Opinion | 9/11 Reflections: ‘The Tears Still Come’

Donald Shifrin
Mercer Island, Wash.

To the Editor:

I was ready for my morning walk across Santa Monica Canyon when a friend called. My husband and I stood transfixed in front of our television as smoke poured from a gaping hole in the north tower. As we watched confused, the south tower was hit. It dawned on us: This was a coordinated attack on the United States. We stood stunned, unable to move, as the savagery of this relentless day unfolded.

For months, as I looked up at Los Angeles’s cloudless cerulean sky, it was impossible not to replay the unimaginable horror of that day in Manhattan. Now, as I drove up Wilshire or Sunset, I was haunted by visions of the surrounding buildings pancaking — floor by floor — to the ground.

The terror was omnipresent — a free-floating, below the surface, simmering panic. And the loss was profound, paralyzing. Not only did we lose so many unsuspecting, innocent people, we lost our collective naïveté — the belief that we were untouchable.

I am a New Yorker. I had been living and working in L.A. for almost 30 years. After 9/11, it was time to go home. I needed to be with my family. My feeling: If New York was going down, I was going down with it.

We have been back for almost 20 years.

Annette Chandler
Sag Harbor, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I remember watching TV that morning as I was getting ready for work in California. When the first tower collapsed, I turned to my then-husband and said, “I think the world as we know it has just ended.”

Truly, nothing has been the same since, and I am so sad that this is the only world that our children have ever known.

Julie Sanchez
Orcutt, Calif.

To the Editor:

That terrible smell — that’s what springs to mind. On 9/11, my wife and I were driving from Boston to Washington, D.C., where I was scheduled to speak at a medical conference. All along the highway, we saw signs flashing: “Turn back! Major National Incident!”

Network time

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