It’s 9/12, now what?

A magical thing happened yesterday. As I saw it, human glue officially became stronger than human hate.

I wrote what I thought was a good post titled “Where were you on 9/11?” and instantly the comments shined brighter than the post itself. It stopped becoming my post and became our post. The response was global. Comments came from Australia. Bolivia. Poland. Romania.Germany. Montana. South Africa. Alaska. Spain. Someone said they were on the rocket launchpad at Cape Canaveral, FL. And someone wrote one sentence: “i was in new york in the twin towers…” (sic). And on and on.

I kept a pretty cool head while skimming the 500 plus published comments so far (I promise I will read them all). I kept my cool. Except two times. 1) When my brother (at left) shared his thoughts and 2) when my beautiful niece (right) shared hers. For those who didn’t read my original post, my brother is a fireman 19 miles outside of New York City and worked at Ground Zero. Grab a tissue and read what he had to say. Do an Edit > Find: Matthew LaMonica on yesterday’s post.

While the post was popular, I refuse to take a victory lap on the 9/11 issue. It’s not that kind of occasion.

There was one thing that left me uneasy–maybe more uneasy than I’ve ever been about this whole thing. On October 11, 2001, I welcomed my incredible baby boy into this newly changed world just 30 days after this all happened. Initial reports are good and he recently won “friendliest camper of the summer” award.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women in our armed forces who let me safely tuck my son in at night. And especially those who never made it back alive. I’m usually a funnier guy than all this, but this is tough stuff. We can pull each other’s finger, yuk it up and have a good laugh together sometime soon.

For now I hope that anyone who read the 9/11 post from yesterday (or this one) will tell a friend and continue to share their memories.  Because I will guarantee you, you all knew where were that day. You all have unique story to share.

Where were you on 9/11?  And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? Peace be with you all. ~Mike

In case you missed the original post and comments, you can view it here:



21 thoughts on “It’s 9/12, now what?

  1. Like so many, I thank you for posting your thoughts (even though they are better than both my posts on this). This is YOUR blog and I’m so happy you took the time to share such your touching and poignant story.

    Spread the good word. And thank you for keeping the spotlight burning.


  2. Hi Mike … you are absolutely right, we all remember exactly where we were that day.

    I was in Spain. Segovia, to be specific, having just toured the castle where Isabella and Ferdinand may have discussed their plans to send Columbus over to the New World. Imagine the irony. This was, in a way, where America “started.”

    I was having lunch in a restaurant that, of all things, had a TV. You see, old Segovia is a medieval city, looming high above on a cliff, with few modern roads and no modern buildings. We were eating among stone streets and gothic cloisters.

    I remember the exact second I looked up from my plate and asked “is that for real?” I went up closer. There was an American sitting at the bar and he said “yes, the twin towers are being attacked.”

    The sinking feeling I had in my body is something I’ll never forget. It’s like someone had punched me. I started to shake. My knees wobbled. I stopped eating and downed the wine. Thank God my friend was there, because reality became quite distorted. We wandered aimlessly, me with a glazed look in my eyes, through Segovia, waiting for the streets to wake up again after siesta time. (Entire Spanish towns close down for two hours in the afternoon.) I handed my wallet over to her so we could buy a phone card and I could call the US. I asked her to dial my parent’s phone number because I was having a hard time remembering anything, that’s how bad my sense of panic was. Of course, lines were busy.

    As we walked back to the car to drive back to Madrid, we passed under the famous landmark Roman aqueduct. I thought: “how many bloody, horrible battles have been fought here, and these ruins are still standing, and yet now, in modernity, the mighty twin towers are falling, foreshadowing more war.”

    It may sound crazy, but that thought gave me some small comfort. This was humanity rearing its ugly head. And yet, like the buildings that still stood around me, not all has to be ruin. Not all has to crumble, people rise and are resilient.

    But I felt like I was crumbling inside, because the fabric of what it meant to be American was unraveling at that specific moment in time. It was confusing. It was personal. It was something I may have taken for granted and now felt it even more keenly because I was abroad, far from “home.”

    As soon as I was able, I called not only my family, but many friends I cared about, some of whom lived in New York and surrounding areas. Thankfully, my loved ones were ok.

    It took two weeks for me to be able to fly back to the states. In the meantime, I seized life as much as I could, knowing that things would never be the same. And of course, they never were. Not for me, not for any of us, not for the world.

    Thanks Mike for giving everyone a chance to post “our” story. This is an amazing blog thread.

