Monday, September 12, 2011

I will always remember

So many personal stories in the news and as blog topics today....

Should I add mine to the mix? As stories go, it's unremarkable. I rescued no one. I didn't go into or toward a burning, collapsing building. I simply sat in horror as the news came through - first the North Tower was hit, then the South Tower, then the Pentagon. The Pentagon? That can't be right! What next? Then the towers collapsed and confirmation came of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

I have friends and family in the Northeast, and the company I worked for had an office in the Empire State Building and offices in NJ. But I had no direct connection to anyone in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon at the time.

R had recently quit the Army reserves, having separated from active duty less than a year prior. I was terrified he'd be recalled immediately since his military experience was all infantry. When I reached him by phone and asked him what he thought would happen, he was utterly direct and I can't repeat exactly what he said.

I had spent Labor Day weekend in New York City with my mom and two friends. I had pictures of the Twin Towers from our Gray Line bus tour, from Ellis Island, from the Statue of Liberty...I didn't have a digital camera yet, so I had just gotten the film of our trip back a couple of days before 9/11. I lent the negatives to a friend and never picked them up. I'm not sure today where my copies of the pictures are.

Eight days separated me from complete safety versus potential tragedy, even though it is unlikely I would have been anywhere near the Twin Towers if I had been in NYC. I haven't had the opportunity to go back to NYC since, but I wouldn't hesitate given the chance.

That day forever changed me in ways I'm probably not even aware of. All the stories from that day and the days following touch me deeply and profoundly. Such horrible loss. Such incredible bravery. So many families left to pick up the pieces of the aftermath...

I will always remember that morning. I remember how different life seemed before and after. I remember.

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