Service Members and Writing Fellows from The War Horse Reflect on Visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Service Members and Writing Fellows from The War Horse Reflect on Visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Derek McElroy, a War Horse Writing Fellow, writes in his notebook. Photo courtesy of Anna Hiatt.

Everyone who was alive that day, and many who were not yet born, has a story to tell about September 11. 

The War Horse is creating a home for these personal stories. In addition to reporting on the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and telling true stories about post-9/11 conflict and its aftermath, the War Horse publishes personal reflections by service members (both active duty and veterans), military families and civilians about war and its effects.

Earlier this year, the War Horse took its inaugural class of writing fellows—most of whom were veterans, some of whom were military spouses—to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Four fellows and the director of writing seminars reflected on their museum visit in essays for our "Remembering September 11" collection. Additional writers for the story series, which launched on the 15th anniversary of the attacks, have included veterans, spouses, civilians and the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. 

Annie Erling interned at the Holocaust Museum where she interviewed survivors and guided visitors through the museum. The yellow shoes in the 9/11 Memorial & Museum reminded her of the Holocaust Museum's infamous room of shoes.

Joy Craig stood in rapt silence in front of the TV as the second plane hit, and her job as a Marine Drill Instructor on Parris Island took on a whole new meaning.

Liesel Kershul fell in love with a freshly-minted Marine a year after September 11. 

Jenny Pacanowski felt filled with patriotism and devotion to the war cause after the attacks. She joined up and served, but came back wondering, Isn't there a better way?

David Chrisinger felt removed from the September 11 attacks, until he visited the museum and talked with a witness to the attacks.

By Anna Hiatt, Editorial Director, the War Horse