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IMG_1093By Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos

In honor of September 11, 2001, we here at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos are taking a short break to talk about the day changed all of us forever. In addition to the emotional toll on our country, there were many changes our country would experience after that time- from bag checks at Disney parks to new airport screening procedures at airports. Here are some of the stories from that day from our family at Tips from the Disney Diva.



D’land Diva- The day began like any other. I was driving to work, shortly after seven a.m. pacific time. I was a kindergarten teacher. On my normal music station there was lots of talking so I was getting ready to turn the station when I heard “crash” and the word “terrorism.”  Looking around me on the road, I saw cars pulled over on the side of the road and pretty much every person had the same shocked look on their faces that I’m guessing I had.

I drove to work not knowing what to expect. Two police cars were circling the school. I headed to my classroom and tried to prepare for my day. Fellow teachers kept coming into my room. No one knew what was happening- there were planes with bombs in the air? Terrorists were flying planes into buildings all over the country?  The news media was reporting every little thing, some accurate information, some not. Our principal was making announcements like ” We need to carry on, we have constant police patrols in case of danger.” When the children began showing up in my class, some of the parents were crying, afraid to leave their kids at school. Some kids never showed up for school that day. Some parents who worked in downtown Los Angeles were told not to come in because there were threats against the buildings there. Some parents had already gone into work earlier that morning were told to just go home.

I taught that day, trying to answer questions from five year old’s like ” Why did a bad man crash a plane?” Some of the kids decided to play bad guys during our center time, turning blocks into buildings and having planes crash into them. They were expressing their feelings through play. I had to fight off the tears throughout the day as my students were trying to understand what none of us understood. Why?

A short time after September 11, 2001, I visited Disneyland. It was practically empty. There were bag checks, bomb sniffing dogs and a very noticeable police presence throughout the parks. I remember seeing two police officers and a dog as I was about to get on a ride. It was a little bit unnerving. I didn’t return to Disneyland for quite sometime after that. When I did return, the rest of the country was experiencing the same shift in safety precautions and it was clear things had changed.



Tangled Diva – I had always heard people say that they remember where they were when we landed on the moon or when JFK was shot, but I never had a moment like that in my life. And, honestly, still wish I didn’t. But, sadly, on September 11, 2001, I had that moment. I vividly remember where I was. I was commuting to the University of Montevallo finishing up my last semester of college. I had a class in the gymnasium, and I was in class when the two planes hit the towers. When I came out of class, the Kinesiology secretary was running down the hall hysterically yelling that we were under attack. None of us were quite sure who “we” was and thought for a minute she was referring to our school. She finally calmed down enough to fill us in on the happenings. We immediately fled to the nearest television just in time to see the first tower fall. We all sat there in horror and complete silence as tears streamed down our faces. None of us really knew what to do or say. I also remember sticking around to see if my afternoon class would be cancelled, which it was not. My professor said that interrupting our lives is just what whoever did this wanted, and he refused to give in. One of the guys in our class even had a father who worked in the Pentagon, but luckily he was okay. It was a day, really a week, that I will never forget. A million things ran through my head as a prayed constantly for those directly impacted by this violence. I lost a big piece of innocence that day, because until that day I was still somewhat in a child-like denial that this type of evil truly existed.


Diva Viva- September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday. I don’t usually remember what day of the week specific dates fall on, but that is a Tuesday I will never forget. I was so happy that even though I was in my first semester at college, I had figured out how to get Tuesday off until 2 pm, and I got to sleep all morning long! My roommate had also been lucky, and the two of us were sound asleep, blissfully unaware of the world around us, until the girl in the room next door ran into our room without knocking, turned on the TV and said, “Wake up and watch!” She didn’t have to say any more. We had slept through the first plane crash, but she turned on the TV just in time for us to watch, horrified, as the second plane crashed live on the screen. It seemed like a movie, but the announcers on the TV assured us that this was real life. The rest of the day is a blur of phone calls to friends and family to make sure everyone was alright and helping to support my friends from New York who were unable to reach their families and didn’t know what their fate may be. Only later did I learn about the family friends who had family on the planes leaving from Boston and how many people I knew could have been on those planes because they took those routes often. Flying would never be the same, especially out of Boston, visiting New York would never be the same, and being an American would never be the same. So much changed that Tuesday.


