Salon, September 2021
In a 2018 interview with Lisa Luckett, whose husband Teddy worked and died in the World Trade Center building on September 11, 2001, Luckett told Salon one memory she never wants to forget from that horrific day was the “beauty,” “grace,” “compassion,” and “incredible strength of the human spirit” that followed.
“I never expected people to show up for me,” Luckett said. Yet they did.
Like many survivors and family members of those who passed away on September 11, 2001, Luckett was struck by the unique, communal sense of unity that followed. In New York City, service members and citizens dubbed the “Bucket Brigade” volunteered on their own to pass buckets of debris to investigators as they searched for human remains. Stories of civilian helpers, from taxi drivers to Hudson River rescue boats evacuating people from Manhattan, made headlines.
There is no shortage of think pieces on how Americans united around the tragedy of 9/11. The nation was in shock and grieving, but they were in their grief together. This so-called unity infiltrated the very rhetoric people used to refer back to this day. A benefit concert was billed as “United We Stand”; in remembering the awful tragedies, newscasters would often repeat the line, “today, we are all New Yorkers.”