Reflections of 9/11 from the Mary Brennan INN

The morning of 9/11 began as most mornings do at the Mary Brennan INN. Guests arrive early and are waiting to enter as we open the doors for the day. That morning changed the world as we knew it when initially there was uncertainty about whether the plane had hit the tower as an accident. When the second plane hit, it became apparent this was not an accident.  Everyone who worked at The INN started trying to reach their friends and family members who worked in the Towers.

Meanwhile the guests were apparently unchanged in their demeanor even though they had been told what had happened. There were no televisions or even radios on during a normal day’s activities.

As time passed and the lunch was served and everything was exceptionally quiet, the staff noticed that none of the guests were asking for anything from them. Most of the staff were still in shock and concerned about what was happening, in some cases, to their family members or friends who worked at the World Trade Center.

Finally, after lunch, one of the guests approached one of the staff members and asked if he could get a toothbrush. The staff member was still very upset and shocked about what had happened and blurted out to the guest: “Don’t you know what has happened?” The guest replied, “yes, I know what has happened. But I don’t know anyone who works at the World Trade Center and I don’t know anyone who works in the Pentagon, I only know I have a job interview today at 4:00p.m. and if I don’t brush my teeth I won’t have a chance to be considered.” The staff member then said he was sorry and went to get him a toothbrush.

That day the hardest thing to explain to all the staff who were present and concerned that it did not appear that the guests were as upset as they were was to remind the staff that for the guests of The INN, planes fly through their buildings every day of the week. It was one day when it was welcome to their world.

Ironically we were to learn later that day that Mary Brennan’s grandson, Thomas Brennan, 32,  had lost his life in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center and left behind his pregnant wife, Jennifer, his 17 month old daughter, Elizabeth. Tom’s father and mother John and Anita Brennan who had made it possible for The INN to have the Mary Brennan INN.

We remember Tom Brennan, and continue to pray for his wife Jennifer and their children and John and Anita Brennan and their family as we keep them in our special thoughts and prayers for comfort and courage as they mark another anniversary. Tom was a very special man who continues to bless them from above and, who along with his loving grandmother, Mary Brennan, keeps blessing all the guests of The INN as we continue to provide for all those in need of food and shelter here on Long Island.