#316 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I must begin by saying that I am now a Nursing student at the ripe age of 47. These thoughts were captured for my personal portfolio, something that each of us as Nursing students must do. In addition to that, I am also a firefighter and paramedic. My husband was scheduled to fly to New York from Chicago on the morning of 9/11/01 to accept an award at a convention that was to be held at the Jacob Javitz Center (which of course, never took place).

Journaling entry dated 9/11/01

I walked into the room knowing that caring for this patient would be a challenge, since I had never cared for a patient that was obviously at the end of her life. I thought to myself, “the best way to handle this is to assume that she will live, and treat her as if she was awake and one of your family members”.
It helped, and I began my day at clinicals as I always do, asking for assistance from G-d and praying to give help to those who need it. I proceeded to take vitals, check lung sounds and do a quick head to toe assessment. I was told later that this patient was a possible nursing home abuse case, and for a brief moment I thought, “Nursing home? How could someone purposely hurt a person who can not protect herself?”
I decided then and there that this patient would receive the best care possible, if I had to sit with her all day long and hold her hand, then that would be the way I would try and make up for the pain and anguish someone else had given her.
I began her AM personal care, and the shift before me had left the TV on for what I assume was some sort of link with reality. I had my back to the set, bathing her face as gently as I could when I heard, “Special Report”. I thought to myself, “oh now what!” My husband was flying that morning to New York to accept an award for a merchandising display that was well deserved. I turned around and saw what very clearly looked to me to be the outline of a plane in the side of the World Trade Center in New York. The announcer was explaining what had taken place, which the thought at that time was that there must have been something mechanically wrong with the airliner to fly into the building. As I am listening to his explanation, I see out of the corner of my eye another airliner rapidly approaching the other tower. For a split second, I thought this must be a replay of the impact that had just happened. Suddenly, the airliner hits the building and burst into flames. At that moment, I suddenly realized that this was no accident, this was purposeful.
I felt a strong urge to scream, then cry. I also felt that at that very moment that I needed to protect this patient, keep her safe and unaware of what had just taken place. Other nurses from the floor were now coming into the room when they heard the TV on and were discussing what was taking place.
I ended my patient’s bathing and took a walk outside the room so that I could gather my thoughts. My first thought was that my husband was supposed to be on a flight to NY. It had been announced that the airliners had been hijacked, and I began to panic. I called my husband’s office and three phone calls later, I learned that my husband’s flight had never left the ground from Chicago.
From that moment on for the rest of the clinical day, I spent as much time with my patient as I could, never leaving her room unless absolutely necessary. I held her hand, stroked her hair and explained to her what had happened in New York, how it impacted my life and how everything in the world now seemed so sad. I talked to her about how much she must have seen in her life, and how I wished she could tell me about it. I told her how I was a firefighter and an EMT, and that my first inclination was to go to New York and help. But I also let her know that I was proud to be with her, glad that she was my patient. I thanked her for allowing me to take care of her, and I also promised her that no one would ever hurt her again.
I write this recollection so that what I felt that day for not only my patient, but for the world, will never be lost. At the same time, not a day goes by that I do not think of her, hope that perhaps she improved and went to another place where she is safe. And if her life did end, I can only hope that I made her transition a bit easier, and that she knows that someone cared for her very much.

Jenna | 47 | Illinois

#146 | Sunday, September 23rd 2001
I was at work at the DMV when a customer came in and said a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. She didn't specify where and I immediately thought of my sister who works at the World Trade Center here in New Orleans. I tried to call her office but the phone just rang which is unusal as there is always an answering service on when no one is there. I went into our break room and turned on the little t.v. in there in time to see the second plane hit the New York Trade Centers. I was shocked and immediately told my co-worker that it had to be terriosts. When it was announced that it was hijacked planes I cried. I didn't know anyone there but I've cried and been angry and prayed a million times over. I hope that whoever did this pays with there lives too! I pray for all the people who lost loved ones and the children left without parents. If they ever put up another building there I hope that they will have a statue made of the firemen trying to put the flag back up in the middle of all the debris. I am proud to be American and I will still fly in planes and will not live in fear. My sister was sent home to safety that day. My heart and prayers go out to all of those whose families and friends did not.
Rachel | 47 | Louisiana

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