Can we still connect with 9/11?


It still has meaning. Atlanta = Georgia = America.

As a journalist, I knew some who were there. Just their verbal accounts, still today, sends shivers down my spine.

I won’t be protracted here as it’s not my personal site but, we Atlantan’s, certainly have something to say on this extraordinary day.

There is a convenience store I go to 3-4 times a week where the manager is a very nice lady who’s husband is in Iraq. I came in to buy gas there last week and I saw a glass container asking for donation for this same lady. Her husband was critically wounded in battle. His comrades and friends, reportedly, dead. It then became even more personal to me – this life, this war, this country.

Do you have any personal feelings about this date – 9/11 – you’re willing to share as Atlanta citizens? Perhaps you have a personal connection you want to talk about. Maybe, as Americans, you just want to talk. As Atlanta Metro citizens you might share a story that speaks about some aspect of 9/11 – religion, society, politics, personal knowledge or experiences. I’d love to hear it. This city has a wealth of cultural, religious and political diversity. Talk to me.

G-d Bless America – please – we need a good blessing right now.

5 Comments so far

  1. Victoria Larsen (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 6:28 am

    We can and we still connect.I was in the USA, NY in October 2005 first time after 12 years and I was absolutely, shell-shocked by the REAL impact which I saw there as the result of the 9/11 and of the Iraque war. My occupatiion is Nuclear, Chemical, Biological Defence Expert Controls with subject area PhD accredited by UNESCO [and by the Australian Commonwealth Government which is really rare], I was the officially appointed Expert with classified file for France-UK based operations [transnational applications] and was permanently located located on Cyprus in 1992-2001 and was relocated to Australia in 2001. I am now an Australian citizen, my contract had expired only in July 2007. Before that I was managing Chernobyl Controls, legendary DPKO UN program on that disaster which had wrecked USSR and its economics – I had reconfirmation of my 48 hours security access to disclose classified Chernobyl controls files directly from the NY DPKO USA HeadQuarters Human Resource in April 2006[I am Estonoan with connections to France since 1914].That program was fully and appropriately disclosed by me in April 2006 [for classified law enforcement in USA and Australia, military applications and USA press plus Interpol application in Russian Federation – to the RF Interpol liasion office].
    I am not easily impressed. My friends who were killed include Pavel Chlebnikov [July 2004], General Lebed and all his staff[2005], vice-president of the Central Bank of Russian Federation Andei Kozlov [October 2006]and more than 15 key bankers in the Russian Federation. My Expert controls activities included Weapons of Mass Destruction Controls and military/other industries controls with USA/UK/African operations and all RF/CIS/Asian/Middle East operations [I was brought up in Syria/Europe and that experience was used as well as my UN working experience prior to 1992]. I am the only Expert who risked going to Africa alone [RSA and Zambia/Zimbabwe on top military liasion control operation] and who worked on the unfamous InkomBank tenders within Cyprus off-shore zone applications controls in liasion with KPMG Cyrpus and Central Bank/ICC/RF plus Interpol.

    I am now 46 and I still feel like a lost child when I remember my week in NY in October 2005.
    It was acold blooded well constructed mass-murder, biggest in the history if we will calculate those who died immediately. There were and there are another victims. 9/11 will never go away from the history of mankind.

    Irague had weapons of mass destruction, latest findings in the UN headquarters with samples, which were wrongly labelled, confirmed that. I was on Cyprus and myself and my colleagues from NATO knew about it. We were pressing RF Interpol and their diplomatic liasion for the last three month because we knew that those samples were taken from the field by incompetent UN weapons inspectors.

    I do not know, if you are aware of the Federal Court of USA decision of 5 days ago that fined Irague 2,65 billion of USA for the servicepeople who were killed in Iraque compensation?
    Maybe those who are affected in your city are eligible.

