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The Only Plane in the Sky
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 | Garrett M. Graff
This is history at its most immediate and moving.A marvelous and memorable book. Jon Meacham The Only Plane in the Sky is a stunning and important workchilling, heartbreakingand I cannot stop thinking about it. Anderson Cooper The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma. Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wrights The Looming Tower, which traced the birth and rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the governments definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this pointa 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it. Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was livedin the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet. It begins in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, where we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and then the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes themselves. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice watch for incoming planes on radar. In the offices of the Pentagon, top officials feel the violent tremor as their headquarters comes under attack. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to stop it from reaching its target. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded across the country, Air Force One circles the nation alone, its passengers isolated and afraid. More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working on separate floors in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter who rushes to the scene to search for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who keeps her promise to share a passengers last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who stays on the scene to perform last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; the newly widowed young father who picks his infant daughter up from daycare for the first time as a single dad; the teachers who hold their fear at bay while evacuating terrified children from schools mere blocks from the World Trade Center; the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues; and the students of all ages who struggle to process the mornings events, from those who grimace through school picture day to those who are following the news on college campuses far from home. At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.
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marleed
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Pickpick

I journeyed through this book in audio format. I haven‘t listened to this many continuous hours of 9/11 coverage since following live in 2001. This is an incredibly important history book as it preserves the emotions on the day of so many people forever impacted by this tragedy. Its not an easy read but what brought me to tears time and again was not the horrors that must be remembered but the inherent goodness of those on the ground.

ljuliel Great review. 1d
Cinfhen That‘s how I felt after listening to this audio!! It broke my heart but at the same time gave me hope for humanity 1d
Cinfhen And yes, beautiful review! Im looking forward to listening to this book in 2020 1d
See All 6 Comments
CoverToCoverGirl A very moving review! (edited) 16h
marleed @ljuliel @Cinfhen @CoverToCoverGirl It‘s such good book. I went to a WWI museum over Thanksgiving with a young woman - freshman in college and National Guard. She was born 2 weeks prior to 9/11 and her HS graduating class was the last to have been born prior to the tragedy of that day. It‘s a incredible that within the year we will have soldiers entering the military that were born after that day. 15h
Cinfhen My youngest was born a few weeks after 9/11 and it‘s odd because he has grown up in the post 9/11 world but didn‘t experience that day. Even my older 2 children only remember being the “last” kids to be picked up from school. I was so rooted to the TV and 8 months pregnant that apparently I didn‘t race to their school like some of the other moms. They were 6 & 8 (edited) 12h
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vivastory
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Memory has been an accidental major theme in my recent reading; as the four above books, all favorites, indicate. Memory plays a key role in any form of writing, fiction to nonfiction & all of the strange hybrid forms. In the books above the role of memory is more emphasized.
(After searching my feed I noticed I used the same pic of Seven & Half Deaths etc for #trytoremember prompt last December)
#IllRemember #MOvember @Cinfhen

vivastory @RealBooks4ever It's on my TBR, I've heard great things about it 2w
RealBooks4ever It‘s on mine too! It sounds so good and the author has won all the lit prizes in Japan. 2w
Cinfhen Great post, Scott!! And here‘s where I add my tearful THANK YOU for adding so many wonderful books to my TBR and for all the AMAZING book talk over the YEARS❣️📚❣️ 2w
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CSeydel
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Currently listening to this one. Requested it in September and my hold just came in. Highly recommend the audio. It is amazing and wrenching and really, really hard to listen to. But after 18 years I‘m ready to hear the stories from the people inside the planes, inside the buildings, and otherwise on the scene.

#neverforget #NFNovember

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💔💔💔 2w
lele1432 That image. 😞 2w
Riveted_Reader_Melissa 18 years....😢. Still difficult to read, and yet there is a whole generation for which this is “before their time” and they‘ve never know a world when we were not at war over the events of that day. 😔 2w
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Texreader Oh my. Not sure I‘m ready yet. 😭 I just can‘t forget the gut-wrenching horror watching it happen and knowing what was happening to the people. (edited) 2w
GingerAntics I‘m with @Texreader. I‘m not sure I‘m ready yet. I agree we need to make sure this stays current for this generation that has never known what it is like to not be at war. We need to make sure we all never forget. I just don‘t think I‘m ready. I can still remember that day so clearly. I suppose it‘s like my Uncle on the day JFK was shot. 2w
Crazeedi I'm currently reading this, but I bet the audiobook would be riveting 2w
Crazeedi And everyone should read this for sure! @GingerAntics @Texreader read when you feel prepared, but I highly recommend!! 2w
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JenReadsAlot
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Pickpick

I'm pretty sure this was the most difficult book I have ever read.
#nfnov @Clwojick @rsteve388

Crazeedi Yes it is, heart rending 3w
Megabooks I need to read this, but my heart breaks so easily right now. 3w
Amiable This might have been the best book I‘ve read this year. 3w
JenReadsAlot @Megabooks I had to set it down many times as it was heartbreaking. I do recommend it though. 3w
Clwojick 6 pt. 3w
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kbuggle
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Pickpick

A really comprehensive oral history of the events of September 11, 2001.
I read this in small doses from September through November of this year because the content is obviously heavy; but I thought it important to revisit these stories and histories, especially at this time of year. Woven and collected together, this is an extensive timeline of a really hard day and difficult part of history.

