Remembrances on Patriot Day

September 11, 2015 • By

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

A flag flies at half-mastThe September 11 terrorist attack on the United States will always evoke a special emotion in me as an American, a New Yorker and a Social Security employee. On this day, we honor the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and in the Pentagon. We also salute the courageous men and women dedicated to the rescue efforts. This incomprehensible event changed us all.

Fourteen years have passed since we collectively experienced the turmoil and grief of September 11. That day was difficult and emotional and we each experienced it in a very personal way.  For those Social Security employees working in Manhattan at 26 Federal Plaza who heard the first jet, felt its shock wave, saw both towers ablaze and then evacuated under extreme conditions, the memory is indelible. So, too, for the New York Disability Determination Service (DDS) employees who worked in the shadow of the World Trade Center and escaped from the blaze and the rubble of collapsing buildings.

While we were all attempting to regain our equilibrium from that day, Social Security employees around the country made special efforts to help. We showed our strength and compassion and the value of both public service and Social Security. Through our efforts, over 5,000 individuals applied for survivors and disability benefits. The Agency’s response at such a critical moment in our nation’s history was truly uplifting. Many of the survivors of those who perished had their first Social Security payment on October 3, 2001. Our Social Security programs were essential to their well-being, reminding us that Social Security is more than a retirement program.

As I reflect on the events of September 11, I am justly proud of how Social Security employees responded to those events.  Regional office, field office, program service center and teleservice center staff all worked tirelessly to reach out to the families of the victims and overcome the challenges that this tragedy presented to the agency and to us individually. I’m sure that all of us — whether we worked in Lower Manhattan or at the centers on Pier 94, Liberty State Park and DC, whether we took claims from family members by telephone or in person, or worked to ensure that 15,000 individuals whose disability files remained at 22 Cortlandt Street (the location of the DDS) were not disadvantaged or whether we assisted law enforcement efforts — will  always remember those experiences. We persevered and showed our indomitable spirit, and experienced an amazing outpouring of hope and healing as we moved forward.

Looking back at my own experiences with the families of the victims of September 11, I realize that time will never diminish the force of the stories they told. The stories were in their eyes and faces and in the pictures of the victims all around us.  I will never forget these families: a young man in his mid-20s who lost his wife of two years, had a 6-month old child at home and could never stop crying; the father of a policeman and fireman who lost both sons in their efforts to rescue people at the World Trade Center; two little boys (aged 3 and 5) playing with their father’s identification card while their grandfather applied for Social Security benefits; the pregnant mother with three children and no idea of how the family would financially survive. I cannot forget them.

Despite the highly charged environment of the days that followed, all of us at Social Security pulled together to provide support to those who lost family members and loved ones. It will always remind me that we are one family with amazing resiliency and that we will always come together to help those in their time of need.

Today, New York City is a strong, dynamic city. It has lifted itself and is moving forward. We see this by visiting the September 11 Memorial Museum and Freedom Tower. The streets of downtown Manhattan are filled with people. There is a hum in the air and an incredible energy.

As we pause for a moment of silence to remember those we lost on September 11, fourteen years ago, we should not forget those families Social Security helped, nor all the children who are now teenagers and young adults.


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About the Author

Beatrice Disman, Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security and former Regional Commissioner of the New York Region

Beatrice Disman, Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security and former Regional Commissioner of the New York Region


  1. Marta P.

    God bless America.


    Jonas after reading your post I feel so sad for have no hope…to have nothing to look forward too after death. You seem depressed due to your health. I too have health issues, however, I do believe in God and I do believe that God has allowed us free will. Just look at the beauty all around.. look into the eyes of a young child, the beautiful colors in a birds friend I will pray that somehow you will find the inner peace that you. I am not going to try and convenience you that there is a God that is the beauty of living in this country we all have choices. I wish to live my life believing that there is good in everyone and yes as difficult as it can be at times there are some people that we have to really look deep down in side to find the beauty. May you have peace in your life. GOD BLESS AMERICAN AND GOD BLESS ALL OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMAN WHO PAID WITH THEIR LIVES TO GIVE US THE FREEDOM TO WRITE WHATEVER WE WISH!

  3. Oscar C.

    I remember, I was in the US Army Reserves. I was called in to our Headquarters, slept on the floor waiting for reports during the night. We knew that eventually will be going to war.

  4. Lic. P.

    My wife and I honor the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and Pentagon. We put today morning our American Flag in the porch’s house. We never forgot the more three thousand victims of the terrible terrorist attack against this American nation.
    God bless America!
    Pierre Millet
    Cuban lawyer &
    Proudly U.S. citizen

  5. Felicia H.

    All is forgiven but not forgotten. Thank you for this awesome tribute.

  6. Michael J.

    Thank you for such a heart-warming reminder of what we all went through and, more importantly, how we became stronger and more wiser because of the shared tragedy of that horrific. day.

    I too wrote about it and I’d like to share it with you from my Blog post below:

  7. Janet

    I remember exactly where I was standing and the numbness I felt as we listened to the news of what
    was happening. I pray for those who lost loved ones that tragic day as well as the families of all of those who worked to rescue the victims and the trauma they must still feel today. May GOD BLESS AMERICA and remind all of us of how blessed we are to live in the United States of
    America. IN GOD WE TRUST!

