Nine years have passed so quickly. We’ve picked up the pieces and compartmentalized our memories so that we can cope with having lost close to 3,000 innocent people (discounting the hijackers) that never knew the end was near.
I was in New York on that day and will never forget the events that unfolded. Actually on September 10th, the previous evening, I had spent a great night out in the city with my best friend. We went to an industry party and had dinner at Jane Restaurant downtown. I remember how much fun we had, the laughs we shared and how much we enjoyed our meals that night. We kept saying to each other what a beautiful evening it was. The weather was great and being in each other’s company was a blast. When we left each other that night we may have hugged or told each other to get home safely as we usually did, not knowing that the world as we knew it would change forever. Never in my lifetime did I think anything like this could happen in the city I lived in. I had seen bombings and other major tragedies on TV and it always happened somewhere else. Not in NY. I didn’t live in here in 1993 so I didn’t experience that bombing.
Early morning. September 11th, 2001, election day in New York City. Sunny, beautiful, bright morning. I was headed to work in midtown. Before I left to vote that morning, before switching off the TV I saw that there was a fire at the World Trade. That’s what the newsperson said. Just a small fire. I looked at the image on the screen and saw a small red fireball on the side of the building and thought, Oh my, I hope they put that fire out soon. I also said to myself, I hope no one got hurt. I turned off the TV and went to the polls and then to the train station to head to work. I never made it past 72nd street as the train I was on sputtered and lunged to a halt startling it’s occupants. We had to get out and walk on the tracks to get back to the platform. None of us knew what was going on until we got outside. Radios were blaring. The sound was deafening. People pointing toward the downtown area. People crying. Cell phones ringing. People hurt downtown. The World Trade Center. Twin Towers hit, burning, gone…
We all have a different recollection depending on where we were in the city that day and where we were in the world. Even though nine years have passed the wounds are still open. We are now dealing with protests, disagreements and potential Quran burnings because people disagree about the planned building of an Islamic Community Center and mosque near Ground Zero.
The Twin Towers are gone, some of the people that were in the buildings and in the area that day are gone as well as people that were on the four flights that crashed in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. What remains is the pain for some and anger for others. It’s witnessed by a pastor of a Florida church that wanted to mark today’s anniversary with a rebellious and hate-filled act instead of a peaceful memorial.
For all of the souls we lost, we must continue to move on but in a way that honors them and their lives. Burning a holy book that you might not understand doesn’t help, it incites. On this day say a silent prayer, light a candle, write a poem and reflect on the goodness of those who are gone.
Here are some official facts and figures about September 11th:
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