September 12, 2018

Remembering the female heroes of 9/11

Share this pen


A decade after the horrifying events of 9/11, the female heroes who saved lives at Ground Zero were still fighting for the recognition they deserved. 

Back in 2011, Soledad O'Brien told the stories of those brave women in a documentary titled "Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11."

She shed light on the heroic efforts of the female firefighters, first responders, and officers who not only risked their lives but had their stories erased in the days that followed.

O'Brien interviewed rescue and recovery workers who still battled health effects ten years on, and who still mourned for the deaths of the colleagues. 


Read more on our Twitter account, @amomama_usa. 

Source: Shutterstock

O'Brien said there where a million stories to tell, and she hoped that her documentary could bring recognition to a handful of those brave souls. 


"I did not expect that it would be so hard to hear those stories when I first heard about the project, and then you realize hearing people’s grief over and over again is hard to take sometimes."


Tobin sustained severe injuries during the terror attacks – a glass pane lodged in her back, and a cinder block cut into her skull – but she still assisted those in need. 

O'Brien wrote that Tobin "rose from the debris like some kind of superhero and rescued people who were in a panic" and she refused to stop despite her injuries. 



Berkman, a firefighter, still mourns the lives of the 343 firefighters who worked by her side that day and who lost their lives. They were her colleagues and friends. 

Berkman also filed a lawsuit against the New York City back in the eighties that paved the way for women to be accepted into the fire department without discrimination. 

“I don’t think of myself as just opening the door for girls and women. I opened doors for everyone. I think of myself as expanding the idea of how wrong gender stereotypes are for boys and girls.”



Officer Smith lost her life when the South Tower collapsed, but not before getting dozens of people out of harm's way by directing them with her flashlight. 

Smith controlled the mass hysteria and prevented the exit paths from being blocked by directing people to safety and telling them not to look at the scenes of devastation. 

One of the people she saved, Martin Glynn, said Officer Moira's bravery was without heraldry. He suggested that a monument of Moira holding her flashlight as she did on that day would be "an excellent way to pay tribute."


Source: Shutterstock


O'Brien shared their stories, and many others who were "slighted in the days following the attacks because they heard talk of a brotherhood of rescue workers." 


She hopes that it would inspire other women to reach for their dreams: 

"There is nothing like seeing a real-life hero and dreaming you could be one too."

Source: Shutterstock



This year, the 44 victims from United Flight 93 were also honored with a new wind-chime memorial in the Pennsylvania field where their plane crashed. 

The passengers and crew gave their lives trying to regain control of the plane to prevent it from being used like Flight 11, Flight 175, and Flight 77.

Flights 11 and 175 hit the World Trade Centre and Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, but Flight 93 was intended for the White House. 

Various other memorial services have been arranged to commemorate the 17th year after the attacks. A list can be viewed here