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The 20th Anniversary of 9/11

With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 right around the corner, I thought I would share some of the 9/11 reads I found interesting and helped me better understand what happened that day. 9/11 is a day that we all remember where we were, who we were with, and what we were doing.

My daughter had just started kindergarten and I had taken the week off which was a blessing as I worked in Midtown Manhattan at the time. I was home when the news came on that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was that the pilot must have had a heart attack as its impossible to hit the Towers. As I continued to watch the news, I watched in horror as the second plane hit Tower 1. The next few hours opened my eyes to an evil that I did not know existed. I sat there and cried as I watched 2,996 innocent people die on national television.

These are books that I have read to try and better understand what I witnessed that day.

Author: Garrett M. Graff

This is the complete story of the moments before, during, and after the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and Shanksville. The author drew on transcripts of interviews as well as recollections of first responders, politicians, and survivors as well as others. I read this on my tablet but I do know there is an audio version but I could not bring myself to listen to it as I know I would cry my eyes out.

Author: Dennis Smith

The author is a former New York City firefighter who raced to Downtown Manhattan when the attack occurred. He details his time at Ground Zero and the efforts put in to save as many victims as possible. He also shares stories of other heroes who gave their lives while trying to save others. Smith helps the reader understand all that was lost that day and how the families of first responders were affected by those losses.

Author: Mitchell Zuckoff

This book gives a minute-by-minute account of 9/11 from all sides. Zuckoff wrote for The Boston Globe in the days after 9/11 getting to know the stories of the victims, the survivors, and the families. He tells the detailed stories of those who refused to allow terrorists to hit their target in Washington D.C. and instead decided to fight back. Also told are the stories of those who called home for the last time and left messages of love. While the book is lengthy and heartbreaking, it is worth every moment it takes to read.

Author: Jim DeFede

This was the most heartwarming 9/11 story I have read. When it became evident that planes had been highjacked and were being weaponized, all flights were made to land...regardless of where they were. Thirty-eight planes landed in Gander, New Foundland unsure of what was happening and what to expect. During the four days that passengers were welcomed into people's homes to shower and sleep. They were treated with care and empathy in ways that help them deal with the trauma of what the world had experienced.

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