I try to be the type of person who let’s things go. If I stayed fixated on all the horrible things that have happened in my life, or to people around me, I would not get out of bed in the morning. Or talk to my grandmother, but that is a whole other story.
Today is 9.11’s 10th anniversary so I remind myself to let my guard down a bit and remember all that has happened in the past 10 years. A lot of great things have happened, and a lot of sad things. It was a major turning point for America. While I don’t agree with a lot of things that happened in the name of 9.11 I do agree that it did make people stop for a moment and become more compassionate, caring, understanding, and more united.
I have to admit that I often have a hard time relating to people on the news talking about how it was for them when they say they were in CA and it was horrible waking up to the news. I try not to be cynical because I’m sure that it was scary waking up to it. But I my proximity to New York had a big impact on me, at least I believe it did.
I was in high school at the time. all 35 miles away. I remember a teacher calling our teacher out of the room. A few minutes later she came back in and we announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. The class buzzed with questions. “How could this happen?” “How big was the plane?” “Were the towers still up?” With little info she tried to get us to focus and continue calmly. A little bit later class was interrupted again saying that another plane had hit the tower. I was sitting next to my friend AJ and at this point we discussed that something serious was going on and this was not an accident.
Class ended and everyone rushed out to the student center and we were dicsussing what was going on. I had to go to Spanish class next and I remember it was chaos in there. I think the teacher just gave up on teaching and more or less tried to keep everyone calm. I asked him if I could use my phone outside to make a call. I gave me permission so I called my mom and with her link to the outside world she informed me about everything that was going on, at that point, and told me to get Greg, my long term boyfriend at the time, and go back to his house to stay with his mom there. No, she did not think that something would happen to Greenwich, but she just wanted to know where we were as cell service was being more and more spotty.
So we left school and watched the news all day at his house. It was really intense. We would flip through the channels and just see 9.11 coverage. If there wasn’t new coverage, there was announcement that all normal broadcasting was canceled for the day. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter, my normal perch in the house, and watching the news about WTC, the field in PA, and the Pentagon. It was endless and heartbreaking.
I remember thinking to myself that it was impossible that the towers were gone. I had just taking Greg’s younger brother on out my boat 2 weeks prior. It was a clear day and I showed him the Towers. And yet, I knew instantly that once I heard they were jet liners that the towers would fall. It was awful to see it actually happen. To know there were so many innocent people inside.
-ground zero 2010-
The worst part for us was that my mom’s best friend ALWAYS had a Tuesday morning meeting at WTC. She works in construction with a focus on concrete and concrete repair. She would travel from central CT to New York every Tuesday to meet with the Port Authority, who owned the buildings. Thankfully, Monica came down with a strong case of food poisoning and did not go down that Tuesday morning. When we found that out we were very relieved. Sadly, she lost a lot of friends on that day. After the attack, she spent a lot of time sleeping over on our couch since she was frequently in NYC dealing with structural issues to the site and it’s surrounding areas.
As 9.11 became 9.12 and then 9.13 we moved on with our lives with caution. Some people in HS lost parents in the loss of the Towers. It was hard to move forward without doing anything when there were people digging through the rubble trying to find survivors. On that Saturday that my mom and I created bags of snacks like granola bars, power bars, chips, and bottles of water. I put a note in every bag prior to bringing them to the large synagogue in town. They were compiling bags like this to bring down to WTC to pass out to the people working down there.
I’m grateful for my proximity to New York and how that gave me many fun opportunities to go experience The City. But for it’s perspective on 9.11. I’m crushed that the skyline has forever been changed, but I am looking forward to see the Freedom Tower rise and mark that we can rebuild and become taller, stronger.