I’ve been reading all the posts and tributes on-line today and feeling sad, as usual. I wasn’t planning on posting about it this year. Only because I honestly still have a hard time thinking about this day 14 years ago.
In 2001, I was living in NYC. I was young, single, and having fun in a cute apartment north of the towers. I loved my city
But September 11, 2001, changed me, forever.
I remember waking up for work that morning, taking a shower, and standing in the bathroom putting on my makeup. Just a regular Tuesday. Until I suddenly heard the local news say that a “small plane” had just hit the trade tower. I immediately had chills. I don’t know why, but I knew something was happening. I felt it was bad.
I tried to call my family in Connecticut. Already the phones weren’t working well. So I ran downstairs to my doorman, who said, “Miss, you should stay in your apartment, we don’t know what’s happening”. I went back to my apartment and finally got in touch with my sister. She said it didn’t seem like just a small plane had accidentally crashed “like the news was reporting”, and maybe I should “get somewhere safe right away”, and suddenly the phone disconnected mid-call. I can only imagine how scared she was when that happened. I know my soul filled with terror.
I was panicked, but I stayed calm. I grabbed my laundry quarters and went outside to the pay phone and called my mom at work in Connecticut. Repeatedly. I must have called 40 times before it finally connected and she told me the same as the doorman, “go back inside, stay safe”. She sounded calm but terrified. I also finally got in touch with my boyfriend (now husband), who had made it into work already and sounded as scared as my mom.
As everyone knows the day only got worse.
Once the second plane hit the tower, we all knew it wasn’t an accident.
I was terrified. Trapped in the city, with the bridges and tunnels immediately closed, fighter jets circling, people running everywhere, and then the scariest… feeling the earthquake when the towers collapsed.
I finally reunited with my boyfriend, he had walked 50 blocks to get to my apartment. We didn’t let go of each other for at least a week. The entire city was engulfed in a cloud of smoke for days after. The smell was unimaginable. I can still remember that smell. I have had nightmares about that smell. So many lives taken, so cruelly. So many people searching for their loved ones. The vigils and the sadness… we were just numb.
How could it not have changed me and millions of others? It sucks that terrorists had such power.
I’d like to say I put that day behind me, but I don’t think I ever will. It will always be an open wound. When I think about 9/11, that beautiful sunny September day, I always remember the amazing bright blue sky. Ask anyone who was in NYC that day… the sky was insanely gorgeous that morning.
I think about that for a moment, then I am instantly transported back to the terror of the day.
LIFE DOES GOES ON
I ended up moving to the suburbs to get married and raise my children. But I will always love NYC. I am so proud to have called it my home for many years. In some ways, it still feels like home to me. The experiences I had there, the friends I made, the husband I met, the amazing jobs I had, the coworkers who still feel like family to me… NYC will always be a huge and amazingly fun part of my life.
So I decided to write about it…. Why? Painful as it is, we must NEVER FORGET.
~ Never forget the lives lost so that they weren’t lost in vain. Thousands of innocent people just beginning their day. Innocent people. We must never forget them.
~ Never forget that terrorists shouldn’t win. Ever. On any level. And they win if they make us afraid. Remember that.
~ Also, never forget that there are things we can all do each and every day to be sure this never happens again. Stay safe and alert.
~ And never forget to tell those you love, just how much you love them. Every Single Day.
September 12, 2001 – Union Square, NYC