British Diva- September 11th 2001 was the day that changed the world.

Until then I genuinely believed that August 23rd 2001 was the day that changed the world because I had become a Mum (Mom) for the 3rd time.

Our baby son was just 19 days old and we were preoccupied; both of us busy doing all the usual new parent stuff like changing nappies (diapers) and giving feeds not to mention caring for our other 2 small children.

That’s probably why we didn’t have the TV or radio on and missed the unfolding tragedy…until the phone rang.

I picked up the receiver: “Hello?’  

My Dads voice simply said ‘Can you understand all the evil that’s in this world?”

I sighed and replied with “I beg your Pardon Dad?” 

Dad sadly murmured  “Go and put the news on…”

With the phone under my chin and cradling my baby son in my arms and switched the telly on.

I remember just standing there watching in utter disbelief as the second plane hit…. had I accidentally tuned into one of those documentary style movies?

No, this was for real and I knew in that moment it had changed all our worlds. Forever.



Florida Diva- I may write as Florida Diva, but I currently live in Canada, as I did on a fateful day 13 years ago. September 11th 2001 was just supposed to be another day with my family and I adjusting to the addition of our newest member who had been born only 8 days before. Shortly after 7 AM my husband came in and turned on the TV as I still lay asleep with the new baby.  It didn’t take me long to become fully alert as my husband and I began discussing the tragedy that was playing out before us on CNN. And then it happened, that single moment as we watched the second plane enter the picture and everything became instantly clear. That fateful moment when the world changed forever and it was heart breathtakingly obvious that the world my children would grow up in would be like an alternate universe compared to the one I enjoyed as a child.

In the hours that followed, the skies over my home grew eerily quiet as all planes were grounded and many of my neighbors opened their kitchens and homes to help house people from all over the world that had become unexpectedly stranded in Canada. The roads were almost completely void of traffic as we took the new baby to his first doctor’s appointment and the runways we passed at the airport had been turned into a parking lot for all the diverted planes. In a matter of seconds, our world had become smaller and more connected in defiance of a heartbreaking attempt to take our freedom and simply, our way of life.

I often wonder if they know how miserably they’ve failed? I wonder if they know the pride and gratitude we feel for our troops that have stood shoulder to shoulder with other troops from around the world to not only protect us, but the citizens of those countries where the cowards came from? I wonder if they know, that as long as we teach our children to have strength, courage, tolerance and respect that they’ll never win and that none of the people that we lost that day are forgotten?

Staying warm My rays of hope; Small, Medium and Large Florida Devos.



Character Diva- The 9/11 attack was definitely a day to remember. I was a college freshman at the time, living in California with my parents and two younger sisters while attending the local junior college. I remember that morning I only had one class that day, and while my dad usually let me sleep in, I remember him coming into my room, calling my name, and telling me I had to come out and see this.

Both of my sisters who were in high school had already left for that day, and my mom had gone to work. But having more flexibility in his schedule, my dad was still home and when I came out into the living room, I saw that he had the news on showing the devastating aftermath.

To be honest, I don’t remember at what part I started watching TV. I don’t recall if both towers had been hit yet, or the details of the Pentagon attack, or if the attacks had already finished. But what I do remember is seeing all of the faces of people confused, grief-stricken, and not sure if they should leave the scene, try to help, or just stand there in a daze as they tried to process the horror of that day.

