Today is the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11…

In a way it seems like a lifetime… there are those who were not even born back then who are getting ready for high school now. I remember Vanessa and I were driving to Columbus for a doctor’s appointment. We were just getting off I-270 heading for Westerville when I get a cell call from my dear friend Michael Falzarano. He told me a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I couldn’t grasp the reality of what he was telling me. ‘I’m parking, let ma call you right back,’ I said. Five minutes later my truck was parked and I called him back. By that time the cell towers were down in New York and there was no way to get through. Vanessa and I had our appointment but the phones were still out in the New York area. We stopped at a Sam’s Club of all places on the way home and on the screens of fifty TV’s in the electronic department, we saw the first tower fall. There was also the plane at the Pentagon, not far from where my son and his mother lived… the phones were out there too… and then the crash in Pennsylvania…

As the day unfolded it we learned that the first plane impacted the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald where our friend David Weiss worked… and that he and so many others… was gone. The world as we knew it was gone as of that day. There are so many who were not directly touched by that horror who seem to have forgotten, or perhaps never really knew, the impact of that nightmare.

The New York area has always been home to my friend Jack Casady and myself. No matter where we voted, New York was always home too. The extended Hot Tuna has always been richly populated with first responders and men and women on the job. Our FDNY friend Bob Kelley took Vanessa into the pit in November… his brother Tom was one of the Fallen. Bels Belson another fine man and music lover would never see another show.

There were so many… and in that horror, so many acts of bravery and love and commitment to our fellow man.

I shall take these memories to the grave with me.

This is not a perfect world, but I live in the greatest country on earth. My grandparents came here over a hundred years ago to follow an evolving dream. Nothing could ever make me want to leave. Time moves inexorably on as it does and current events become history. For me, 9/11 will always be with me… a day on which we saw the worst and best in humanity.

I have heard people I consider to be morons talking conspiracies… I have nothing to say to them.

On this day I honor all those who serve in New York, and in D.C. and those brave souls who died in that field in Pennsylvania. Those we lost will always live in my heart… this is not a choice… it is how it must be.


  1. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by johno

    @John B
    Who are you talking about. The Pope or King Tut?

  2. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by John B

    I felt the same way johno when i heard him speak in Philadelphia. There was something about that voice…..@johno

  3. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by John B

    Thanks for sharing Mark.@Mark K

  4. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by Gary Abersold

    Wonderful heartful recount and tribute. God bless you and you’re family.
    Gary Abersold

  5. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by carey georgas

    Well, I was in a pinch, because those 7th grade football games only have 6 minute quarters, and a run to the bank would have taken half the game. I felt blessed, and that’s a sign of grace, to me.

  6. Comment made on September 14, 2016 by johno

    Things like that has happened to me throughout my life. For instance waiting in line for a papal speech down at the Battery in 1978. I was waiting in line to see Pope John Paul II – It was sold out. I didn’t have a ticket but as I came down to the final few yards to the entrance someone turns around and hands me a ticket. I had goosebumps when he approached the podium it suddenly stopped raining and the sun came out. Same thing happened to me when the King Tut treasures exhibition came to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – it was also sold out. I was on the line with a friend and no tickets. We were both highly psychedelic and someone just turns around and handed us 2 extra tickets. I looked into King Tut’s eyes on his gold and turquoise mask and he spoke to me. It has happened numerous times throughout my life – kinda freaky. Many, many times it used to happen at Hot Tuna shows I would go down to the sold out venue without a ticket and check to see if I was on the backstage list – and sure enough I was on it. I don’t know if it’s karma or grace or just being in the right place at the right time. Kinda leaning towards karma. Onward indeed.
    @Carey Georgas

  7. Comment made on September 13, 2016 by Carey Georgas

    This is a little off topic, but I gotta share. I spent my last $7 cash on a burger and fries at sonic this afternoon. Went home and changed clothes to go to my grandson’s football game, thinking all the while, “Better stop by the atm and get a little cash before I go.” Being of a certain age, I proceeded directly to the game. When I got there and parked, my immediate thought was, “Shit!” But I went ahead and trudged to the stadium with the lame hope that it was free admission. Nope. I asked the ticket person how much. “$3”. I stepped aside, letting the guy behind me go and figuring maybe the I could talk the ticket taker into holding my driver’s license while I went in and found someone to spot me $3 (I live in a small town). All of a sudden, the dude ahead of me, not knowing my plight unless he read my mind, turned around and said “Here”, handing me a ticket. That says more about grace than any post I’ve made since we started talking about it . Onward, I say!

