September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, my son, Erik Silvestri, drove me to Logan International Airport in Boston. I was going to fly to California to join my husband who was on a business trip. As Erik helped me with my bags, we were unaware that two other planes, also bound for California, had already been hijacked from Logan. Shortly after those flights were diverted from their planned routes, my American Airlines plane was idling on the tarmac. All passengers were aboard and waiting to take off when the pilot announced there would be a delay. Then came his startling announcement that all flights across the nation had been grounded.
Security then was quite different. In fact, just before the door of my plane closed, my son walked through security without a boarding pass, proceeded to the gate, and was permitted to walk right up to the door of the plane so that he could hand to the flight attendant my leather jacket which I mistakenly left behind. Erik is shown in this Associated Press photo as he frantically tried to call Avon Middle-High School where two more of my children were at that moment watching CNN. My six children all knew I was going to California from Logan but, with the exception of Erik, they did not know what flight I was on. It took two hours to let them know that my plane had never taken off. When my youngest two saw me at last, they burst into tears and rushed to hug me.
My son Adam, then 14 years old, later told me, "When I saw the towers falling, and I thought you might have been on one of the planes, I felt cold all over. I was sick in my stomach. I felt true fear. For the first time in my life, I felt terror." My daughter Heather replied, "Why do you think they call these people terrorists?"
You are invited to read My Own Story: September 11, 2001. My account is part of the September 11 Digital Archive housed by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This link will take you to my story. From that page, you will be able to read or search through several thousand accounts or submit your own story.
My "Liberty Rising" series in rememberance of September 11, 2001 is now online. I created these images to emphasize the resilience of the American spirit and the triumph of freedom over terrorism. These graphics are free to anyone who would like to use them on their websites or in email. No link backs or credits are required. There are 25 images. Here is one example.
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