Why I’ll Never Forget 9/11 And How It Impacted My Life

Everyone has a 9/11 story.  We can all say that after 9//11 life has never and will never be the same. And no matter where you were on that fateful day, you remember the moment you found out that the towers fell. 

I’ve partnered with the awe-inspiring film starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg titled 9/11, based on the original play The Elevator, that centers on the events of September 11, 2001, to tell you my own 9/11 story, why I’ll never forget 9/11 and how it impacted my life, and to offer you a #Remember911 giveaway!

I was the COO of a Miami-based company, located at the Cyber Park, in the Dominican Republic and I heard the news from one of my colleagues via MSN messenger. He told me to tune into the news online and I immediately felt shock and terror. I had been in New York in 1999 and I had been in awe of these massive towers, and to think they could collapse was never a thought that I had ever entertained.

Knowing that there were people inside the buildings and inside the planes that crashed into them was terrifying, disturbing, and sad. I was in disbelief that something like this could happen in real life and I prayed for a miracle.

I started trying to get in touch with my sister, who was visiting my aunt in Queens. She was supposed to fly out of JKF that day and all flights were cancelled. I was hooked to the computer and didn’t want to leave the office. Instead of doing what I had planned to do that day, I was refreshing the news page like a maniac, hoping for positive updates and it only seemed to get worse. 

A short while later, I received the phone call that my grandmother had passed away. Even thousands of miles away from ground zero, I mourned with those who lost loved ones that day. I took a bus to go to Santo Domingo and then a bus to go to Ocoa so I could be with my family. As I traveled that day, I noticed everyone was quiet and everyone’s faces were dark and gloomy, which was very uncommon among the people of my island. The shock and powerlessness about the World Trade Center was overwhelming.

You may be a bit surprised I’ll be watching the film 9/11, because it is rated R for language; however, it is based on a true story and chronicles the lives of five average, everyday people who find themselves trapped in an elevator during the events of 9/11 in the World Trade Center. I’ll cover my ears when needed.

I am excited about the giveaway because the #Remember911 Prize Pack contains the following cool items:

1 – 9/11 poster Hand Signed Autographed by star Charlie Sheen

1 – “Hope” Pendant with necklace

1 – Guide to Talking To Your Children About 9/11 thanks to Tuesday’s Children

And speaking of children, I started telling my children about 9/11 from a very early age, because besides the sense of despair that day brought, it actually impacted my life in an unusual way. 

Just a few months before 9/11, I had gotten married to their biological father at a Dominican beach. The plan (or so I thought) was that he would transfer from Camp Pendleton to the Santo Domingo Embassy and move into my condo. I’d finish college before having kids (since I had only a few classes left), and I’d continue to be an executive at IVM Telecom, which provided great benefits and an amazing income. We’d live in the Dominican Republic “happily ever after.” Famous last words.

The day after 9/11, I was on the phone with my then long-distance husband, finding out that no USMC soldiers would be able to transfer and that, instead, they would probably need to be deployed. Deployed? That was a new word for me and one that meant that I had a tough decision to make.

I was so torn! I loved traveling to the US but I never thought of moving there. I felt like I was finally in the place I wanted to be in my life and I had worked so hard to finally live my dreams. I didn’t want to leave it all behind. Well, I ended up moving to California “to make my marriage work” with the little belongings I could fit in a carry-on suitcase on December 13, 2001, just 3 days before my birthday. It was such an emotional time for me and almost 16 years later, I still struggle with being homesick and wondering “what if I would have chosen to stay? We’ll never know … What I do know is that my daughters are worth the journey and we are all happy that we have this 9/11 beginning. 

Shortly after the girls and I moved to Texas, I was a consultant for Maureen Santora, author of “The Day The Towers Fell” and “My Son Christopher,” and helped her with some web design, PR, and marketing strategy. She lost her only son, Christopher Santora, who followed in the foot­steps of his Fire­fight­er father, was a mem­ber of En­gine 54/Lad­der 4 for only 2 months be­fore he lost his life tragically as a respondent on September 11.

“I will never recover from this. Part of me died that day when he died,” she said, as we all chatted about the significance of 9/11 and my then 8 and 9 year olds learned about how the towers fell and how it impacted others around the globe. Personal stories are always so powerful!

I am excited to learn from the personal stories depicted on the 9/11 film, which is now in theaters. 9/11 features an all star cast including my friend Luis Guzman (The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (X-Men).

In the World Trade Center, a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses his 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a tenant with his lock. In an upper east side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded World Trade Center elevator.

Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later … their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.

With no understanding of what has happened and is happening around them, these fives are forced to band together and fight against all odds to escape from the impending horrific collapse. During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith, and the will to live unfolds.

When tragedy, adversity, and loss happen, forgetting may seem like the easiest path, but as we remember those defining stories that marked our lives forever, we can find meaning, we can feel gratitude, and we can find a deeper sense of compassion within.

What’s your 9//11 story? I look forward to hearing from you! COMMENT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! If you want more information, you can viisit https://www.911movie.film! 

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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38 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Forget 9/11 And How It Impacted My Life

  1. Your children are definitely worth the journey! I was not in the US yet when it happened and don’t have the story attached to it….All i rememebr is that the world stopped when it happened.I was in school, the classes were suspended and everyone was glued to the news.