  8. Felix

    Thank you for remembering…

    • JONAS G.

      and God Damn Islam..!

  9. JONAS G.

    I knew the area where the Twin Towers stood, since before they were built. I walked through the cobblestoned streets and shopped in various stores that occupied the old “counting houses” in that area, that remained from the days when that area was the New York merchant ships’ docks, used from colonial days, before steamships, when ships were driven by wind on their sails… Then in 1967 and ’68, I saw the Twin Towers under construction, starting with the discovery of the burnt remains of the “Tiger”, a Dutch sailing ship, from the era when New York was New Amsterdam, under Peter Stuyvesant… I walked into the Twin Towers for the first time, in 1974, where I used to have lunch at the Customs House cafeteria, within the towers. That was before you had to use ID cards to enter any downtown building anywhere.
    Then I visited the observation deck often, after making long lines, just to take pictures with my Kodak Instamatic camera. I went to my company’s Christmas party celebrated on the observation deck, in 1991 or ’92.
    American Express Company had offices in those buildings, and I walked through the huge lobby and all the stores, and shopped each day in the Duane Reade pharmacy, before crossing the bridge over to reach my office at 100 Vesey Street. Memories. Sadness. Huge grief. And since that fateful day, my absolute hard bent desire to eradicate Islam, from the face of the World. I have cried over all the documentaries about the Twin Towers, and I am a full supporter of Pamela Geller, and her doctrine about the topic. A delicate topic; yet one that can no longer be subdued by political correctness. I watch the documentary “The battle of Vienna, 1683” every day, for inspiration to erase Islam and its defective human specimens, from the Earth, with absolute and total attrition, as may be necessary. And I just thought I would let you all read it, and be appalled, before you erase this post. I am happy that someone read it, at least. I will die soon, so I urgently submit to you, that unless you all deal with the faulty and very criminal Islamic humanoids, your offspring may be living under Sharia doctrine, that is creeping into the world as you read these fateful words. Do some homework, and work on your wholehearted effort to do what must and very likely, will, be done… Total, Islam..! It is a very criminal bucketful of putrid ox feces, and it has got to GO…!

    • Amy

      You seem very knowledgeable (sp?) about this topic. I appreciated your sharing. Why do you say you will die soon?

      • JONAS G.

        Heart disease; Cardiomyopathy and kidney failure; GFR, 35%… Now in line for dialysis. Very happy to die and go to the very same place I was, before I was born. And besides, I refuse to live beyond the day that I can no longer make it to the bathroom on time, or, on my own. My humble intelligence would not survive the boredom of heaven, I would kill myself, and die again, if I were sent to such a boring place..! And hell? well, I would kill myself there, all over again..! That is why I researched the matter thoroughly, concluding that I will be going to the very same address where I resided, before I was born: Nowhere..! By now, you might have guessed that I do not believe in supernatural things or imaginary friends, dwelling in the stratosphere, invented by ignorant desert nomads from the Middle East, during the iron age… That “believe” that I believed? Well, it went away on September 11, 2001. We all know that God may have created the universe, but what folk ignore, is that after He created everything, He never again had anything to do with His creation. He allows everything to happen, to some of the most innocent folk on His planet, as we may all confirm on the following dates: December 26, 2004; January 12, 2010, and of course the reason for this thread: September 11th, 2001. But to get back to the topic, well, I will use the abjectly false and brutally delusionary statement: “God”… bless Social Security, rather than thanking the democratic process that created Social Security, by a Democratic president: Franklin D. Roosevelt. Yes, indeed..!

        • Mark B.

          Although President Franklin Roosevelt was a Christian man that practice his faith tremendously!! God Bless!

  10. Barbara

    Thank you for having this remembrance to honor those victims and their families. We lost a relative that day, a young man newly married. But what I am most thankful for is what we gained that day. Strength from God to overcome hatred and work for world peace wherever we are. God bless you for your continued work to help. My prayers are with you and all of us effected by this event.

    • JONAS G.

      God, AKA ALLAH, was responsible for the horror, for He allowed it to happen..!

      • debbie

        “The GOD of the Bible is not Allah and Allah is not the GOD of the Bible!”

        • JONAS G.

          You sound like a very young and ignorant person, unworthy to add comments, unless you are fully conscious of what your fingers are keying in. Please research what you posted, and keep what you will learn and confirm, to yourself. You cannot possibly fathom, how much we do not care, that you ignore, or choose to ignore, facts. Which will always be true, whether you want to believe them, or not. Allah, dear child, is the very same dude, as Yaweh, or Elohim, or your, what did you call Him? God of the Bible..? You do not know the truth, because you cannot handle, the truth..! We are fortunate to live in America. And we are very fortunate and have all been absolved, by the Supreme Court’s decision, about the Dover, Pa. debate on the topic of “Pandas and People” You now have all the references to help your emancipate yourself. Do research and you shall avoid embarrassment. Really.

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