Read To Remember

Photo prompt © CEAyr


“I read to remember,” she said, her voice steel and quiver. “I read because he no longer can and because I know he was, most very likely, reading at the very moment his life stopped, evaporated, in mid-word. I read because mine almost stopped in the loss of him and in the enormity of the awfulness that took him and so many.

“I read to not forget. Because there is a bigger spark in life than in sorrow, and because he never would have left us, and certainly not this way. If it weren’t for the planes.

That September day.”



Note: Dedicated to all the lost, and to all those who lost so much, and to all that has been changed — insidiously and indelibly for so many — on September 11, 2001. I was here. I remember and I understand why we remember and what we must remember about ourselves and about who we can be. May we hold truth. May we be the better, kinder, more humane version of ourselves.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers


50 thoughts on “Read To Remember

    • Thanks, M K. It was that kind of a day, and the images were very powerful – those that were directly seen and those that were quite powerfully understood. I’m gratified it some of it was communicated.


  1. Na’ama Y’karah,

    Stunning. You gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears.

    Our daughter in law narrowly escaped that day as she was on her way up to her office. Had she not been late that morning…I shudder when I remember. My brother worked in DC not far from the Pentagon. I will not forget.

    Again…beautifully written.

    Shalom and hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rochelle.
      A friend of mine was on her way to a meeting and was running late, too (so many of these stories). Had she been there on time, she may well not still be with us today.
      I also know some who did not make it home that night, and the clouds and smell of burning hung for days in the air, and stayed part of you. Perhaps quite literally.

      People did all they could to help each other. I was volunteering by the Javits Center the following day – where the wide sidewalk became impromptu respite space and staging area, and trucks and buses to and from Ground Zero left and brought with then a stream of first responders’ and volunteer welders and steel workers even as concerned New Yorkers walked over to bring packets of new dry socks and hot food and change of clothing and anything that became evident as needed for the first responders. Most of the latter just wanted to lie down on the sidewalk and rest their feet and close their eyes (and minds, perhaps) to the reality they just left and were soon to return to. They were almost too tired to eat and drink or change drenched socks or bandage blisters. We enticed them and tried to make sure they got at least some fluids in, till their break was over and they returned to Ground Zero. It was only the first day of many other things myself along with uncounted other New Yorkers did in the days and weeks and months that followed, helping in all manner of venues, therapeutic and supportive and otherwise. We will none of us forget.


    • Thank you. Iain. I know some who read and re-read books their loved ones had loved to read. Because it feels like a bridge. And so much of the death was so utterly sudden and complete, there was – and remains – a need to hold on to something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfectly penned for today, Na’ama.
    The world over was affected by the happenings that day, the repercussions felt by all. My husband’s painter lost his two sisters. It seems we all know someone who lost someone, or who narrowly escaped.
    We won’t forget, fear not.
    Hugs xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear Dale.
      I am not fearful that it will be forgotten, as I am mindful of how there is a whole generation who is growing up after 9/11 and may not even know a world before it. It makes me sad. It also makes me determined that we all remain aware of the choices we make each day – whether to be kind or not, whether to take the high road or not, whether to stand for truth or for distortion, whether to work for unity and humanity or for the divisiveness of fear and hate. The events of 9/11 changed many and changed many things. My hope is that the sacrifices – then and since – would not be in vain and would not be used to amplify pain but to help amplify sanity and unity. For we are all, one. No matter how some try to pretend we are not. We are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • How true.
        And yes. It is about us, our choices to be kind, to be loving, to care for our fellow man. I like to think that if we all do our little part, we will eventually overcome the ugly. I know, I am dreaming in Technicolor but it won’t stop me from doing my little bit of good.
        Lotsa love,

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think you are dreaming. I think that is the only path that makes sense.
        Hate, division, and indoctrination drove the events of 9/11, as they drive ALL terrorists and terror acts. Those can, alas, also become the forces that drive the reactions to terror … But they don’t have to be. Because if each of us hates less, divides less and is more aware of the realities and impact of indoctrination to ugliness under the guise of ‘right’, we can change the vector of where this is going. Here’s to doing our little bit of good. It adds up, and then it is not so little anymore. Also, for the person one does “a little bit of good” for, it is not little at all.
        So, there is is. Not a dream, but the path to follow. Here’s to kindness, love, and care for fellow humans and the world we live in!
        XOXO Na’ama


  3. So many lives changed that day – probably all of us. Our outlook on the world changed, and what we believe about it. The terrorists changed everything for almost 3,000 people. Such a sad day. It’s our generations Pearl Harbor wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and me both, James.
      It was a tragic day. It was also an inspiring day – and days and weeks and months that followed – in how people found ways to help each other and how the BEST in people was brought out, as well, in response to the WORST in people.
      Evil exists. So does goodness. I believe there is a whole lot more of the latter, though the former makes more noise and can appear to be the stronger. It is not. When it does rise, it is only temporarily, and we are not helpless to overcome it.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      May less evil be there and more goodness prevail.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully said, Na’ ama. The only thing I would change is that it wasn’t because of the planes. It was because of the deliberate, meticulous planning and execution of those who flew the planes, as well as the people behind them and supporting them. Airplanes don’t commit murder. People do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, and I agree conceptually that it wasn’t “because” of the planes, but it certainly was “via” the planes. For many of the families, some of whom I know personally – the reality that the planes became the weapon in the hands of the terrorists does not make the terrorists less responsible, nor does it change the fact that the planes themselves became the markers of before/after for those who one moment had a family member, and the next did not, as a plane full of fuel, piloted by hate, exploded and incinerated their loved ones and all on the planes (or caused the fires and structural damage that led to the buildings to crumble over their loved one as they fled). Airplanes don’t need to ‘commit’ murder to become a weapon of murder, which is why there have since been security measures (some more reasonable than others but generally agreed to be needed) put in place in order to try and prevent more planes from being used as weapons.
      For the 9/11 families, the planes flying into the WTC and the pentagon, or smashing down into the field in PA, are part of the trauma of that day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You stated that very well, and I understand. The planes were weaponized, and as such became part of the nightmare. For me, part of “never forget” is to be wise and wary of our enemies–those who use inanimate objects to cause great harm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Am glad I was able to clarify my meaning. Yes, not forgetting also means remaining aware of danger even while we also keep aware of not falling into traps of overgeneralizing who ‘the enemy’ is or how hate is expressed and what is weaponized in its service. For we also know that hate can be weaponized by any radicalized group, and that violence all too often rides along and is ‘justified’ as part of it.
        May we, indeed, “never forget” – the price of hate as well as the realities of amazing strength that comes from joining together in empathy across and in spite and even in celebration of differences, in order to offer healing. We have seen that, too, after 9/11, and it was that which I find to be the more meaningful. Terror wishes to disrupt, and it is relatively easy to disrupt and harm and destroy and fan flames of anger and hate and ‘otherness’. It lets terror win if we do that. But the outpouring of compassion and kindness and helping each other that I saw in NYC (and I’m sure was also across the US), after the 9/11 attacks, became a stronger force by far than the ugliness of zealots. I won’t forget that, either.

        Liked by 1 person

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