The Walking and Breathing Memorials of 9/11

Downtown NYCToday is a joyous day. Not joyous in the exact definition of the word, but joyous because today is a day of memories. Mostly everyone with the ability to remember knows exactly where they were and what they were doing on September 11th, 2001. I am not different from the rest of you.

Like most stories, mine will most likely not be remarkable to you. But it was extremely noteworthy to me. The  sheer impact of what happened was shocking, but it were the emotions I felt rushing in that resonated with me over the past 10 years.

I was asleep when the first tower was hit and awoken by my college roommate immediately after (coincidentally, that roommate is Jeff Glassman, one of the founders of Fire Island Brewery). “Dude, a plane hit the World Trade Center” he exclaimed as he shook the sandman out of me. “What?” – confusion.

That was the first thought. I was certainly not prepared for the wave of emotions that was going to hit me that morning.

Freedom Tower from the Hudson

The Freedom Tower as Seen from the Hudson

I sat down to watch CNN where a reporter was broadcasting from the rooftop of a building in midtown with the North Tower (1 WTC) burning behind him. “What an awful accident”, I thought.

As I listened and watched, a pixelated speck slowly flew across the side of the screen. My brain didn’t even have an opportunity to comprehend what was happening before a fireball shot out of the top of South Tower (2 WTC).

And that’s when it happened. Accident? This was no accident. Confusion, anger, fear, hatred, compassion, and a flurry of other feelings swelled my thoughts. I immediately grabbed the phone and dialed home – what were the chances that my exploration prone parents decided to take a day off and visit the viewing deck at 2 WTC (non-existent, I hoped).

After a few hours of apprehension and nail biting, I connected with my immediate family members – their voices shaking as much as mine. The next days brought more feelings, mostly anger at the people responsible and compassion for the people affected.

I watched the newly appointed president address the Nation and as I yelled at a TV incapable of hearing me, I held back tears. Tears for all of those involved. I was lucky enough to not be directly affected by the tragedy that was Tuesday 9/11. But I still hurt, and at times, I’m still angry.

Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower Climbing to 1,000 Feet

Empty Sky Memorial

The Empty Sky Memorial in Liberty State Park Jersey City, NJ - Dedicated on 9/10/11

We’ve come a long way in ten years – airports are safer (although not safe enough), the new Freedom Tower has reached 1,000 feet in height (I personally see the effort of over 1,200 workers every week), and memorials across the country have been erected.

I want to leave you with a thought.

Like the buildings we build, memorials are brick and mortar. They are silent reminders of a past most of us will never forget. Embraced when seen, placed in unconsciousness when forgotten.

But stronger, more influential memorials exist – us. We are walking stories of what happened that history changing day and as long as we continue telling our stories to those willing to listen to us, no physical memorial will compare.

This is how the memory of 9/11 will stand the test of time.

I ask that you please share your story with your family, friends and colleagues. I certainly will continue to do so.

Here are links to a few pages which I found to be great reads over the past few days:

September 11, 2001 Timeline
Small choices, saved lives: Near misses of 9/11
Exploring Ground Zero, Ten Years Later

USS New York

The USS New York LPD-21 which was forged with steel from the North and South WTC towers (read more at

Ipswich Summer AleSince at the end of the day, this is a simple beer blog I can’t close without my delightful craft beer selection for the day. In honor to all of those that lost their lives and their families, I am celebrating their memory with an Ipswich Summer Ale: The Original American Ale by Mercury Brewing Company (@IpswichAleBrew). Cheers!

Do you have a story to share and what’s your craft beer selection for this day of memories?


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