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JenReadsAlot
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This is causing a lot of anxiety while reading... I cannot imagine what it was like living in New York City that day. #nfnov @Clwojick @rsteve388

Crazeedi This book is soul crushing, but vitally important 4w
JenReadsAlot @Crazeedi agreed and I'm not very far... 4w
rsteve388 1 pt 4w
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InnerSavvy
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Pickpick

Definitely recommend this book even though I could only read a chapter or two at a time it's just so emotional brings back memories

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Lauren.Archer
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This was a mixed bag of reading for me this week, with the best book I have read this year. Also happened to see Doctor Sleep this weekend and it was so good.

For a full recap, please visit my blog: http://obsessedbookaholic.com/2019/11/11/weekly-reading-round-up-november-11-201...

Blueberry Peter Heller is such a gifted storyteller. I have read two of his other books and loved them. 1mo
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Lauren.Archer
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Pickpick

Wow...I am blown away. I am hesitant to write a full review on this, as there are people I would say should not read this book. However, if you have the strength to read this oral history about one single day 9/11 than do it. This should win a Pulitzer, in my opinion.

JenReadsAlot I'm picking this up from the library tomorrow. 1mo
Hooked_on_books I can‘t bring myself to read any of the 9/11 books. I just can‘t do it. 1mo
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FashionableObserver

“Andy Card: one of the president‘s first thoughts, from Sarasota to Barksdale...was Vladimir Putin.

Air Fleischer: Putin was fantastic that day. He was a different Vladimir Putin in 2001. America would have no better ally on September 11th than Russia and Putin.” 👀

Well, color me shocked! I honestly had no idea Putin had it in him to be truly helpful to the US (then or now).

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Lauren.Archer
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Starting my weekend reading with this one.

Amiable Oh, this is so good. And emotionally wrenching. 1mo
vivastory I agree with @Amiable One of the best of the year, 1mo
ljuliel Really super good book. Excellently written. 1mo
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FashionableObserver

“Lisa Jefferson: Todd turned to someone else and he said, “Are you ready?” I could hear them; they responded. He said, “Okay. Let‘s roll.” That was the last thing I heard.” Just in case you couldn‘t tell: I‘m taking this one slowly. It‘s a tough read.

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ljuliel
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Pickpick

5 🌟 .One of the most difficult , tragic stories in our lifetime .The audio is excellent, with a 45 person cast. It gives you a new respect for all those police officers, firefighters ,and regular people who were willing to give everything they had, including sometimes their lives,to try to save others. As horrible as this event was, it still gives you a beacon of hope that most people are GOOD .An important story that needed told and remembered.

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FashionableObserver

“I said, “Mr. Atta, if you don‘t go now, you will miss your plane.””

Crazeedi I thought, how does one live with knowing you told the terrorist who flew a plane into a building to hurry or you wont catch the plane. 💔💔💔 1mo
FashionableObserver @Crazeedi I know!! One of the gate agents was on either RadioLab or This American Life (or one of those NPR shows) in 2016 and he was still so devastated about the role he felt he played. It ruined him. So heartbreaking. 1mo
Crazeedi @FashionableObserver I mean how would anyone know, but just carrying that with you , you'd have to have a big faith in God and give your pain and heartbreak to him or else youd just want to die! So very very tragic 1mo
FashionableObserver @Crazeedi You are so right! Faith is the only way to get through that. My God—I can‘t imagine. One of the heartening things was the number of messages sent to him after the broadcast telling him it wasn‘t his fault, giving him support and love. That made me cry, too! 1mo
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FashionableObserver

“Every orbit, we kept trying to see more of what was happening. One of the most startling effects was that within about two orbits, all of the contrails normally crisscrossing the [US] had disappeared because they had grounded all the airplanes and there was nobody else flying in US airspace except for one airplane that was leaving a contrail from central US toward Washington. That was Air Force One heading back to DC with President Bush.

Crazeedi 😪😪 1mo
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FashionableObserver
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I heard the author on a podcast over a month ago and have been chomping at the bit to read this book! The first section is told from the perspective of Commander Frank Culbertson, who was on the Int‘l Space Station, and was “the only American off the planet” on 9/11. It‘s the little details like that that—I believe—will make this book one of the most impactful I‘ll read this year. Imagine being in space as the world as you know it falls apart.