  2. Thank you for reminding us about his tragic event. I have watched a bunch of films related to this event. and its always makes me cry. I hope relatives have already healed their wounds so we can all move on.

  3. I was in third grade at school when it happened. I remember being so scared and really weirded out how there was no airplanes flying in the sky.

  4. 9-11 is a day no one will forget and it is good that you have told your daughters about it. We all need to keep the memories alive and pass them on to our children. I hadn’t known about this new movie, I will have to look into it.

  5. I still remember everything from that day. The horror. The disbelief. I had to fight the urge to pick my kids up from daycare and never leave the house again. And I remember the eerie silence when all the planes stopped flying. I am definitely going to check out this movie.

  6. I was at my friends restaurant when it came across the radio. She was meeting me and hadn’t arrived. When I could no longer take the thoughts in my head I left to search for something but I am unsure what. Maybe for someone to tell me it was a prank or a movie script. I felt sad for a long time. For the people that lost their lives, for the families of those lost ones. Anxiety set in as I realized we are not safe here in our own country. I was very naive before that day.

  7. I was working on a political campaign and went into the office. The tears and fear was so overwhelming. We talked for a long time with the candidate since he had a speech scheduled in a few days and we wanted to learn his feelings. It’s a day of sadness for us all.

  8. I remember where I was it happened, I was in 6th grade English class. It was my first hour class and they put on TV and was confused on what was going on. I didn’t find out what happened until I got home.

  9. I’ll never forget 9/11… I couldn’t hold my tears for days. One of my best friends almost died, he left the building about10 minutes before it happened.

  10. Who would ever forget that day that changed the way we look at life? That everything can be gone in an instant. My daughter lost 2 good friends on that day. They were in one of those planes that crashed into the tower of the World Trade Center.

  11. Every year, I share a post in remembrance of all who lost their lives on that tragic day. It stays with me and I make sure to light candles and say prayers for the families left behind… we will never forget.

  12. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in high school and I knew about wars and it just seemed like something other countries did and we went over there and fought on other countries land. It really puts it into perspective when its on your soil. It is sad all the way around

  13. I’ll never forget 9/11, I cried myself sick when it happened. It was also my step dads Birthday and that kind of made that day a bitter sweet one. We got to celebrate his Birthday when he was alive but it was such a tragic time.

  14. Not knowing exactly what the future held, my husband said our vows that day instead of waiting four more days for the actually wedding. I will never forget my exact moment and everything that day had to offer and everything I felt. Tears come to my eyes as I remember be also love come to my heart. I was going to write a September 11 post, but I couldn’t do, my journal has my tears and it was our 16th anniversary.

  15. I enjoyed this read. You’re 100% correct in saying everyone remembers where they were on that fateful day. I remember waking up for school and my parents were glued to the tv. Then I went to school and we had the tv on in the background the entire day. And this was in New Zealand. So far away from NZ and yet we were still impacted. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I’m always worried about these based on true story films, especially on subjects as touchy as 9/11, but it looks like it’s good enough to give it a shot.

    And yeah, I remember too. I was asleep in the dorm, waking up to a bunch of shouting of “Holy F***!” over and over again.

  17. I loved reading your story. I remember very few details from that day, I was very young when it happened. I do remember talking with my grandmother who was a little girl when the attack on pearl harbor happened. She told us that although this is a terrible and tragic event, that our country and people are strong and we will recover. Her wisdom at that moment made all the difference for my family.

  18. Never forget. I will never forget how this changed m perspective on the word “trust.” It got me so paranoid around that time, thinking the person I am sitting beside on the bus could carry a bomb or something. Let us make the memories of the victims as a motivation to push for peace.

  19. Thanks for sharing your story. Very touching and thought-provoking. I was at my best friend’s house on that fateful day, having tea together, and chatting about our plans for the day. Her mother called suddenly and told my friend to turn on the news, and we held each other as we watched the horror unfold.

  20. Thank you for sharing a brave story. It was and never will be easy for the world to remember that moment, but let’s remember to always find strength with each other.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s a day no one will ever forget. I remember the classroom I was in, I remember everyone’s faces when we were watching the TV. I remember the panic, I remember the fear, sadness, and hopelessness. But I also remember how strong everyone became, the support, the love, and the empathy. I’ll never forget 9/11.

  22. 9/11 is a day no one could ever forget, it is something burned into our hearts and minds. I will also be watching the movie, i am looking forward to seeing it.

  23. As you said, it is difficult for anyone alive at 9/11 to forget where she was and what she was doing because of the terrible events that happened that day.
    I remember I was working as a marketing analyst for the 2nd larger Dominican TIC company, and we were at a meeting when one of my coworkers came into with the sad news. We moved to watch the TV and I called home to talk to my mom. I was very worried because of all the people involved and especially for my family, who were living in New York and working around that area.

  24. Yes, we will never forget 9/11 and the feelings we experienced that morning. I was a sports reporter for El Caribe newspaper in the Dominican Republic then, and although I usually didn’t start until the afternoon, I was in the newsroom early that morning. There were TVs in each section of the newsroom, so we watched in disbelief when the first plane hit the first tower, as the morning news was already on. When the second one happened, I remember being frightened thinking about my relatives and friends that lived in New York City. I didn’t move to the US until 2004, but that day it’s forever embedded in me. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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