Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Thoughts: That Day in September by Artie Van Why

That Day in September: A Personal Remembrance of 9/11 by Artie Van Why
published 2006
84 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

We all have our stories to tell of where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. This is one of them. In That Day In September Artie Van Why gives an eyewitness account of that fateful morning. From the moment he heard "a loud boom" in his office across from the World Trade Center, to stepping out onto the street, Artie vividly transports the reader back to the day that changed our lives and our country forever. That Day In September takes you beyond the events of that morning. By sharing his thoughts, fears and hopes, Artie expresses what it was like to be in New York City in the weeks and months following. The reader comes away from That Day In September with not only a more intimate understanding of the events of that day but also with a personal glimpse of how one person's life was dramatically changed forever.

My thoughts:

I haven't spent a lot of time reading books about 9/11. I remember it. I watched it unfold from my living room. The few books and movies I have spent time with felt lacking in some very integral way, and I chose to keep this piece of history as a memory I would revisit without the aid of another's words.

But something about this book felt different, and I decided to give it a try. I was right - it was different from the beginning. For the first time, I felt like I was starting to understand what it would have been like to be at Ground Zero watching this tragedy firsthand. The emotions of the day, and the weeks and months that followed, were expressed in a way that made me feel connected, as though this was my story too. The author's straightforward telling of his remembrance of that day was respectful and understated, and I feel it honors the memory of the goodness and hope that was seen even through the tragedy.

"You know, I don't believe I had witnessed the wrath of anyone's God that morning. What I had been a witness to when I looked up at those burning towers was the ultimate evil that man is capable of. The evidence of just how deep hatred could run, how far it could go.

But I had also been a witness to something else that day - down on the ground. I witnessed the ultimate goodness of man, the evidence of how strong courage could be, to what lengths it would go." (p. 62)

I don't really think a "review" is appropriate for this type of work - one man's personal experience of tragedy. So I'll just say it resonated deeply with me, and if you think you might need to read it, for whatever reason, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Finished: 8/17/11
Source: the author - thank you!


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a very powerful book!

Zibilee said...

Sandy also reviewed this book and said that it was very affecting and thoughtful. I am glad to hear that you had the same experience with it and that it touched you. Great review, Elizabeth.