    Write to me if you want, my residential and postal address is: 18 Crossing Road Aberfoyle Park SA 5159 Australia, it is best to write to Australia by registered mail with delivery confirmation [perso-to-person probably is the best, it is not expensive]; my e-mail address is, my profile is on yahoo under that e-mail identity. There is lots of personal ID fraud in Australia and I need to warn you that e-mail identity is not guaranteed here. My mobile phone [just in case] is +61-448986495 outside of Australia and it is 0448986495 inside Australia. My full name is Victoria Renee Ingrid Larsen [ before my divorce it was Victoria A. Gounko in the UN DPKO, other USA organizations and UK-France transnational law enforcement classified Expert appointment files]. Write to me – my heart is in the USA.

  2. John Dillard (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 11:09 am

    Faith on Trial/Overcoming Life’s 9/11’s

    Developing faith without fear is not an easy process. We all get caught up in the daily routine and the “me” world and the thought of doing anything without a little apprehension just seems irrational at best. However, I have learned by stepping out in my faith, God gives me the courage, the strength and the support to overcome my fears, my doubts and my apprehensions. I have seen it most in my career paths.

    I am a CPA and have been for more than twenty-five years. For many years, I worked for the big corporate firms and soon realized that it wasn’t for me. I have been running my own small practice for 18 years. It has provided me with so many opportunities to meet people, to get out in the community, to travel and live a comfortable life. I was breezing along and my company was very successful under John C. Dillard, CPA, however, God wasn’t quite satisfied with my content, comfortable life and position and challenged me. In 2004, he encouraged me to step out in my faith and walk the walk. For so many years I had kept the same clients, frequently gaining new clients and they didn’t have to meet any criteria, nor did I, except that I had to be honest, and good at what I did. For God, that wasn’t enough. I changed the name of my firm to His CPA, P.C. and held my breath. I knew God would provide in the end, but I really was quite nervous, waiting to see what would happen with the new name and the philosophy, “serving Him by serving you…one tax return at a time”. I lost some clients, offended some clients and had others who questioned my move. And I had clients seeking me out because I had been brave enough to step out and lay my faith out there for the world to see. I would love to say that the overall reaction was an abundance of new clients, but that wasn’t the case. However, I did begin to notice that the new clients I was getting were those who God had placed in my path for one reason or another. Since 2004, I have shared many things with my clients and feel like I know each of them on a different level than I ever would have if I had not changed the name and not stepped into my faith. Christians are so open when they walk into a place and find that the person they are talking to is on fire for God. They want to share, they want to talk, they want to let me in and they want to discuss my faith and theirs. When I look back on that move now, I wish I could say I dove into it headfirst without a thought simply because that is what God wanted me to do. That is not true. I had apprehensions, doubts, fears, questions but I knew that this was what God wanted me to do and I was in no position to question or decline his command.

