American Lives: Recommended Reading on the Events of September 11, 2001

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I’ve had this book for about two years now. I found it at a used book sale. I almost passed it by, but was genuinely moved by the collection of personal stories complied by the staff of Newsday and the Tribune Company.   If you choose to pass on the book, I understand; it is not easy to keep returning to such a memory, but I strongly recommend you read the brief collection of thoughts below.

This is a mini-biography of some of the women and men who lost their lives on that day.  Some of what really moved me were the vignette titles.  You will understand even without reading the full stories:

  • Robert, there’s another plane coming
  • Dad, I gotta go. There’s smoke in here now
  • Take care of my kids
  • She still lives in his dreams
  • She opened up his world
  • A recovered ring completes a circle of life
  • He made every day a party
  • That day, she learned she was pregnant
  • After 20 years, they still held hands
  • A hero by any definition
  • He ignored his own order to flee
  • Firefighting was all he talked about
  • He dreamed of a school for autistic kids
  • She beat Hodgkin’s and eased others pains
  • Her family’s first college graduate
  • Death in a place of prayer
  • They knew what was important
  • She kept going back in
  • A rescuer who wouldn’t be stopped
  • A coach who brought out kid’s potential
  • Her husband watched her disappear
  • She tried to block the cockpit
  • The man who said “let’s roll”
  • He stayed to check on an elderly colleague
  • A cool army vet who helped others evacuate
  • He saved his wife, but not himself
  • A son is born as a father is mourned
  • and probably 200 more headings and stories

The five sections are to the point:

Little Brother, You’re MVP in our hearts, and as sub-sections includes
1. last phone calls
2. love stories
3. FDNY and
4. lost promises

The first into heaven 
5. they died together
6. rescuers
7. mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers
8. on the planes

A Husband is Missing No More 
9. High Finance
10. New Americans
11. In the Pentagon

A Man of Unusual Disposition 
12. free spirits
13. tower people
14. legacies

The List of the Lost

  • World Trade Center Occupants
  • Pentagon
  • Emergency/Rescue Personnel
  • American Airline Flight #11 -WTC North Tower
  • United Airliners Flight #175 – WTC South Tower
  • American Airlines Flight # 77 – Pentagon
  • United Airlines Flight #93 – Pennsylvania

I was with a major hotel company on that day. My team and I were delivering a workshop out of state, and the total closure of all airports, some roads, and many government and business centers was an eerie sensation. In the years since that day, whenever I interact with groups and others on September 11, I make sure we take a moment of silence to remember and reflect.

Originally published on Thursday, 12 September 2013

John Hogan

Dr. John Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO is a career business professional and educator who has held senior leadership with responsibility in several organizations involving operational, academic and entrepreneurial enterprise. He has demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor and is frequently invited to speak at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events. He also acts as an expert witness in both research and testimony in hospitality industry related cases.

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