As a child my sister and I used to visit my dad at his office. We spent the day photocopying our hands and watching the tiny dots out the window moving around the street below. He began working from home a few months prior to 9/11.
On the evening of September 10th, 2001, my parents were flying home from vacation to Kennedy Airport in New York. As they flew past Lower Manhattan the pilot announced to the passengers that he was going to fly a bit closer to Wall Street than usual since it was such a clear evening.
I heard about the first plane as I listened to the radio at my office in Times Square. I immediately went into the conference room and turned on the TV. Within minutes the room was packed, all eyes on the television. The newscasters were fumbling for words. Then the second plane hit. I vividly remember the one other face in the room who immediately understood that we had just been attacked.With the bridges and tunnels to get out of Manhattan closed I walked to a friend’s apartment. I will never, ever forget the beautiful weather on that day. I am sure that many others noticed the clear blue skies too as they headed to work that morning in the Twin Towers. It struck me how something so horrible should not be happening, let alone on such a perfect day.
For hours and hours all we heard were sirens. From the window there was an unobstructed view of the smoke that filled the space where the twin towers had stood moments earlier. We communicated with family and friends by spotty AOL chat. Whenever someone got through to us by phone we inquired about the safety of our loved ones before we lost the connection. Early the next morning I took the train to New Jersey and held my breath for most of the ride.
Among others I was thinking of friends who had gotten married a couple of weeks earlier, both of whom worked in the Trade Center. Luckily, both were safe. All she had left from ten years of work was one business card from her wallet, but she was alive.
Almost everyone I knew personally made it safely out of the Trade Center. Almost.
The next few weeks for so many of us were a blur. We watched that horrible scene over and over and over again. We mourned. We consoled. We wondered why. We wondered how. We tried to figure out how to move forward; if doing so was even possible.
It seems that everyone has a story of 9/11. Some are valiant. Too many are tragic. Most are a recollection of hearing the news.
As we get ready to head back to school and into autumn, I can’t help but think about that date coming up just a few weeks away; the ten year anniversary of the day that changed everything.
To all the children who lost parents, parents who lost children, wives who lost husbands, husbands who lost wives and to anyone who lost a loved one or friend in the horrible events of almost ten years ago, my thoughts are with you.