    That same year, my wife and I took a cruise – a cruise that would forever alter my spare time. I felt an urge to write. Not just an urge to write but to create. I know, not the kind of thing you would decide to do while sitting on a beautiful ship with your mate overlooking a vast expanse of beautiful blue water and taking in all the beauty of God’s creative artistry. But one of the talents God alone has blessed me with is exhortation so write I did and in April 2004, my first Christian fiction novel was published. We were thrilled and I was halfway through my second one when God all but opened the bible to me and said, “Study Nehemiah, learn from Job – develop a relationship with them based on your own experiences, trials and tribulations and then share. Hence, the Inspiration Series was created. After several months of prayer to discover what it is God would have me write, I opened my Bible to the first page of the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament and there I discovered fresh revelations of which I had never before heard or seen. Discovering God’s grace and compassion, I studied and as God divinely guided my hand, I wrote A Voice of One and how Nehemiah, a layman, steps out to accomplish great things in God’s name. I, on a much smaller scale, had experienced my own Nehemiah moment. Just as Nehemiah was able to look after those about him, so are we called to help those about hurting and us who are in need. I have learned by being bolder in my faith it is easier to be who God has always made me to be. My own Nehemiah story began with my heart open and breaking and I had been in prayer and mourning for two plus years and my heart was burdened by God to help the oppressed. At the time, Georgia law did not require perpetrators of serious/felony crimes against individuals to compensate their victims for the resulting medical and counseling care resulting from the offense. It is here when God burdened my heart deeply. In December 2004, I learned California had a law on the books requiring the perpetrators of serious/felony crimes to pay for the victim’s medical and counseling care. When I heard the news, my heart was burdened for the people of Georgia and I set out to find out what it was God would have me do. I cast fear aside and stepped out with nothing but my faith and took this issue to the legislature of Georgia. I knew I was to see if a law might be passed to protect the people of Georgia. Within a week of God telling me to march, I was able to obtain a meeting with a Georgia Senator and within sixty days of my defining prayer, the proposed law and I were in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The law was unanimously agreed to by the committee and went to the Senate floor where it passed by a vote of 47-1. The law got stuck in the Georgia House of Representatives. During this time and afterwards I felt led to continually contact and lobby the Georgia Governor’s office although I was afraid those contacts were falling on deaf ears. I continued on in obedience, action, and prayer and felt God’s continued leading. To begin the 2005 Legislative Session, Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue sponsored the Crime Victim Restitutions Act of 2005, which set up a procedure for notification, and reimbursement by the perpetrators of the victim’s medical and counseling expenses. Eighty six percent of Georgia’s State legislature voted in favor of the bill with Governor Purdue signing it on April 11, 2005, and becoming law on July 1, 2005. I tell this story not to take any of the glory for myself, but simply to show that turning it over to God, having faith and overcoming fear, allows you to accomplish even the mightiest of feats.
    After completing my first inspirational book, God introduced me to Job and again, I found someone I could relate to with my experiences. Life is fraught full of paradoxical horrors bringing forth both excruciating physical pain and deep emotional sorrow, and Job’s story shines a light of what faith without fear is all about. Job loses everything in his life, both mentally and physically. He was challenged at every turn and yet discovering that God never left his side & believed in him during his darkest times. Despite ravenous trials, which arrive in quick succession, Job never deters in his faith choosing to believe God would ultimately redeem him. Job lives his life in pursuit of God while doing His work.

    I learned to lean into the pain by seeking God’s will to overcome all that comes my way. In learning more and writing about Job, I was inspired and motivated to great expectations, heightening and growing in my faith and my relationship with God by leaning on him during life’s fiery trials. God does not promise that our life will be easy but he does say that with him our yoke will be light. And that became very evident to me in November 2004. Maybe you have already dealt with your life’s biggest challenges, or perhaps you are in the midst of one right now. Over a several month period, each bit of news I was to receive brought me another step closer to what I felt was life’s end. In the fall of two thousand four, I began to experience a bit of discomfort in my lower abdominal area. I shared with my doctor the nature of my discomfort and the side effects and symptoms I had been experiencing. My doctor immediately referred me to a specialist who took exhaustive x-rays, sonar tests and cat scans, concentrating on my abdominal area. With each appointment, prod, and procedure, I became more and more concerned as to what the doctors were looking for and why they were so worried. My doctor never mentioned any particular disease but I knew he was screening for cancer. The end of November found my wife and I talking one morning as we readied ourselves for the day ahead. Within just a few moments the phone rang with the doctor confirming my steadfast belief and worst fear, I had cancer!

    Due to cancer’s aggressive nature, the surgery was set for late the following day. The surgery went well with the surgeon explaining what he had done and his belief that the procedure had been a success. I immediately began twenty radiation treatments, designed to eradicate any cancer cell remnants, which might still remain in my body, spanning over a period of five weeks. As the treatments wore on, I became increasingly more fatigued and often would have to rest for several hours after a treatment to regain my strength. Along with the exhaustion, I also found myself extremely nauseous to the point it was debilitating, making every muscle and joint in my body wrench in pain.

    Finally, the treatments were over and my physician advised that I might continue to feel tired and nauseous for some time due to the lingering effects of the radiation. Though we knew the symptoms could worsen, they soon were far more difficult than we expected. Though I began to struggle more each day, I continued to believe in God’s sovereignty and ability to guide me through this. I also thought my ordeal would soon be over and my health would quickly begin improving. Hoping to have an additional cat scan and blood work soon to ensure the cancer’s blight had been completely removed from my body, I waited, ready for God’s and the physician’s proclamation of my healing.