Crazeedi Thins book is so well done, I heard the author on a show. And bought the book immediately. Everyone needs to read 1mo
FashionableObserver @Crazeedi I heard the author on a pod, too! I am reading my library‘s copy, but I plan to purchase a copy for my home library. I want my son to read it when he‘s older. I agree with you: this is a side of the story that everyone should know. Not just the number of casualties, and the logistics of the attacks. We need to make sure the PEOPLE are remembered. Those who died and those who survived. 1mo
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ljuliel
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Current listen, which will probably take me awhile to complete. Excellent in audio, told by dozens of narrators , from every perspective . It starts on 9/10 , being just a normal day, then the beautiful blue sky on 9/11. It goes minute by minute , told from so many different voices. This day showed the absolute worst a person can do, but at the same time, it showed the absolute best in people. It‘s a very difficult listen, so I take breaks from it

Amiable I read this a few weeks ago —it‘s mesmerizing, isn‘t it? But so visceral. I felt anxious and unsettled and frightened —it was like living through that day all over again. 1mo
ljuliel @amiable , Yes, it‘s like living it again, only maybe a bit more detailed than when it actually happened. You could see it on the news, but this goes into so much detail from every area of the whole event, so you find out more than you knew as it happened. I‘m at the part where the first building is coming down. I cannot imagine surviving all that and trying to process it and still go on with life. The sights and sounds and losing so many people 1mo
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InnerSavvy
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Any one read this book? It sounds good but for some reason is feeling intimidating.

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megnews
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Pickpick

If you only read one book for #NFNov, make it this one.
I don‘t have any words to describe it.
Extremely well done for such a difficult, heartbreaking subject.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

marleed I‘m waiting on a library drop! 2mo
sblbooks Stacked! Thanks for the suggestion. 2mo
Bowietrek I was there. I want to read it, but I don‘t know if I can, but I will try. 2mo
megnews @Bowietrek I can‘t imagine how hard it would be. 2mo
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mvrdr
Pickpick

Brings a whole other points of view from that tragic day.

DebReads4fun Welcome to Litsy! 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy 🎉🎉🎉 2mo
BookwormAHN Welcome to Litsy 😺 2mo
PurpleyPumpkin Welcome to Litsy! It‘s a great community and I hope you enjoy it here. 😉 2mo
13 likes5 comments
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megnews
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1. Current Reads shown. I started The Only Plane in the Sky last night when my hold came thru. It sucked me in
2. 11 all digital which is fairly new for me
3. Reading slump tip: I read a novella or a middle grade or young adult fiction. All those are short, quick reads which makes me feel accomplished & usually pushes me out of the slump. I‘m rarely in a slump anymore because I read so many books a time so if I‘m bored with one I try another.

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Amiable
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Garrett M. Graff, author of “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11,” speaking at RJ Julia‘s in Madison, CT.

Crazeedi I have that book, heard him on a show, and immediately bought the book. It is riveting 2mo
Amiable @Crazeedi I read it a few weeks ago, and I had trouble sleeping for several nights. It was so visceral—I felt like I was living it all over again. 2mo
Crazeedi @Amiable exactly my response 2mo
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Amiable @mrozzz , I think I spotted you in the front row...? I was in the back! 2mo
mrozzz Oh hey that was me!! What a great event 2mo
Amiable @mrozzz It was! He was a fantastic speaker. I thought it was you—I wanted to go say hi but I was with a friend and she had to leave right after it was over. (edited) 2mo
mrozzz Next time!! ☺️ 2mo
mrozzz Cool! That‘s on my maybe list. 2mo
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Shaines07
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I started this today. So far, a very sobering read.

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vivastory
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Pickpick

I'm of an age that I remember vividly where I was when 9/11 occurred. Like millions of others I watched the events unfold on tv. This is the first 9/11 book I have read in years & it is a remarkable chronicle of the events of that day. On 9/11 Americans were at their best, with courage, self-sacrifice & empathy. Sadly, it also brought out the worst with an immediate backlash against anyone of Middle Eastern descent. Highly recommended.