  8. Comment made on September 13, 2016 by rich l

    Thanks for sharing that incredible story – I love stories with happy endings. Keep it up Mark – hopefully you can reach those you’re trying to help.@Mark K

  9. Comment made on September 13, 2016 by johno

    Your story is truly amazing. Whoever says miracles don’t happen – haven’t heard your story. Another example of the power of prayer. Keep your Lamps…

  10. Comment made on September 13, 2016 by carey georgas

    I don’t know what you’d call it either, Mark, but the common theme I see in your message is one of gratitude. Your story is very uplifting. I wish nothing but peace and blessing for you.@Mark K

  11. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Barbara Jacobs

    I wish only the best for you.
    It was a difficult time for all of us New Yorkers.
    At times it seemed insurmountable.@Mark K

  12. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Joey Hudoklin

    @Mark K
    Thank you for sharing your story Mark.
    I relate

  13. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Mark K

    It’s amazing to me who our lives intersect with history and events beyond our control and yet at the same time our choices and behaviors impact our lives just as much if not more. I cannot ever forget 911. Watching the towers fall from my rooftop in Downtown Brooklyn, my wife walking home from Manhattan 7 miles, barefoot and bleeding across the Brooklyn Bridge through the smoke and the dust and in the days that followed with the pall of smoke overhead depositing soot, burned papers, bits of debris and the atomized remains of so many people raining down on the streets, cars and backyards, and with the constant smell of burning plastic I the air. However she did find the time limping home to stop at the Liquor store with a line of other shocked people snaking out the door and brought home two big bottles. As any addict like me should tell you, I used 911 as an excuse to escalate my drinking and drugging and although inside, I knew better but though I had in under control. It did however get the best of me and I slid until 5 years passed and I had lost everything that was dear to me. I found myself homeless, unemployed and friendless and without hope. When all seemed lost, and I was down to my last bar and desperate I prayed out loud for the first time in my life for a miracle. Just a few minutes later the phone rang with news of a room for me in a basement apartment in a Sober House. From then on things bit by bit came together. At 50 years of age, I went back to school to become an Addiction Counselor, I worked 10 hours a day without pay as an Intern learning my craft and then became employed and today I am the Senior Counselor at an Adolescent Residential Program. The 2nd miracle occurred. 5 years ago my previous wife and I reconnected out of the blue after 20 years apart and we found love again. I am still working in this field and not for the money that’s for sure, but by staying clean and sober and doing the right things, I am happy to say that I just bought us the first home that I ever owned and the plan is to love each other and take care of each other for as long as we can. The bonus is an occasional road trip for a show. That we are still all doing this thing together after all these years, is another miracle in itself. I don’t know if its destiny, grace, earned merit or something else, but for now I am a happy man.

  14. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Bill C

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I’m reading that book ‘Say No to the Devil’ about the Rev right now, and how he persevered through so much injustice and challenges. He had faith for sure. I hope I can muster that same faith going forward.The music helps Us to cope and to heal.

  15. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Barbara Jacobs

    Nick: do you know “Ham’n Eggs”?
    He’s here on the discussion threads. He has friends in the Rockaways.
    Next time we are out in the Rockaways, can we stop by to visit you?
    /@Nick Velardi

  16. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Nick Velardi

    I grew up in Rockaway Beach where I have a auto shop ( 70 years in family).That day started out beautiful.In minutes all of rockaway bch was filled with sirens, emergency vehicles and off duty police and firemen racing toward the city. The rockaway peninsula is home to many of these men and woman.We watched from Jamaica bay as the towers fell.For the first time the absence of airplane noise was quite scary.As a close knit community,we lost many dear friends that day.Fireman Steve Belson(BELLS)WAS CAPTAINS CHAUFFER midtown firehouse. Steve had a bad back, but that did not stop him from climbing to the 68 floor with his Captain to help the victims.JORMA, Steves actual last tuna show was at oyster bay. 2 days before 9 11 I rode passed steve and he shouted , “got my tickets to the BEACON”. GOD BLESS FF KEVIN O’ROURKE FF WALTER HYNES FF RICHIE ALLEN JR. To this day ,I still make those calls to my friends who lost their loved ones and still go to memorials( POINT LOOKOUT N Y) AND STILL FEEL AS THOUGHT IT HAPPENED YESTERDAY.JORMA your blogs are always family oriented and down to earth.Very comforting . See you at the Beacon!!!!

  17. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Barbara Jacobs

    For all those commenting here who have lost loved ones on 9/11: My thoughts are with you every day.

    I was at Ground Zero on day one, because my friend, Drew Nieporent owns Tribeca Grill and that restaurant was turned into a staging-ground for making meals to be delivered to those working at Ground Zero.
    I was home in my apartment on Lexington Ave. and East 56th Street. I walked downtown and stopped at St. Vincent’s hospital. They were preparing for a rush of survivors. By the time I arrived there, it was clear that there were no survivors being brought in by ambulance.

    I volunteered to work at Ground Zero for several weeks, until my vision was so blurry that I could not see what I was doing. Drew and our friends and associates at the restaurant continued on.

    I prefer not to think too much about what I saw there, within hours of the attack.
    But, I always remember — I can’t forget.
    If you stand on the median, outside my Brooklyn apartment building — you can see across Brooklyn: The Freedom Tower is visible.

