September 11, 2014: Happy Birthday to the Gifts of Hope Born 9-11-2001

The Freedom Tower - the New World Trade Center, opening in 2014, photo by Theresa McNelley
The Freedom Tower – the New World Trade Center, opening in 2014, photo by Theresa McNelley

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 9/2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014:  According to various web sites, somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 kids across America celebrate their 13th birthday today. I would venture to guess that for most, they’re in the 6th-8th grade, they’re finding their way, and their parents are beginning to wonder when their sweet child was replaced with this independent teen-ager with thoughts and ideas of their own.

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An interview with Bill, a firefighter who worked recovery at Ground Zero one month after the attacks of September 11, 2001 [graphic]

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 9/2011

Earlier this month, I interviewed a former firefighter who worked at Ground Zero a month after the attacks as part of the recovery operations. I taped our conversation and the incredible people at Audio Transcription Center in Boston (http://ttctranscriptions.com/) gave me a transcript back the same day I sent in the tape. 


By its very subject matter, the column is a bit graphic but I did my best to edit and censor that for general readership.

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Fewer September 11 Memorials: Why?

 

US Flag at half staff - GillisPhotos.com
US Flag at half staff – GillisPhotos.com

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 9/2009

“The date, September 11, will forever evoke recollections of unimaginable tragedy, of lives callously lost and brutally cut short and of unspeakable horror and sorrow in the hearts and minds of all of us. … That is why each and every September 11, we as Americans pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day.

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September 11, Five Years Later

New York Skyline After 911
New York Skyline After 9/11

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 8/2004 and the Foxboro Reporter 8/2006 and the Boston City Paper 9/2006.

September 11, 2001 was a death in the family. A death in our National family. And as a nation, we went to the wake and funeral.

The world suddenly seemed so quiet. The commercial-free constant coverage of the attacks and their aftermath. The deaths, my God, the deaths and the destruction.

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Fly the colors proudly; 9/11 two years later

by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 9/2003 and the Boston City Paper 9/2007

I never met Shawn Nassaney. He was a good-looking guy, 25 years old, lived in Pawtucket, and was a sales manager for American Power Conversion. Likewise, I never met Attleboro’s Lynn Goodchild. She was absolutely beautiful, a 25 year old administrator for Putnam Investments.

There is a picture of the couple hanging outside the function rooms that bear their names at the Tavern Restaurant here in Plainville.

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A year later, America is still a great nation, under God

America - US Flag flyingby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter September 2002

We remember where we were when we first heard the news.

We remember the anger and pain that resonated through our very souls; cutting deeper than anything we thought we could feel. We were – and are — collectively wounded.

We remember the loss, the scope of the attacks, and the horrendous aftermath.

We remember an orchestrated attack on who and what we are, our very ideology, an enormous loss of life, broadcast as it happened.

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Reflections on Christmas 2001, three months after the attacks

12 America - US Flag flying at Hull Yacht Clubby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter

It’s Christmas 2001. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

It’s only been three months since September 11. With all that’s happened, many us are thinking, how could we enjoy Christmas this year? Should we even try?

After all, while we decorate trees and make cookies, our soldiers are in Afghanistan, facing death every day as they fight for our freedom and way of life.

While we send Christmas cards, others are searching for who is putting anthrax in the US Mail.

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Reflections at Ground Zero eleven days after September 11, 2001

Ground Zero Across from the World Trade Center September 22, 2001 photo by Robert Gillisby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 9/2001

(Note: My editor said that this was the best piece I’d ever written, and ran it on the front page of the Reporter with the rest of the 9/11 coverage. I am very proud of this piece.)

Ground zero.

Until a few weeks ago, this area was called the World Trade Center.

New York City. Corner of Ann and Broadway, one, maybe two blocks from where the planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

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September 11, 2001

911by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2001.

The anger and pain resonate through our souls, cutting deeper than anything we thought we could feel. We are collectively wounded.

There are no words, nothing that can be said to make sense of any of this. There is no adjective strong enough to describe the loss, the scope of the attacks, and the horrific aftermath that will be felt for generations.

All of us have suffered an immeasurable loss.

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