Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Hard Rain: Remembering How We Felt

 All of us who were alive on September 11, 2001 remember. But over time, some of the urgency of that day fades.  On that day (as I still am), I was a member of the American Bar Association's electronic community of solo and small firm lawyer called Solosez.  The posts that day capture the shock, horror, disbelief, concern, fear and finally unity we all experienced.  Here's an article I wrote for the First Anniversary of 9-11.  Those post are still a reminder of that day, and what we all experienced.

GP Reporter :   The Slingshot:

September 11 – A Hard Rain Fell

By Stephen M. Terrell, Editor


The morning of September 11 started as a bright and beautiful late summer day across Indiana. As I do every morning, I took my dogs for a walk, planning my day, thinking about phone calls to make and letters to write. I returned home to get ready for work - help my daughter on to her school bus -take a quick look at the news while I dressed.

Then at 7:48*  everything changed. We changed. America changed.

Solosez is the ABA-sponsored e-mail list of solo and small firm lawyers. It is an electronic community of more than 900 lawyers - helping each other with legal questions, sharing jokes, bickering over politics.

Like all America, Solosez started September ll as other days - postings about bankruptcies, products liability, divorce. But after 7:48*, the messages changed. Those messages intimately record the shock, fears, concerns and grief of a nation.


Bankruptcy question - You have about about two weeks after the discharge until the case is closed. – Sheryl Cramer, Lawton, OK

 Subject: Ford recall - Does anyone have any case law about Ford recalling faulty starters? - Jean Moyer

 World Trade Center Attack - I am hearing reports that there has been another terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. - Patrick W Begos, New York

 Go to or or any news site you can get to. Two jets have crashed into the World Trade Center - one on each tower. There are gaping holes in both buildings and flames are shooting out. It’s a horrible scene. I was watching it on the Today Show. A 737 veered into the second tower. Absolutely horrible. I can’t believe I just saw this happen. - Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

 It has also just been reported that another hijacked airliner has also just crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC! !  - Alan Pearlman, Chicago

 I just passed by the site on the way to my office. There was mass confusion, running and screaming in the streets while flames were shooting out of one of the towers. My office shook as the second explosion hit. - Joseph Handlin, New York City

The entire southern tip of Manhattan is now covered with smoke or dust from debris as one of the towers may have collapsed. This is bad, very bad. I have friends near the towers and in the Pentagon. - Ed Lawson

I could see the smoke from the Pentagon from the US Dept of Transportation building several miles away in SW DC. - Joel R Bennett, Washington, DC 

I am two blocks from the White House .... they are evacuating it...sirens all over town. - Reid Trautz, Washington DC

Reid, there were earlier reports on NBC of a fire at the OLD EOB across the street from the White House. Is that happening? Get the hell out of there! - Sterling L. DeRamus

NBC showed footage that clearly showed the top 1/3 or 1/ 2 of the second tower has completely collapsed. It’s completely gone. - Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

In NYC the UN has been evacuated. I am no longer receiving TV signals except for CBS and through Cable. - Christina Kallas, New York City

Let’s all say a prayer for both the victims and those who must go in harm’s way to rescue survivors and contain the hazards. - Jeffrey Allen McCann, Pensacola 

My Associate has come into my room in floods of tears saying the Twin Towers have been demolished by a plane flying into them and Pentagon is on fire. As an expatriate I am just feeling very far away today. This is so upsetting. What is going on? - Valerie Macadam, Edinburgh, Scotland

ln Houston: Chase Tower evacuated, Enron Building evacuated, and Reliant Tower is to be evacuated next. - Arlen M. Driscoll, Houston

Upstate New York District Courts are all closing or closed.  I haven’t felt like this since JFK was assassinated, but this is so much larger. - Marion Chase Pacheco, Syracuse

As for Chicago, The Daley Civic Center closed, all suburban courthouses closed, Sears Tower closed. Mass Exodus from the downtown loop back to everyone’s homes !- Alan Pearlman, Chicago

Baltimore Metro Area: Roads leading into and out of the city being closed. Federal Building being evacuated. This is surreal. - Eleanor Naiman, Baltimore

Lots of AW/\C’s seen in the sky over Oklahoma City. State offices have been shut down. My Mom called and told me to go home. - Melissa A. Shomben Oklahoma City, OK

