The Twelfth 

World Trade Center

“Mommy, why are there so many police everywhere?”

I looked around. She was right. They stood on every street corner it seemed, decked out in bulky bullet proof vests. New York City, more than any other city in the world that I have visited, possesses a very visible police force. No longer simply protecting us from each other, they stood ready to protect us from them.

Did it make me feel safer? 

Yes. Yes it did.

I grabbed my daughter’s hand as we crossed the street with the crowd of other people. The Empire State Building rose up in the distance. 

“Are you going to take your kids to the 9/11 museum?”

They are six and seven.

“No. They aren’t ready for that yet.”

I’m not ready for that yet.

I dropped my purse and camera into a bin and wiggled out of my jacket, sending it and my ball cap through the scanner then stepped through the metal detector. The security guard nodded silently. We were free to move on to the next staging area. 

“Mom, why is it that everywhere we go here is like the airport?” my son asked.

In truth this was the forth scanner we had walked through on this trip. Long lines made longer by strict security. Stress. My kids felt it. So did I.

“Some years ago there was an attack on two tall buildings here in New York. They collapsed and thousands of people died. There are people who hate Americans and want to hurt them so the police and all of the security measures are trying to prevent something from happening like that again.”

Watching the towers collapse over and over again on the news feed at the clinic between patients, the world shifted. It wasn’t until the next day, as the dust was settling, that it became apparent just how much it had shifted. 

My kids seemed to take in the information and I braced myself for more questions, for fear, or even tears from my daughter, but there was nothing. 


This is their world. They don’t know what it was like before 9/11, a world where simply being American carried with it a certain degree of power and respect. They didn’t feel that shift. They will only know a September 12th world, a world where they are targets. 


82 thoughts on “The Twelfth 

  1. It is being normalized now, but it will change as things settle. There is so much angst because there are a lot of people who have nothing to lose. Spread the wealth around a little better and there’ll be more peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful words. We are in a time of huge (negative) change at present. I’m still not used to it. I feel a dark cloud overhead. But some days I know how fortunate many of us in the US still are and I feel grateful as well as undeserving.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember that day and watching it as it happened on T.V. It was as though I was watching just a show because it was so surreal. It took a bit for it to sink in that it was indeed real. Then the tears..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes (often, actually) I think these security measures are taken to an illogical extreme. It’s been 16 years and the city is filled with a kind-of paranoia. And I feel I can speak with some authority here. Our apartment was about a mile away from the Trade Center, so I understand where this feeling comes from. But I miss the free and easy days. I’m not naive enough to think those will ever return in total, but we’ve taken it to an illogical extreme. Especially at the airports. It’s maddening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unfortunately it isn’t only Americans that they hate, it is the whole Western world, democracy, Christianity and their own brothers and families. It is the Devil incarnate who is making us all frightened of each other and some of our leaders, all over the world, have given us permission to join them in hating our brothers and sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Our children lost their innocence, over and over. For mine, it was the shooting at Columbine, and it just got/gets worse. I haven’t flown in quite a while, I think I’ll be shocked when I do. And those visible security folks in NY? We were there in 2003, and there were also soldiers in camouflage fatigues…everywhere. It made me feel a bit more safe. Still…sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What I find amazing is how few Americans actually ask WHY ‘they’ hate us so much? A close look back over the things the West has done in the past 100 years, some rather unsavory, helps create some understanding. It may be too late to change history, but what can we do going forward?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I think the crazy security has eased a bit, but it will never be the same. But it’s not just the demons from without…I lived here in NYC through the crack epidemic, just like much of the country is living through opioids right now. Much more destructive to the heart and soul. And, as someone mentioned, Columbine and what has come after—I’m much more afraid of crazy people with guns myself. The Ugly American has been around as a caricature in the world for a very long time. But we also inflict plenty of senseless damage on ourselves. More, I think, in the end. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Irma came to visit us on the evening of the 10th. When I stepped outside the next morning and assessed the snapped limbs and fallen giants that shaded our homes, I thought about the date and said to myself, Any day – I’ll take this any day – it’s nothing compared to the devastation of 9/11.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s undeniable that 9/11 is a day, which shocked the world.
    From Europe we watched that horrific scenes and felt impacted by that and united with our American friends more than ever.
    What we fail to understand is why some Americans don’t see the threat of their weapons policy. Americans are proud to be a first world democratic superpower, but seem to feel as unsafe as a citizen of countries which are at war zones.
    The statistics of murder by domestic use of weapons are shameless.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As someone British who grew up with terrorism I sympathise. Our shock came in about 1904 so we are well used to it. The bombing was the same. The perpetrators switched from the IRA to the Daesh in a beat. Same carnage different nutbars causing it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It makes for a very pragmatic nation. It may even be where the whole stiff upper lip thing comes from – don’t let the bastards see they’ve got to you. But I remember being afraid that an IRA gunman would kill my dad when I was little. The violence in Ireland was always presented as ‘a Catholic man has been shot and killed by masked gunmen when he answered the door in Belfast.’ Or it was ‘a protestant man’. What the papers and couldn’t say was that these people were killed by one paramilitary organisation because it thought they were in another.

