Snowe and Collins: Maine's senators look back on Sept. 11

They sang as the whole world watched.

Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins took to the U.S. Capitol steps with members of Congress after a day of sadness and shock, and launched strong and clear into “God Bless America.”

“It was a brief moment in a momentous day, but it told a powerful truth: Standing together and standing strong, America will stand up to any challenge,” Collins told the Sun Journal through a spokesman.

Through her staff, Snowe reflected on that same memory, also one of her most vivid from Sept. 11.

“We sang to send a message to the country and to the world that we would never be deterred, that freedom would never be crushed by the blunt and remorseless instruments of terror,” she said.

Acts of kindness stood out in the aftermath, Snowe said. The Portland Symphony Orchestra dedicated a concert to victims with ties to Maine. Mill workers in Baileyville pooled together $6,000 for the relief effort.

“One employee contributed his entire $600 tax-relief refund to the cause, saying it was the least he could do to help,” Snowe said.

Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has visited the Middle East and troops there several times in the years since.

“For me, the most profound impact of 9/11 has been a deeper appreciation of our national character,” Collins said. “The attacks did not create American unity and resolve.”

But, she said, they did reveal it.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

Statement from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to the Sun Journal on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks:

"On the evening of September 11th, 2001, members of Congress came together on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. With tears in our eyes and sorrow in our hearts, we sang “God Bless America.” A day that began with shock and anger ended with unity and resolve.

In the hours and days following the attacks, the horrifying images of fire and destruction were supplanted by inspiring stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. At the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania, rescue workers and ordinary citizens gave their lives to save the lives of others. Across this great land, the American people reached out with compassion and generosity to the injured and the grieving families. The men and women of our armed forces formed a mighty shield to defend our lives and our freedom.

For me, the most profound impact of 9/11 has been a deeper appreciation of our national character. The attacks did not create American unity and resolve. Rather, they revealed the enduring qualities that have been our strength throughout history. Those qualities inspire my work in the United States Senate to secure our homeland against terrorism and to support those in uniform who protect us all.

I will never forget that evening on the Capitol steps. It was a brief moment in a momentous day, but it told a powerful truth – standing together and standing strong, America will stand up to any challenge."

Statement from U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe to the Sun Journal on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks

“I well recall that the morning of September 11, 2001, began with such remarkable blue skies, but ended with a nation in mourning and stunned disbelief. In Washington, D.C., I watched the images along with the rest of the world. Later, as the sun set over the National Mall – still capped by smoke billowing from the wound in the side of the Pentagon – I will never forget gathering with my colleagues in the House and Senate on the Capitol steps to sing “God Bless America.” We sang to send a message to the country and to the world that we would never be deterred – that freedom would never be crushed by the blunt and remorseless instruments of terror.

I will always remember here in Maine, firefighters from throughout the state rushed to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts, the Portland Symphony Orchestra gave an inspiring “Concert of Remembrance and Healing,” dedicated to those with close ties to Maine who lost their lives, and the 554 employees of a pulp and paper mill in Baileyville who donated more than $6,000 to help people whom the workers had never met, in places many of them had never visited. One employee contributed his entire $600 tax-relief refund to the cause, saying it was the least he could do to help.

Out of the rubble on September 11th rose our resolve, out of despair grew our determination, and out of the hate that was perpetrated upon us proudly stood our humanity. We illustrated in word and deed that the iconic American spirit is stronger and more permanent than any pain or suffering that can be inflicted upon us. If the likes of Osama bin Laden laid bare the unimaginable cruelties of which humankind is capable, it also imbued forever within our minds the heights to which the human spirit can rise – even and especially in the face of mortality."

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Amedeo Lauria's picture

The Twists of Fate on 9-11!

Prior to 9-11, I found myself working at the Pentagon in the Office of the then Deputy Chief of Staff-Personnel. While there, I was nomintated for the position of Executive Officer to General Tim Maude (the highest ranking officer killed during the attacks). One of the other officers considered for the position was (then) Major Kip Taylor. Kip, was chosen due to a previous working relationship with the General at Fort Harrison, IN. On September 11, 2001, I was the Commander of the New England Recruiting Battalion, we were hoping to have General Maude speak at our Annual Training Conferemce, I called General Maude's secretary Debbie Ramsaur, at the Pentagon the morning of 9-11-2001 just before the plane hit, Kip was in a meeting and couldn't come to the phone. (the secretary perished as well). The General, Debbie and Kip, along with many others, perished that day. Kip, a husband and father left behind his wife Nancy who later died from a battle with cancer; leaving two young children; Luke and Dean. When I wake up every day, I think about those events, I also know that could have been me that perished in the meeting that morning on September 11, 2011 the thought haunts me to this day a decade later. We, as a country, owe it to those who perished to keep them in our thoughts and prayers and to do everything in our power to make sure it DOES NOT HAPPEN AGAIN! God Bless and keep them all!

I remember 9/11

My dear Kathie,

Thanks.

I did not finish the personal feelings the 9/11 event invoked reading The Sun Journal article.

Please allow me.

My another niece from Bombay called me several times in that fateful day. She works for the telephone company, a government entity. In one of her call, she asked me to fly to Patterson, new Jersey for an emergency. I did not ask any questions and drove away. Local airport was closed.

After about seven hour drive, I reached Patterson, NJ and knocked the door. My Nephew-in-law, Shanker, hugged me and started crying like a lost child. After a while, he told the full story. My niece, Anu was hospitalized with a severe head injury after she was knocked off by the frightened mass of people. The doctors had her checked as she was in a coma.

We drove to New York. Met with the attending physician and discussed the further diagnosis/treatment.

MRI was taken and indicated a seizure, affecting Anu's mobility. Anu was pregnant with her second child. Doctor advised an immediate termination.

Shanker refused. This child, after eight years, was his (dream) son. We both debated seriously and agreed not to take doctor's sane advise and wait.

Three days later, Anu came out of her coma. She recovered slowly. In two weeks, she was out of danger.

Two months later, she gave birth to an healthy baby. Guess of what sex? A girl.

...and I am Sid Harth@cogitoergosumworld.com

KATHRYN PENDLETON's picture

9/11

I was home on my day off and was watching CNN when there was a report of a fire at the Twin Towers. I called a friend and told him about it and he turned on his TV,just as the second plane hit. He said "This means war." Later that morning the seriousness hit home when the van dropped off my husband. They had shut down BIW. Life in the U.S. has not been the same since. For the first time I started really paying attention to world events.

I remember 9/11

I do not watch TV. On the previous night I had to finish reading very absorbing book, as the book was overdue. "Monarchy, migration and hegemony in the Arabian peninsula" by John Chalcraft.

To get away from the book's intensity and overbearing reality it portrayed so eloquently, I turned to TV. I almost jumped. The World Trade Center tower was crumbling down in front of my eyes.

I was transfixed for nearly whole day. All channels were showing the same clipping, again and again. I didn't mind. It was horrible.

By afternoon, telephone kept ringing. My relatives from India must have watched the same scene and were worried. I was nowhere near the ground zero.

However, my niece, living in Patterson, New Jersey was. She just departed form the underground rail station and was rushing towards her office on the Wall Street. People were, as usual, also rushing.

Suddenly somebody on the opposite side started screaming, "airplane crashed on the World Center."

She stopped to look back.

What she saw, a few yards away was what I was seeing all day long.

May God bless America.

...and I am Sid Harth@cogitoergosumdesign.com

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