  3. Great follow-up piece. We would be remiss to not reach out and thank local law enforcement and fire departments as well as all members of our military. When 9/11 occurred many of our soldiers were only maybe 10 to 12 years old! It’s amazing that they would take risks to keep my family protected. So thank you to any of you reading this.

    I would love to see a piece from you about how to discuss 9/11 with our children, particularly since you, like me, have a child born that year. I also have a younger child. At what age do experts suggest explaining the full story, and how best should we do this? I don’t want my children to experience the terror that so many felt that day, but feel at some point they should undertand what occurred. Thank you!

    And thanks for your support of my blog,
    Peace to you!

    1. Dear Lori-

      I am not qualified on how to counsel children on this issue other than to be honest.

      I am, however, qualified to write on how to keep your children off of drugs as I was a writer for The Partnership For a Drug Free America for about five years. I wrote the first series of ads aimed at 6-9 year olds. It took two years of research. And now I have about 12 books written, but don’t know what to do with them. You can see one of them here:

      Back to 9/11. I spoke to my son at length about it. I take it back. Actually I asked him a question about it and he just went on and on. I just sat there and listened. I think we are given two ears and one mouth for a reason. I will tell you how he knew so much shortly. My best to you my new friend!


  4. Are there two Montanas? 😉

    I like your follow up. I know it’s more complex than this, because some people thought that maybe their loved ones were alive in hospitals and looked for days, but on some level, I suppose every person that lost a friend or family member asked the question, “It’s September 12, now what?”

    Would like to mention the names of seven people that died in the towers on September 11, whose family members I interviewed. I heard so many wonderful stories about each and every one of these people:

    In alphabetical order:

    Arlene Babakitis, Tower One, Port Authority of NY/Jersey
    Tommy Casoria, Engine 22, Tower One (NYPD firefighter)
    Simon Dedvukaj, Tower One, ABM Industries
    Keithroy Maynard, Engine 33 (NYPD firefighter)
    Steven Morello, Tower One, Marsh & McLennan
    Carol Rabalais, Tower Two, AON Corporation
    Dave Wiswall, Tower Two, AON Corporation

    1. I feel honored that you mentioned those seven people here on my blog. If you read my original post, I lost a friend. I did not mention his name out of respect for his family. But I did tape his name being read during the 9/11 ceremony. We all have our ways of dealing with this and remembering this. And we’re all right. Thank you again.


  5. When I hear the stories from the New Yorkers who don’t have the luxury of not looking at the new, mutilated skyline, I feel like a chump for never wanting to go there again to see it. I still don’t know if I’ll ever be able to visit the city. I keep remembering watching it all on TV and getting this jab in the base of my neck while I was watching when it hit me — where’s the other tower? There’s supposed to be two of them, where’s the other one? 😦

    There’s an opera going to be playing there in 2011 that I want to go to. If I can force myself to go, it’s going to be a strange, strange trip.

    1. I worked in NYC for 10 years and have been back to see the sight. Please go see your opera in 2011. Or better yet, make a trip prior. That’s your personal call. Whatever you decide, I must thank you for speaking here on my blog on this.


      1. I’ll see how I feel about it then. I just have a feeling that the second I stop into a Starbucks for a coffee, some waitress is going to ask me how I am, and I’m going to burst into tears.

        Thanks for your posts.

  6. Mike, I NEVER subscribe to people’s blogs. Most of the times they are full of bull. I was so touched by yours, Mike. There is a reason why I did, though and a lot of it has to do with your brother. How may I email you privately? I don’t want the world seeing what I want to ask you. I will never forget that day. I have 4 grown sons, and I thank all the service men everywhere for making this Country a saver place for all of us. God bless you all. May the Lord keep you in His arms.

  7. Oh, and one last thing. I began my 9/11 with a false fire alarm at 1230AM, Saturday. When the firemen were ready to leave, I thanked them for their efforts and reminded them that they had arrived at our building one half hour into 9/11.

    1. Wow Keith. Wow. As always, thanks for reading. And thanks for your comment. I am going to do my best to reply to the almost 500 comments on the post. But as you know it’s only me. There’s a small WordPress meet up in Miami Wednesday if you are interested. Best.


  8. Back to the important stuff, season’s first Sunday of NFL, and fantasy. And the MLB. Oy gevalt, my Red Sox.

    Your 9/11 post wqas the first time I had the opportunity to write down my thoughts and experiences from that horrific day.

    Thanks. Have a great week.

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