BarbaraBB Thanks for this review! 3mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB It's definitely one of the best nonfiction books I've read this year 3mo
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AmberWB
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Pickpick

Regardless of the content I‘m supposed to be teaching, every year, I spend a day on 9/11. The kids are always interested and ask where I was when it happened. But this year, for the first time, I had a few kids who were tired of hearing about that day. They were very respectful about it, but I get it. They were not alive- I may as well be talking about the War of 1812. That‘s why books like this are so important. 👇👇👇

AmberWB This book covers September 11 from dawn until the late evening hours, and shares the stories of what people experienced fromNew York, to California. Sharing these stories shows the reader that every American was changed by that day, regardless of what part of the country they were in. It is obviously not upbeat reading, but it was excellent nonetheless. 3mo
MelissaSue81 Interesting. How old are your students? I can definitely understand why students tire of hearing about it year after year and probably in many classrooms. It is so important for them to know the history, but of course living through it is entirely different. 3mo
AmberWB @MelissaSue81 This year I have mainly high school juniors. We also talked about how it‘s almost therapeutic for people to share their personal stories from 9/11, and that is part of why they are discussing it in almost all of their classes. 3mo
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TelevisionNeighbor
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Pickpick

I‘m finally done. Totally drained.

Amiable I‘m just about to start this one. 3mo
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Crazeedi
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I just got this book today. I made the mistake of starting to read it 4 hours ago. I can't put it down, and it's really way past my bedtime. Even before I'm finished reading I can tell you, this is an important book to have in your library. Riveting first hand accounts of the sights and smells and sounds of that day. #neverforget #911tragedy #unitedwestanddividedwefall

Kayla.Adriena I just watched 102 minutes that changed America on the history channel. I can't even imagine 😫 3mo
Crazeedi @Kayla.Adriena yes it's similar to that, like 500 plus people talking in this book. I😢 3mo
Cinfhen I just finished the audio for this 9/11 book ~ and it was emotionally draining but worth every tear and I shed HUNDREDS 3mo
See All 9 Comments
danireads @Cinfhen I‘m listening to it as well. 3 hours left. So heartbreaking, yet so powerful and moving. 3mo
Crazeedi @Cinfhen I'll look for it, this one is the same, riveting and heartbreaking 3mo
Cinfhen I can‘t stop thinking about the Zuckoff book @danireads 😭😭😭 3mo
Cinfhen Hope all is well with you and the family, Diane 😘 3mo
Crazeedi @Cinfhen thanks for asking! All good, and I hope things are good for you as well!😍 3mo
Cinfhen All‘s well here too 🙏🏻 3mo
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danireads
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When I heard this book was coming out, I debated getting it. But this past week, on September 10th, I got the chance to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in a quiet field of rural PA. If you get the chance, I can not recommend it enough. It‘s a beautiful memorial honoring the brave crew and passengers of Flight 93. I hope that this book, too, is a beautiful testament to the strength, love, and bravery of so many that day and those to follow.

Crazeedi Welcome to litsy! And this book tugs the heart so much 3mo
Crazeedi And I hope to see the flight 93 memorial soon, I live about 2 hrs from it 3mo
danireads @Crazeedi thank you!! And it truly is a beautiful site. So well done. 3mo
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MidnightBookGirl
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I'm currently listening to this audiobook. Graff makes the point that when the subject of 9/11 comes up, people feel the need to share their stories of where they were/what they were doing. Feel free to share yours in the comments. (((hugs)))

1MoreChapter @MidnightBookGirl I was asleep and a friend called and told me to turn on the TV right away, I did and caught the second plane as it hit live 😥 3mo
Mollyanna I was in Dublin, Ireland on 9/11. I will never forget the compassion and generosity of the Irish as they mourned with us. (edited) 3mo
Karkar I was at work and after the first plane hit we spent most of the rest of the day huddled around a radio. 3mo
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melissajayne I was on the west coast. I woke up early that morning. My radio came onto a sports radio station stating that Michael Jordan was post-phoning his news conference that day. Not sure what was the deal, so I went downstairs to the kitchen to get ready for a day of classes at the university I was attending. 3mo
melissajayne I got up at around 6:30 am PT that day; no TV or internet in my room. I spent the day trying to avoid coverage. 3mo
Cinfhen I was 8 months pregnant and waiting for the painter to come and paint our nursery - he walked in the door told me he heard something crazy on the radio and to put on the tv. It was 8:55 am and we watched the second plane hit the South Tower. We both broke down in tears knowing the world would be forever changed. The painter waited for my hubby to come home before he left. We never repainted the nursery. It didn‘t seem important any longer. 3mo
Cinfhen And if you want another book that was AMAZING but incredibly painful listen to 3mo
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Reviewsbylola
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#bookmail is a new book on 9/11, with a publication date of today! Gotta love Amazon and the fact that it was delivered this afternoon. 🥰

LeahBergen I was just reading about this one today. 3mo
Reviewsbylola It‘s very good so far! And horribly sad obviously. @LeahBergen 3mo
emilyhaldi I saw this today and meant to text you about it! Ofcourse it‘s already in your hands 😉 3mo
Reviewsbylola I‘m already halfway thru obvs. @emilyhaldi 3mo
britt_brooke I don‘t think my heart can handle another 9/11 book this year, but I‘ll read this eventually. I‘m still reeling over the Zuckoff book. 3mo
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