“The significance of the date of September 11th, 9/11, was seared into the nation’s collective memory, altering the way those affected looked at the calendar and even clocks.”The Only Plane in the Sky
9/11 is a day that no one will ever forget. Whenever it gets brought up, we all tell our story of where we were at and what we were doing when it happened. In The Only Plane in the Sky, the author, Garrett M. Graff collected hundreds of stories to show what happened through their eyes. These are the stories of firefighters, politicians, government agents, air traffic control, police officers, residents, the family members of the victims, and many more.
This is by far one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version. There are a lot of original recordings throughout the book and it also has a voice cast of 45 people. This is not an easy read by any means. But I feel that it really honors everyone who was affected that day.
It is difficult to say which story had the most impact on me. Honestly, it was all the stories. There is one woman who was let go from her job on September 10th. She was told that she could come back later to collect her things and say goodbye. She decided to say goodbye that day instead of waiting. She worked in one of the towers. Then there is this quote that broke my soul into pieces:
“Frederick Terna, Holocaust Survivor, Brooklyn Resident”The Only Plane in the Sky
‘As ashes were falling, I was back in Auschwitz, with ashes coming down. In Auschwitz, I knew what the ashes were. Here, I assumed I knew what the ashes were-it was building and human remains.”
But the book begins with the morning. It is described as one of the most beautiful mornings as if nothing could go wrong. Then the first plane hit. The book goes through every moment that day, on each flight and each attack site. It was interesting to see what was happening with former President George W. Bush and his staff during these events. But there is a moment when the author reconstructs the timeline for flight United 93. I felt myself holding my breath when Todd Beamer says, “Let’s Roll” before gathering with other passengers to retake the plane from the hijackers.
I do appreciate that the author took the time to also show those of Middle-Eastern descent and about how they were worried how their fellow Americans would view them. So many experienced racism, prejudice, and violence after 9/11.
It has been 20 years since these attacks. We have finally begun the process of pulling out our troops. Kids born on 9/11/2001 to now have only known a country at war. The war has cost us even more lives, not to mention all the innocent lives in the Middle East. I know people who never came home from this war. I was 13 years old on September 11th. I remember it so clearly. Even at that age, I knew how devastating this attack was and for the next 20 years, I watched as the war claimed more lives both here and abroad. First responders who entered the towers are still experiencing problems from breathing in the air that day. Jon Stewart fought for 18 years to get the first responders and victims funding to get them and their families proper healthcare. That took way too long.
So read this book. And thank you to ALL those who helped that day in any way they could. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.