        I guess it’s all swings and roundabouts – even with all that going on our gun deaths per 100k have always been way behind the USA. So to be honest it’s probably just what you’re used to as well. Not familiarity breeds contempt exactly but a kind of acceptance.

        I confess I get extremely nervous on US roads knowing that every third car had a gun in it and that if we have a bump and the other driver gets cross, rather than shouting at me, they could well pop a cap in me. Also the whole storage of guns thing … my soon would have accidentally killed himself at a friend’s house years ago if we lived in the US. So … The whole guns thing must seem perfectly normal to you folks because you live with it but to us outsiders visiting it is somewhat unnerving.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. The generation before can tell you where they were when Kennedy was shot….I can tell you exactly where I was on September 11th 2001 when I first saw the footage. I think that year was the hardest on the boy. First Dale Earnhardt died, then 9-11, and then his grandmother died. Ya….2001 sucked!

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  13. Such a chill at those words, “September 12 world.” So much immersed in those three words. I have a Twitter friend who was born in 2001 (and it still boggles my mind that children of that generation are poised to graduate this year) who only knows about 9/11 from what he’s been told. This came up when we were talking about the attacks in Manchester a few months ago, when I thought he lived near there, and I tried to express solidarity and understanding by saying how terrified I was on 9/11 living in PA, which is only about three hours from NY. It did more than age me. It made me realize that it’s one of those generational divides. There are those who lived through it and can remember exactly where they were, and there are those who’ve been told about it and the resulting world is their normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A telling piece and a sad one. However, it is he world that has grown sadder since 9/11,and this time is not unlike the 50’s as I remember them, with bomb shelters in back yards and grim slogans like “Life fast, die young and make a good looking corpse.” Thanks for sharing your daughter’s comments an d your thoughts, Tasha

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  16. I took my son to NYC the first time when he was 10. The museum wasn’t finished yet and I could not bring myself to take him to the site. I didn’t want to relive those memories of the fear that day.
    I just wanted to enjoy my dream trip to my dream city.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My daughter and her husband are visiting England and France over the holidays. I mentioned that they need to be careful while they are there, perhaps avoid bridge walking and staying away from huge crowded areas. My daughter said she is not afraid to die for what she believes in. That no terrorist are going to keep her from living her life as she feels fit. My heart still aches over that conversation. She is right, this is part of our world now, and to cower and run and hide is not an option, but still……my heart aches when one of my babies speaks about dying for a cause!! Kinda scary when the kids are so accepting of the “new world” we are living in. xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  18. And now any moron can steal a lorry and run over 100 people in the street like in Nice.
    And the only surviving killer of the November 13th killings in Paris is alive and well in a French cell.
    In isolation with 3 cells for himself, including an exercise cell and a private kitchen where he can cook his halal meals. It will soon be 2 years, and there is absolutely no sign of the trial starting any day soon…

    Liked by 1 person

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