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‘September 11, 2001:’ A Poem by Susan Borger

Editor’s note: Susan Borger served as director of personnel and human resources for the Orthodox Union from 1991 through 2006. She was commuting to work on the last subway train to enter the World Trade Center before its collapse on the morning of 9-11-2001. Susan passed away in November 2018 after a three year battle with ovarian cancer. As the 18th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, her son Elie shares this moving poem she wrote after surviving 9/11.

The year’s almost over Not all of it funny As two planes came crashing On a day blue and sunny

One hundred four stories And thousands of lives Mothers and fathers Husbands and wives

On a beautiful day Between summer and fall I stepped out of the Path train In the Twin Towers Mall

Wiped out in minutes By hatred so blind Without conscience or guilt Without feeling or mind

I smelled and saw smoke But not overly worried There was no real panic As everyone hurried

That left us all stunned Facing nights without sleep For those who were there Those memories we’ll keep

To exit the building To see what had caused The fire and smoke For a moment I paused

No matter what happens

The rest of our lives That day is imprinted On those who survived

To look up at the Towers And wonder in awe My mind couldn’t accept

The horror I saw

Who set out for work In the usual way On the bus or the train Bound for Broadway

Who could have imagined As I walked out that day The sight that would greet me A sight that would stay

Thinking of friends Of families, of job Never suspecting A day so macabre

Imprinted forever That I cannot erase The total destruction Of that once awesome place

A day that would change us A sunny blue morning When two planes came crashing Attack without warning

That Tuesday in autumn Not a cloud in the sky I can’t take it in I can’t even try

Two planes flying low Without explanation Leaving death and destruction And such devastation

For a minute, no more All breathing suspended Like one of the plagues The darkness descended

We try to go on In our usual way As if nothing had happened That bright autumn day

Where before there was laughter, and commerce and light now, there was horror and terror and fright

Though we breathe in the dust As we pass by the site We try not to think of That day blue and bright

I still can’t believe Those two horrible crashes That left us with rubble And ruin and ashes

It’s too hard to fathom Too hard to discuss For there, but for fortune It could have been us

When buildings were toppled And lives were destroyed Two towers once stood Where now there’s a void

So let’s take a moment A minute or so To remember our losses Of three months ago

Two symbols of pride Of progress of power Forever destroyed In less than an hour

And let us give thanks This day in December Because we were spared On the eleventh of September

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