Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remember 9-11

My tribute to the 9/11 attacks and those who died.

Being from New York, I'm always asked if I was at ground zero or even in NYC at the time. First off, no not everyone from the Northeast lives in Manhattan and we all have better things to do than visit the twin towers every day of our lives. I in all honesty had never been to see the World Trade Center and I will never get that opportunity. But I'll never forget what happened on that faithful day...

I was in class at Our Lady of Lourdes, Participation in Government at this particular time, when a voice on the PA system said "Let's take a moment to pray for the firefighters and police officers trying to save lives at the World Trade Center right now." All of us were pretty stunned at the announcement because we had no clue what the heck we just heard. Why were there rescue crews in TWC? Was this similar to the bombing in 1993? Was there just some fire going on? What is going on out there???

I went through the rest of the day not knowing at all what had happened. There were no more announcements and all the teachers had just carried on like the United States weren't in a state of emergency. A couple of my friends had heard some rumors somehow (this was before smartphones and we didn't get TV in the classrooms and there were only a couple of outlets for the internet) and the rumor was a plane flew into the WTC. At the time we half joked about the possibility of not being able to see one of the biggest buildings in the world and flying right into it. We also half-joked about the building collapsing and taking out half of downtown Manhattan like dominoes. I wouldn't find out the scary truth until I got home after school.

I remember walking in the front door and my mom standing in front of the TV. I looked at her face and new something was horribly wrong and then I looked at the TV myself and saw exactly what the horror was. For the next several hours I watched replay after replay of the second plane crashing into the South Tower. I remember being on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) all night with my buddy Rob talking about the craziness that had ensued and how we couldn't wait for the US to take action. And then I remember seeing the "live" footage of the first plane that news stations had just gotten hold of. 

There was nothing good about that day. It was nice to know that all of my loved ones were safe, but it was so hard to take solace in that when the early death counts were in the 10's of thousands. I couldn't even fathom that many people. I couldn't imagine looking out your office window and seeing a 747 flying right at you. I couldn't imagine being stuck on the top floors knowing that you could die at any minute. I couldn't imagine seeing the NY skyline like I had all my life and it being drastically different. There was no aspect of this horrific event that I could imagine.

And I still can't.

I remember going to visit Steven's Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ a couple weeks after and looking across the river and seeing smoldering ruins. About two months after that my dad and I were visiting  Pace University and we walked over to ground zero. It was such a sad sight because there was paper and trash everywhere and there were tons of flyers for missing people lining the area. We didn't stay very long.

Now it is just a memory, but the memory will always be there. What were you doing during the September 11 attacks? For me being so close, being from there, it was just so surreal. What was it like for you?

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