  18. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Bob Kelly

    Thanks again Jorma for sharing your thoughts of that day.. Its hard to believe its 15 years,, but time moves on..

    its that wound that never really heals.. over time you learn how to deal with it and with support of family and good friends you keep going forward, most of the time its good memories,of my brother and friends. The show you guys played at the Beacon that year,was just what the doctor has always been a great source of comfort,with many jorma/tuna songs right on top. a quirk of fate..there is a memorial out in freeprt long island,we lived there for 20 years,,raised by 2 oldest boys there.anyway on the memorial are brother Toms is next to your friend Davidts.2,800 people and Tommy and David are side by side. .I think of him often though I never knew David.One of my closest friends Charlie also worked for Cantor,,we also were never able to find him.. they all remain in my prayers and meditations,,thanks again for everything…,looking ahead to jorma/ tedeski Trucks,, Hot Fckn Tuna beacon and a hometown Jorma show out here in Riverhead..yeah buddy be well….BK

  19. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by steven nerlfi

    Went to the pools last night at 9:30 PM from Jersey. I go every year at night. I ran my hand across my friend’s brother’s engraved name and said a prayer for all who perished. He was a NYFD Lt. I used to work at Windows On The World in the 1970’s, as did my youngest my brother, for may years. I’m still shocked those massive building fell. G_d Bless The United States of America. Thank you Captain for your words.

  20. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by John B

    Beautifully said Jim. And Barbara is correct in stating that hey we’re murder victims. @Carey Georgas

  21. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Carey Georgas

    It’s not a silly question, Jim. I’ll take a stab at an answer. I see grace as an unmerited out-pouring of love, a component of love, if you will. Those people who went back up the stairs demonstrated another facet of love, and that’s sacrifice. “There is no greater love than this, that a man would lay down his life for another.”@jim hitchcock

  22. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Carey Georgas

    Jorma, I don’t know you aside from what I read here, but I suspect you don’t use the word moron carelessly. There is a time and place for that word, and your context was perfect.

  23. Comment made on September 12, 2016 by Joey Hudoklin

    It’s the sound of acceptance

  24. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by James McKeon

    My daughter and her Grandmother(my mother in law) were in Boston attending a family function preceding 9-11-2001 and almost booked that flight back to CA. ultimately making a change of plans at the last minute, deciding to take the train instead(Grandma doesn’t like to fly). A simple “twist of fate” and a very close call!

  25. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by richu

    Why do you have to call other human beings morons? By the way this was out for public comment… sad

  26. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by terri Ward

    Thank You for your words Jorma. I lost a family member ,,He loved your music as do I from your early years. I’ve met you as well and you’ve been so kind. Your reflections are comforting to me.As I lay my head down after this long day as it always is.. I know I am far from alone and we share in this as well as so many songs close to my heart. Blessings from New York <3

  27. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Dan

    You’re a wise old soul. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  28. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Art Chikofsky

    As usual the Captain speaks for us all. Baruch Ha-Shem!

  29. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by trisha awe-bredekamp

    Jorma ,
    reflecting on today , living not far from NYC , events seem like a lifetime ago and like yesterday. I always come to your blog searching for what I do not know. I always leave with a feeling of peace inside. Thank YOU for being here.

  30. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Greg martelli

    Sometimes while the sheep dogs sleep, the wolves do come around .
    The significance of the day for many New Yorkers is very personal ,for the rest of us its spiritual .

  31. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Charles McDonald

    I went to High school with Tommy, I’m honored that you mention him and I’m sure he would be pleased. Thanks

  32. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Joey Hudoklin

    What are they doing in Heaven today?

  33. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Ham n Eggs

    On my way to bike ride in Rockaway.
    Well put about the morons.
    Love All Ways

  34. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by johno

    I was on the parkway going to a golf outing in New Jersey with my clients when I heard on the radio that a plane had hit the North Tower. I continued on, next thing I heard they were closing all bridges and tunnels in NYC. So I turned around and went back home – I watched in horror when the towers fell. Over 3,000 souls were lost that day. For 2 weeks we smelled the fire from Ground Zero all the way out in Stony Brook – 50 miles away. God bless all of those who lost their lives. They will always be remembered.

  35. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Gene Castoria

    Well said Jorma. As a New Yorker, it is very painful to re-live these memories. My birthday is in September and will always be marred by this tragic event. Thankfully there is serenity to be found in music and much of it is from yours. God bless you.

  36. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by Barbara Jacobs

    It was certainly that and an act of bravery. Caring for their Brothers and saving so many.
    Thousands of people died that day, not because they didn’t obey G-D. I knew several of those murder victims, they worked with me volunteering for various charities. Church-going people.
    At noon, we will have a big gathering of our friends: Christians, Jews, old and
    young. Among them are the family members of Concentration Camp survivors, Military Vets, people who volunteered with me helping at Ground Zero, and some friends who flew in from their home in Tel Aviv to pay their respects.

    We also have a Rabbi and a Priest. They welcome all to sit and reflect with them. They are here for each and every person. Not all of us here attend religious services. There are no easy answers. You aren’t “silly”.@jim hitchcock

  37. Comment made on September 11, 2016 by jim hitchcock

    Honest question, as I really don’t fully comprehend the spirituality of the word…but was the very act of NY firefighters running up stairs in burning towers an act of ultimate grace?

    I feel a bit silly putting this out here, as if I should have an easy answer; I am not a person of religion, but certain tenets ring true with me.

    Sorry if this sounds like rambling : )

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *