Remembering 9/11: Nurses Were There

By Shawn Kennedy, editor-in-chief

AJN September cover: 'America the Beautiful,' copyright Charles Kaiman

One can find many commemorative events for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 being held in those places (New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania) where planes hit, and in other cities as well. Some are appropriate and done well and others are (at least to me) over-the-top and tactless—like one New York City radio station playing tapes of the confusion and chaos from first responder radio transmissions; families and friends of victims don’t need to hear that and think of what their loved ones were going through in their final moments.

How we saw it then. AJN’s offices are located in New York City. In 2001, we could see the burning World Trade Center from our windows and we wrote about about our experiences and thoughts. We knew nurses would be in the forefront of responding to help, so we reached out to nurses here in New York and in the Washington, DC, area in order to report on what nurses there were doing. And we also carried a Viewpoint essay, in which one of our Muslim colleagues reported on the backlash that she was experiencing and made a plea for tolerance.

Our current coverage. In planning this September issue, we wanted to acknowledge the events in some way—hence our cover (thumbnail illustraton above) by artist and nurse Charlie Kaiman, who witnessed the events (see also his artwork from 2001 conveying that experience; click “View Full Text” at the link) and subsequently moved out of New York City; the guest editorial by disaster preparedness expert Tener Goodwin Veenema, who takes stock of nursing’s readiness; and an AJN Reports story by former managing editor Joy Jacobson, who revisited several nurses who were directly involved in or whose careers were changed by the events of 9/11.

The nurses who died. As we reflect on how the events 10 years ago changed our country and our lives, we should remember the nurses who died that day. For a few of them, it was a matter of happenstance and bad timing. For most of them, it was because they were doing their job—whether as a company health nurse or as a  firefighter or police officer—but they were nurses all.

Nurses Killed on September 11

Touri Bolourchi, 69, retired nurse, passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 175

Lydia Bravo, 50, occupational health nurse at Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

Ronald Bucca, 47, fire marshal, New York City Fire Department

Greg Buck, 37, firefighter, New York City Fire Department, Engine Company 201

Christine Egan, 55, community health nurse visiting from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Carol Flyzik, 40, medical software marketing manager, passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 11

Debra Lynn Fischer Gibbon, 43, senior vice president at Aon Corporation

Geoffrey Guja, 47, lieutenant, New York City Fire Department, Battalion 43

Stephen Huczko, 44, police officer, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department

Kathy Mazza, 46, captain, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, and commanding officer, Port Authority Police Training Academy

Michael Mullan, 34, firefighter, New York City Fire Department, Ladder Company 12

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2016-11-21T13:11:58+00:00 September 9th, 2011|nursing perspective|11 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Laura Tappan Brewer November 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I was a 911 RN with the Red Cross, being from Indiana, they welcomed me with open arms, working at the center on 56th ST in Manhattan. Rememberence to all of our losses and their families. Every years on the anniversary, I take out my certificate, and wear my pin proudly. Thank you to everyone who assisted and ones who sent their thoughts and prayers. Laura Tappan

  2. Lauri Sue Robertson September 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    This is heart-breaking! The losses were SO devastating, and we must remember that for every one of the 3000+ names, there is a whole family and group of friends who will never be the same. A friend of my cousin died that day – I didn’t even know him, and yet there is pain and sorrow at his loss.

  3. […] I’m linking to an article from the American Journal of Nursing recalling what it was like in their NYC offices that day as they watched the Twin Towers burn and fall. And, they remember the nurses who died that day: […]

  4. Top 10 (New) AJN Posts of 2011 « Off the Charts December 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    […] “Remembering 9/11: Nurses Were There,” Shawn […]

  5. […] our September cover in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11; for more about that cover, read our blog post and see On the Cover.—Amy M. Collins, AJN associate editor Rate this: Share […]

  6. pradeep October 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

    i am a nurse
    i like it

  7. Shawn Kennedy September 23, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Mary, thanks for reminding us that indeed, there were many nurses who responded as Red Cross volunteers or as members of medical response teams -both in the New York/New Jersey area as well as at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania to aid families and survivors,, and we should honor them all.

  8. mary Duncan September 20, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Prayers for the nurses that lost their lives on 911.

  9. Mary Duncan RN September 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    There also were many nurses with the American Red Cross that responded from across this great country and Canada that worked in Family centers in New York and New Jersey. Some also were in the respite centers for the firefighters and Police who were working at ground zero.

  10. […] I'm linking to an article from the American Journal of Nursing recalling what it was like in their NYC offices that day as they watched the Twin Towers burn and fall. And, they remember the nurses who died that day: […]

  11. eillen badilla September 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    My heart, my prayers, my thoughts to all families.

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