Senior Scene for September 11, 2017

Sixteen years ago today, on September 11, 2001 I was living in Vancouver.  I always turned on the television to the news every morning while I got ready to go to work.  It was 5:46 a.m. Pacific time when the first plane hit the Twin Towers and I recall thinking it was an advertisement for a movie or something.  At 6:03 a.m. when the second plane hit I was just finishing my shower and when I glanced at the TV it finally registered that this was reality and not a trailer for a new movie.  I felt sick.  I went to work and turned on the television and continued to watch in a state of shock.  I wanted to immediately call my family and anyone else that I loved and cared about.  Life was not a “given” any longer.

As someone who has never experienced a World War or a Great Depression or the Vietnam War or even the Great Potato Famine, I had no concept of the fact that the potential to wound, harm, maim and kill lies within other human beings.  I was devastated and in shock.  As the years have passed, I developed a level of respect for my elders for what they have endured and survived.  Now if someone casually says “how are you today”, it is never a bland, off-hand response – it is “I am awesome – how about you?”  “I am blessed – yourself?”  The power of the positive is amazing.

Here is a look at the timelines of September 11, 2001:

  • 8:46 a.m. ET – American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the north tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City.
  • 9:03 a.m. ET – United Airlines Flight 175 strikes the south tower of the WTC in New York City.
  • 9:37 a.m. ET – American Airlines Flight 77 strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington.
  • 9:59 a.m. ET – South tower of WTC collapses in approximately 10 seconds.
  • 10:03 a.m. ET – United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • 10:28 a.m. ET – North tower of WTC collapses. The time between the first attack and the collapse of both World Trade Center towers is 102 minutes.

In less than an hour and 45 minutes, a total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City (NYC), Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were NYC firefighters, 23 were NYC police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. Read More

The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years.  Approximately 75-80 percent of the victims were men.  The number of children who lost a parent in the events of 9/11 was 3,051. Seventeen babies were subsequently born to women whose husbands died during the attacks.

The point of this column?  The point is to remember a tragedy that occurred 16 years ago today and to reflect on how quickly your entire life can change.  2,977 people lost their lives, but how many lives were tragically impacted by those losses?  The point is to be positive each and every day because we never know when life could change dramatically.  It may be difficult to be positive when you are suffering from a disease, a loss, or chronic pain, but it could be worse.

Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert- Executive Director of Community Care for South Hastings Inc., 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1.  Please visit our website at check us out on Facebook, or email me at, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information on our programs and services.  Community Care is a proud United Way member agency.  Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network.