When I arrived at my college that day for my 9 am class, many of my classmates were not there. My instructor, who was also one of the college’s counselors and advisers, had us gather together to talk about the events. One of the women in my class had several family members in New York, and several who had been affected by the incident. While she had shown up to class, she was very emotional and had said she had been desperately trying to get a hold of her relatives.

While I can’t be sure, I believe we even had a moment of silence for all of those who had been directly affected. Class was quickly dismissed (along with all of the classes at the college), and we were sent home to spend time with our families and to pray and think of those who were affected by the tragedy.

The next few days were full of lots of prayers, speaking with friends, and watching the news as my friends, family, and I all tried to come to understand how something so horrific could occur, but it was also full of recounting the brave stories of the men and women who worked together to try and help one another.

I truly believe evil exists in this world. And 9/11 was a horrible, tragic, and evil event in history. But I also believe that while evil exists, goodness is even stronger, and it is the times of our greatest trials, our greatest sufferings, and our greatest adversity, where we can come together and make a stand and say that our love for our fellow man and our desire to persevere and help those in need is stronger than any hatred we may face.

As we remember the 13th anniversary of 9/11, I continue to pray for all of those affected. Those who have lost loved ones: family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and especially for the children who were born never knowing a family member who was taken away too soon. Let us pray for peace and unity, not only in our own country, but around the world.

I want to close with two quotes, from people I believe who summed it up best:

“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic, and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom. -Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City

“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us. –Sen. John Kerry


Jersey Diva-I was attending East Stroudsburg University which is located in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.  After my morning classes, I was driving to work at a nearby resort and I heard about the planes hitting the towers on the radio.  Once I got to the resort, we were told we couldn’t listen to the radio or watch the news because most of our guests were from the NY/NJ area and we didn’t want to ruin their vacations. I really didn’t grasp the severity of what was going on because I wasn’t able to hear or see what was going on. I hated being so far from my family during this terrible time.  My siblings were in Jersey and my parents were in Italy.  That was the hardest since they were due to travel back to Jersey on Sept. 13th and, of course, we weren’t sure whether they would be traveling home or not.  My boyfriend’s (now husband) evening class was cancelled and we spent the entire evening watching the news. My husband decided, that day, to join the military once he graduated. In April 2003, he left for basic training in the Army. September 11, 2001 was a difficult day for everyone and it’s one I will never forget.


Canadian Diva- It was one of the most scary times in my lifetime as I remember distinctly the day it happened. I was watching TV and then the news of the first plane, hitting the World Trade Center appeared on the television. I was living with my mother and stepfather at the time and I SCREAMED for them to come downstairs as we watched in horror. We couldn’t believe what was happening and seeing so many people fleeing for their lives on live television and many sadly, dying. Toronto, being so close to New York City, we were all scared, wondering which city would be next. There was this really eerie feeling in the air for the next few days, while traveling the streets of the city I lived in.

What I also remember, the days, the weeks, the months after 9/11 was how close Canada and America became. There was this solidarity between the two countries. A patriotic feeling that although we live at opposite sides of the border, we will support each other. I recall stories of planes being diverted from the USA on the fateful day to various cities on the East Coast of Canada. And the Canadians who took in the many worried American travelers who couldn’t go home. They brought food, provided shelter, friendship and warmth to those that needed it during the unsettled times. I remember volunteers all going down to help months later. And all of us cried with our American brothers and sisters as well as our own whom we may have lost in this tragedy.

My Stepbrother, Martin is a firefighter in Toronto. After 9/11 he designed a Baseball hat with “FDNY” on the front and on the back, the American and Canadian flags crossed together, stating “United We Stand”. These hats were sold and proceeds went to the various charities of 9/11. I remember wearing mine everywhere and people commenting on what a great hat it was to show our camaraderie with the USA during the troubled times.

The World changed so much after 9/11 and it’s such a scary place, but it made me realize that out of darkness, many many good people emerge. And hopefully the kindness and goodness of the hearts of humankind will prevail. God bless those who lost loved ones. May their loved ones all Rest in Peace.