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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blue Sky Memories

by Chris Brady

274 words

SPENCER FINCH Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning, 
2014 Commission for National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Another September 11 anniversary passed this week and the social networks were filled with memories from the day. I couldn’t help thinking about 9/11 as a never-ending nightmare as I watched President Obama talk about sending fighter planes to the Middle East to control our newest nemesis ISIL.

Among the tributes and photos, I learned about the 2996 project, which lists the names of every victim and invites people to write tributes to the lost lives on blogs, Facebook or websites.  I scrolled down the list and read some of the tributes, wondering how friends and families manage through this day every year.

I found a woman my age, Kathleen Shearer of Dover, NH, who was on United flight 175 with her husband William. They were headed to LA to clean out the apartment of her father who had just moved into a nursing home and to meet her new granddaughter.  

An ordinary life immortalized by an extraordinary event.

I didn’t know anyone personally who died that day. I knew people who knew people, of course, didn’t everyone?  I just recall life standing still for a few days as we processed what happened and tried to figure out what’s next.

My enduring memory is the brilliant blue sky. To this day, whenever I experience a cloud free sky I think of it as a 9/11 sky. And for a moment, I know that life is still beautiful, despite the chaos and strife.

And now that I know her better, when I see a 9/11 sky, I’ll say a little prayer to Kathleen.

Next year in September, go to the 2996 project list and find someone to write about.

And enjoy a happy blue sky musical memory from my youth.


  1. Chris, remembering the blue sky on Sept. 11 is a compelling reminder of how life can change in an instant. I admire that you got to know Kathleen Shearer as a way to honor her and all those who lost so much that day. carol

  2. Thanks for the poignant recollection and the opportunity to do something positive. My blue sky moment is hearing "All You Need Is Love," the last song I heard on my car radio before I learned about the Twin Towers. I say a prayer every single time I hear it.