‘We were stunned’

Published: 9/16/2021 4:18:01 PM

Working as an RN on a busy respiratory unit in a hospital in Southeastern Mass the morning of Sept. 11 seemed like any other beautiful late summer day. All the patients were watching the morning news programs and I caught bits and pieces of the news while at the bedsides handing out medications.

As I was talking with my patient, we looked up at the tv and saw Katie Couric and Matt Lauer announce the plane crash into the World Trade Center North Tower. We were stunned.

Word of the crash spread quickly throughout the unit because of course everyone had their TV on. The nurses and aides were all out in the hallway talking all at once.

Everyone was in shock and disbelief when the South Tower was attacked. But we all had a job to do caring for our patients so the day went on.

I couldn’t sleep that night feeling anxious and unsafe. I heard airplanes flying overhead and knew they must have been from the airbase on Cape Cod since all commercial flights were grounded.

A few days later I learned that the beautiful daughter of a nurse I knew had died in one of the towers. She always took the day of her birthday off from work. Her birthday was Sept. 12. If the attack had been planned for Sept. 12 she would have lived.

Afterwards I would see the poor mother at the gym and we would talk awhile. She went on with her life but she always seemed so sad. I lost touch with her over the years but I still think of her especially on Sept. 11.

Jane Howland

Turners Falls


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