During the 9/11 disaster and afterward, Los Angeles residents wanted to feel connected to those suffering from the physical effects of losing loved ones. We talked about the horror, gave each other knowing looks. Signs appeared on neighborhood telephone poles to place lighted candles at certain locations by a specific time. Cars driving by these spots would honk in sympathy if drivers saw anyone on the sidewalk. American flags were being sold at gas stations on the major streets and boulevards all over LA. Drivers placed them on their cars to show their solidarity as patriotic Americans.

The Internet was filled with patriotic messages and inspirational poems. I decided to send a brief and loving message to connect with everyone on my Email list and had a wonderful response. All of us wanted to get in touch and keep in touch, as we called family and friends. All around LA there were prayer vigils and religious services scheduled.

One of the Memorial Fountains


I was fortunate I lost no one I knew in the tragedy. When the California victims of the disaster were announced, I took particular note of the death of the Emmy award-winning producer of TV’s “Frasier,” one of my favorite shows. He and his wife were on one of the planes and had been heading home to LA. Particularly poignant was their last name—Angell. Although I wasn’t positive of its pronunciation, I decided it must be angel.

One friend shared the experience of her son, a singer in a rock band who had been in New York City for the MTV awards. The group was in their hotel room a mile from the World Trade Center and heard each of the planes flying low toward their targets and then the terrific explosions when they hit the towers. Another friend, whose son was living in Brooklyn, told me how devastated he felt as he watched the constant paper debris from the World Trade Center buildings blowing over the river and all over Brooklyn. It was difficult for all of us to comprehend, much less deal with the emotional weight of what had happened.

I noted in my diary that there was already talk of war, and I hoped it would be a small one. I wrote, “Now we will suffer losses of much of our freedom when it comes to travel. There will be heightened security measures – no accompanying passengers to boarding areas, no private cars, no curbside check-in, lots of baggage search, long lines, hours to spend at the airport – all to guarantee safety, or so they hope.”

One of the highlights of those days was a telethon broadcast on September 21 featuring Neil Young singing John Lennon’s very moving “Imagine,”  Celine Dion belting out “God Bless America,” and Paul Simon performing his “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” Even Willie Nelson participated with all the verses from “America the Beautiful.”

A year after the disaster, Una, a friend from Northern California, visited Manhattan and walked down to the site. “I was overwhelmed with grief at seeing the gaping hole, this open wound on the heart of America, still raw, so vulnerable.  Walking by the small church next door, posters and photos of missing loved ones were still attached to the fence.  It was a heart-wrenching sight to read each plea for help in finding a loved one.  The wind whipped up, creating a dusty whirlwind of the ashes and dust in the hole.  I wondered whose ashes were being resifted.”

It took ten years but the resulting memorial is worth the wait.


Victoria Giraud   

 Author of Kindle Books for sale in the near future:                                                            

Melaynie’s Masquerade

16th century historical fiction – Disguised as a cabin

boy, Melaynie Morgan ships off with Francis Drake

to the Caribbean in search of Spanish treasure


Mama Liked Army Men

A Tale of Two Fathers

The perils of military life

Shores of Tripoli

Memories of Libya in the 1950s

Personal history


Weird Dates & Strange Mates

Non-fiction with names changed to

Protect the innocent or not…









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