    The cancer surgery behind me, my radiation treatments complete, I was ready to begin life anew. Ready and poised to take on life’s 9/11’s; I looked forward to the day when the doctors would announce the successful elimination of the cancer from my body. My ordeal had already spanned several months and I was preparing for what lay ahead. I know my cancer was God ordained and therefore part of my destiny. However as time wore on, my health did not improve but quite the opposite. It soon got progressively worse as I waited, anticipating the moment when the tide would turn and my health would improve. But as I would soon learn, that was not going to happen anytime soon. Through a series of events, I ended up in the hospital in February with diverticulitis (a disease that in essence shuts down your colon) that just about killed me. I was in the hospital for a 4-week period and there were times we didn’t know if I would ever leave. As I lay in the hospital bed, I saw God work in so many ways and help me overcome my fear. Though in pain, I was in great peace knowing that I was as ready as any man could be to go and be with my Heavenly Father. Over the four-week period, I had an opportunity to witness to doctors and nurses and any one who came into my room. Without me even being aware, God was in my room every step of the way and while I didn’t always feel it, others did and many nights my wife and I lay awake talking of our faith, our walk with Christ and many, many prayers were said in the quiet darkness of my hospital room. My overall stay at the hospital turned out to be five weeks and then I had to return 6 months later to finish the operation. It was a very trying time for my family and for me, but by turning it all over to God and relying on my faith and not giving into my fear, I was able to gain strength and a deeper relationship with my Father. I have never seen a firestorm with fire falling from the sky as the one, which occurred in Job’s life, but I have watched events occur in my life and others that felt the same way.

    I have always tried to live in my faith. I have always had confidence and a sense of “Why not me?” But it is only through God’s grace and mercy and love that I have been able to simply forge ahead, taking whatever comes my way and dealing with it in a way that I think God would direct me to do. Having faith without fear is not an easy place to be, but it is definitely the most rewarding place. Full of blessings, failures, surprises, miracles, highs and lows – but having faith, sharing faith, taking on the world with God at your back – that helps ease the fear. I learned that whether serving in your family, your work, or globally, God has a task for you and he will always give you the tools you need to complete that task. By faith as small as that of a mustard seed, you can step out of the relative safety of your present position, and watch God guide and measure your steps. Seek after God with all your heart. Seek his ways allowing him to guide your very steps along your journey. By beckoning to the great helper, the Holy Spirit, we are able to tap into the strength of the Lord, one that surpasses all understanding and live our faith without fear.

    Dare to dream, dare to achieve, and most of all dare to accomplish something so great that it is doomed to failure lest Christ be in it!

    You can view John Dillard’s books and his CPA practice at or

  3. Annie (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 11:28 am

    Wow. That was the longest comment EVER.

    When I think of 9/11 now, I try to focus on the overwhelming sense of “oneness” that i felt in the county immediately afterwards. I had never felt anything like it before that, and it quickly dissipated into in-fighting and partisan arguing and the like, but for a week or so directly afterwards, we were a country united, and it was nice to see that. It is also nice to know that we can, at moments, put everything else aside, and just be. . .Americans. All the other things that it brought up in us are too big for me to get my head around.

  4. james (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

    i still connect…

  5. Seth (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    I was working for Turner in a building adjacent to CNN Center and my wife desperately wanted me to ditch work and come home because she feared CNN might be targeted. My job was actually in the communications department in charge of letting employees know what to do, so we were busy that day.

    Like Annie, I miss the connection we all felt that day. The sense that our humanity would trump those that respected life so little as to kill innocents in such a horrific way.

    We Americans were also one with the rest of the world, too, in our suffering. Terrorism wasn’t just a thing of the IRA and the Brits or Israel to worry about.

    And I think, to me, the biggest feeling I have is that of missed opportunity. How could the greatest country on earth not come up with a better solution to this problem? Why didn’t we care to help curb terrorism before it hit our shores?

    So I guess I’m both sad but hopeful. We’re still here and for a while we saw that the horror of those acts on 9/11 were counter-balanced by the beauty of helping one another.

    I don’t know if I have a point. I certainly don’t cry, but I don’t smile either on 9/11. It’s another day to try and be better than yesterday.

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