Saturday, September 03, 2011


My motto here at “A Few Clowns Short” is lighten-up. 

A 9/11 remembrance. 

Damn the motto for this post. Nothing to lighten-up about given the enormous sadness that filled that September week and lingered like a dirty film on the days that followed. 

The heroes were a bright spot. The coming together of strangers seeking to help others provided hope to keep many going. 

The tragedy reminded us that an awful dark side exists in enough people that we need to be aware. 


Forgetting about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happened. 

I don’t have some hero story of my own, but I found myself working with someone who was pulled into the tragedy. Her name is Lisa Jefferson. It forever changed her life.

The week previous to that Tuesday, I had interviewed for a job at GTE Airfone (name was changed to Verizon Airfone months later) and I was still waiting get an offer.

We live near the flight paths for both O'Hare and Midway airports. It’s very common to see and hear airliners flying in and out. Those September days following 9/11 had a noticeable empty sky above us.

The small act of kindness we were able to provide that day was helping Johnny, our daughter’s friend who was stuck at O’Hare airport. We picked him up and gave him a place to stay for a few days.

I flew a flag. I talked with family. I watched the news. I cried. We all cried.

I took that job offer from Airfone. It was a great job. Airfone (yes it’s spelled with a ‘f’) was the company offering a public phone in the seatback of a few airlines. United Airlines was one of our biggest customers/partners. Flight UA 93 was the hijacked plane that did not hit the terrorist’s target.

The passengers and crew learned after contacting the Airfone operator that other planes were hijacked that morning. A group of passengers decided not to allow the terrorists to use their flight. The flight ended in a fiery crash in a Pennsylvania.

While at Airfone, I worked with Lisa Jefferson and her husband who also worked there. She was a calm and peaceful lady. I don’t pretend to know her well, but all my interactions with her tell me she is a wonderful kind person.  She passed along Todd Beamer's last words, "Let's roll".

Someday 9/11 will be another history lesson like Dec. 7, 1941. If we are lucky some will learn from it. The National Geographic Channel has a site dedicated to it’s remembrance.

I want to leave this post with a better word than it began.



Leenie said...

Thanks for your reminder of things so important about that day only ten years ago.

oceangirl said...

This is a truly great post, the beginning, the middle, especially the end. And how everyone, I guess in the world had directly and indirectly involved and affected by the incident. And the story of Verizon and how you came to know the hero of the day just made it real again.  I cried uncontrollably on September 11 and for many days later because of the stories of the phonecalls.

lisleman said...

You are welcomed.  I do hope we have a peaceful day while remembering.

lisleman said...

Thank you.  It will be a sad tragic day we will be remembering.  More than just the US came together that day.  Every part of the world responded.  I believe the world needs to cooperate all the time.

Shrinky said...

A very well written and thoughtful post Lisleman, 9/11 changed our world forever, and the horror of that day has left a permanant scar on our collective psyche.  Out of the evil that was committed, there also rose true acts of heroism, compassion, sacrifice and kindness.  It's humbling to know out of such adversity good can, and does triumph.

Hope you are having a good weekend, and thank you so much for the "shout out", I can't tell you how much it meant to me, what a beautiful thing to do (x)!


frau said...

I can't ever imagine forgetting that day 10 years ago and the heros, the lives lost and people forever changed. I was in NYC last week I felt peace but still raw of that day. 

Jillsy Girl said...

I've been watching some documentaries this past week and it still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.  I plan on watching whatever is being aired on the 11th.

Jennifer Richardson said...

absolutely wonderful powerful post.....I love this.
thank you.
this year 9/11 feels especially poignant and painful
for my family
because my young son deploys to Afghanastan
with his National Guard unit
instead of returning to university
for his senior year.
I suppose it is fitting
but my heart aches keenly for us all....the whole
nation of sad goodbyes.
Peace.  Oh yes indeed.

lisleman said...

I thank you for accepting his plans and your son for his willingness to serve.  My hope is for his service to  give him an experience of cooperation, mission and the fellowship of team members that will serve him throughout his long life.  God bless him.  Thanks for sharing.

lisleman said...

Thank you.  You expressed very meaningful thoughts in your comment.  I agree.

lisleman said...

I was in NYC for a few hours since that day.  But I only made it to Times Square.  "...felt peace but still raw.."  yes those mixed emotions do make it hard to describe.  thanks for sharing.

lisleman said...

Today's Chicago Tribune has stories and descriptions of the planned NYC memorial site.  I'll be watching too.  thanks for sharing.

secret agent woman said...

Peace.  With you on that.

lisleman said...

thanks for stopping by and letting me know.

Lilly said...

Wow, what a great post Lisleman. bought tears to my eyes. It affected the world in so many ways this tragedy at evey level. Let's roll - fine last words wouldnt you say. What heroes they were. And I guess there are so many people that will be haunted by this for the rest of their days. Peace to them.

lisleman said...

thank you for sharing your nice words.  I've been watching special programs covering the 9/11 events.  One I watched today included a story of guide dog.  That brought some tears.

Jene said...

Thanks for the reminder, Lisleman. I try to remember the tiny bits of good that came out of it, too - the heroes, the fellowship, the togetherness as a country - for a while there, even red sox fans were rooting for the Yankees. I'd like to think that it served as a wake-up call for those who were living our lives below our potential. Hopefully some good came out of it, somewhere.

lisleman said...

thanks for your wonderful thoughts - you are right about the wake-up calls for many.  We don't need human created tragedy since nature gives us plenty.  The kindness and fellowship found in tragedy is a great thing.

Klphelps said...

Bill, I also remember 9/11, as I was on business travel in Australia with Dave Cross, Jim Lynch, Steve Redford and Dan Bagley.  While I was were booked on different airline to fly home (when Int'l air travel finally opened), my collegues refused to let me fly home alone.  They were so wonderful to be with during that horrific time.  We traveled all together making connections in Hong Kong (where we were forced to stay for several days) and then on to LAX and ORD.  Those Airfone guys will always be a soft spot in my heart!

lisleman said...

Hey K-  thanks for stopping and sharing your story.  I had some of it from the guys  but I didn't know about their protective nature.  Yes that was some trade show that year I gather.  thanks

Mrs4444 said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I think we are all reflecting this week. It seems like just yesterday to me. So sad.

lisleman said...

Very sad indeed.  Senseless too.  The kindness of strangers, courage of first responders, a sense of unity are some of the good things I can remember from it.  If we could keep the good going without anymore sadness then we would really be creating a better world.  thanks for sharing your comment.  all the best.

joaniemack said...

Thanks for sharing your memory of that awful fateful day. I knew someone on that flight.  She tried to keep the terrorists out of the cockpit and was the first to die on that flight.  We know this fact because passengers were using the Airfones to get the information out.

lisleman said...

Yes I remember reading that in your post about that day.  Flight attendants who never expected to be on the front line against terrorist.  thanks for stopping by and sharing too.

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