna die?

    • SaneVoiceFromEurope September 8, 2011, 1:20 pm

      @bittergaymark – As someone who does not possess the US’s narrow, pseudo-patriotic the-war-is-justified, our-soldiers-are-heroes mentality, I have to say that I agree 100% with what you say. The US has no right to inflict its values on the rest of the world.

      Sort out your own issues first (gun violence, lack of effective government, obesity, poor education, ignorance, Sarah Palin, etc.) and stop invading other countries to protect your oil interests.

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  • bittergaymark September 7, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Oh, maybe I am just weary with people constantly exploiting the tragedy.

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    • va-in-ny September 8, 2011, 11:19 am

      Everyone is entitled to feel the way they feel and excuses shouldn’t have to be made for it. That said, I just don’t this was the appropriate medium for your argument.

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      • _jsw_ September 8, 2011, 11:35 am

        I lost a couple of good friends and a few acquaintances that day. I think that anger over the fact that their deaths were used to justify the deaths of others, the invasion of our privacy, the abuse of human rights, the enrichment of select businesses, and the promotion of terrorist groups by the severity of our actions… I think that anger is justified. Their deaths were used by the powers that be to entrench themselves. I think that’s despicable.

      • _jsw_ September 8, 2011, 11:36 am

        To be clear, though… none of this affects my sadness over what happened that day. It’s not diminished or replaced by thoughts of what happened after.

      • amber September 9, 2011, 9:17 am

        while i don’t agree with how the u.s. reacted after the attacks i don’t think this post was about what happened after. this post is about the families who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones. it was not the time or place for a political debate. story corp is trying to help the families (i’m sure there are some who won’t want to be involved, everyone finds their own outlets for grief and this kind of recording may not be theirs) that want to remember their loved ones, just like they do for other people not involved in these events who want to tell their loved ones stories.

        while i agree that many people exploit this tragedy i don’t see story corp as one of those groups. all the victims of 9/11 have their deaths grieved in a different way from others. i can’t imagine trying to grieve something that is made so public. i’m sure some families will love the idea of creating a story like this like i said before, it’s how they grieve. remembering their loved ones and telling their story.they should be allowed to without the political aspects of that day getting brought in to it. they didn’t decide to start this war and neither did their loved ones who died that day. and while their is a lot of anger about what happened after i just don’t think that was what this post was about. it was about letting families grieve. which like i said before they should be allowed to without being told that they’re revisiting it all and fueling the fire for the war that bush started.

      • lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 9:39 am

        Thank you, amber.

  • SGMcG September 7, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Wendy!

    StoryCorps also did a recording with the parents of a guy I knew in college. Paul was the General Manager of the college radio station where I used to DJ. He was a really dynamic, smart guy who had the most awesome smile:

    Paul was only 22 when he died and he was on the 100th floor of one of the towers. Paul’s brother recently told his story to WNYC Radio Rookies. It was wonderful not only to hear Paul’s radio voice again, but also to discover that his brother is continuing the tradition of keeping it LIT:

    I know a lot of people banter on about the politics surrounding that day, the construction of the memorials, the geography of the site in general, but to me, September 11, 2001 will always be forever tied with the end of a life of a genuinely nice guy. I always think of Paul, and he is really missed by those who knew him. And whenever someone mentions that they don’t have any connection to what happened that day, I tell them what I know about Paul – because then they’ll at least know one person.

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  • donkey September 9, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Mainer, you did a very good job at being self-righteously offended on behalf of other people. Pat yourself on the back.

    I don’t really think I need to demonstrate evidence of your stupidity, because Dubya did not demonstrate evidence of WMDs in Iraq. He was like you “sticking to his guns”.

    I don’t have a statistic but the works of satire on American stupidity must have ramped up exponentially after Dubya took office.

    You probably watch “Team America World Police” like a documentary. Fucking moron.

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  • donkey September 9, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Hey Mainer,

    I hope you are hiding under your mattress this weekend. Evil terrorists are coming to getcha. “U.S. officials chase ‘specific, credible’ Al Qaeda bomb plot in N.Y., Washington”

    Unidentified source, unidentified target, unidentified people, unidentified means.
    But it was a breaking news story regardless, as half-retard WolF Blitzer on CNN took to the airwaves to expound on the rumor for nearly 2 hours.

    Hide like rats in your own country. More eloquent people might call it Orwellian.

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