 My daughter lives in Brooklyn and drives to work through lower Manhattan. She called that she made it to work and was safe. She had seen both crashes into the WTC and the collapses which have traumatized her. - Dick Howland, New York

My former firm, Thacher Proffitt & Wood, had its offices at 2 WTC. I shudder to think how many people I know and worked with died today. - Christina Kallas, New York City

Everyone is in a state of disbelief and worrying about friends and family who are stateside. I personally have dealings with several attorneys at Hill Betts and Nash in the World Trade Center, and l fear that I will not see them again. Go home and hug your loved ones. - Andy Simpson, Christiansted, U. S. Virgin Islands

The office upstairs represent pilots and flight crews. They knew several people on the planes that went down from Boston, I had friends working next door to the Trade Center and a partner had two relatives working in the Trade Center. Maybe just too close. - Ed Lawson

 “I shudder to think how many people I know and worked with died today. ” My church has scheduled a prayer service at noon today. I suggest everyone with a religious bent take a moment or two today to pray for the victims of this atrocity and for peace. - Charles Kelley

 Colleen - Are you okay? I don’t know where your office is. . Let us know that you are okay. - Saundra M. Gamerove,

Has anyone heard from Jay Fleishman? He has an office in the WTC area. - Colleen Samuels, New York City

Colleen (and everyone else):- I as well as my entire office staff are alive and well. We are, of course, not in business right now and l don’t know when we will be. – Jay Fleischman, New York City

I went to the hardware store - where they had run out of flags this morning but had since restocked. Now my new flag is flying. God bless America. - Jimmy L. Vernet; Jr, Dallas, Texas

 I am blocking out Friday afternoon to donate blood. I have also made a donation to the American Red Cross. I urge everyone to do the same. I am going to take my daughters to the park now. I need to watch them play for a while - Neal A. Kennedy, Marble Falls, Texas

I am a social worker as well as an attorney. Due to the downed telephone lines I am unable to reach anyone in NY If any organization needs someone for crisis counseling or any other help, please let me know. - Colleen Samuels, New York City

Well, I waited for SIX HOURS, but one pint of my finest blood is now sitting at the local Red Cross center. – Sasha Golden, Needham, MA

In the weeks to come, the people of NYC will be inundated with forms they will need to fill out. There will be insurance forms, FEMA forms, SBA small business loan. Let’s send a busload or two of volunteers to NYC to help with these forms. - Frank J. Kautz, II, Boston 

There will be an awful lot of New York lawyers who need fast advice and help on how to get their practices going again from a technology perspective. 1 will happily offer my consulting services at no charge. - Ross Kodner, Milwaukee

Washington Rock - General George Washington stood there 225 years ago while the county was under attack and looked across to Manhattan. He saw the British coming. Standing there today, looking across the river, seeing the void in the skyline, showed the work of another enemy. lt was chilling. - John R. Parker; Flemington, NJ

I can’t help but keep remembering, over and over, how wonderfully quiet and peaceful Washington, D.C., was when I was there last November. Are those times all behind us now? - Gena Holmes

I ask you to join me - Let there be abundant peace from heaven, And life’s goodness for us and for all humanity. He who ordains the order of the universe Will mercifully bring peace To us and to all humanity. Let us say: Amen - Jay Goldenberg

Jay, thanks for reminding me that even at the most awful of times, our prayer is for peace. Susan Freiman

On the street, I could see that WTC One was burning from its upper stories; curlicues of paper were floating down, glittering in the light, I saw people running past, some of them crying, as I stood immobilized, watching the flames. Then there was an explosion, and fragments of glass rained down on my head. I saw a huge hole in the roof of a building two blocks from World Trade Center. I began running away from the burning buildings, wondering what would blow up next. I started to walk, looking back over my shoulder repeatedly at the burning towers. Someone behind me shouted, “There are people jumping!” and I turned to see a black dot, almost certainly a human dot, fall from the top of a tower. A few minutes after I got home I was watching live coverage on CNN as World Trade Center 2 collapsed, then building 1 a few minutes later. I thought of words of a Bob Dylan song:

I 've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,

I ’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,

I 've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,

And it's a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.


The glass I picked out of my hair an hour later was a hard rain.  - Jonathan Wallace

*  In 2001, Indiana did not switch to Daylight Savings Time. It remained on Eastern Standard Time, one hour behind the east coast. 

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