What I remember:
~Watching “The Today Show” and sharing Matt Lauer and Katie Couric’s horror as the second plane hit the towers, confirming that the first plane’s impact was no accident. Learning about the third plane crashing into the Pentagon and the fourth, United Flight 93, crashing into the field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania was almost unbearable.
~Getting a frantic phone call from Jim and together debating whether we should pull our kids, then nine and six, from school (we didn’t).
~Staring at the news coverage for hours at a time as they played the video clips over and over again.
~Watching my sister (who had moved back to this area about eighteen months before that day after working in Manhattan for a couple of years), horrified as she watched the news coverage on my couch, worrying about some of her best friends as she waited for confirmation that they were alright (they were) and heartbroken over the devastation in her adopted hometown.
~Being grateful beyond words that my sister had moved back here: she used to take the PATH train from her apartment in New Jersey to the World Trade Center station and would have been grabbing her connection to SoHo in the belly of the towers right around the time of the attacks.
~Being in total awe over Mayor Giuliani and the way he gracefully handled the September 11 events with better coping skills than anyone ever could have expected.
~The entire country coming together, oozing patriotic spirit.
~Driving through my neighborhood and seeing American flags swaying in the breeze outside of almost every house.
What I’m thinking about today:
~How I still have so much admiration and appreciation for firefighters, police officers, and other emergency personnel as well as our military.
~New York may have been down, but it’s not out and never was. It remains one of the best cities in the world.
~The children, spouses, parents, siblings, extended families, and friends who lost loved ones on that day, and how this week–and especially this anniversary day–must hurt.
You know, those of us who weren’t directly affected in some way by the attacks ten years ago can’t truly understand the pain involved for those who were. Last year while in New York City for the Blogher conference, I was on a scenic bus tour with my friend Patty. As our bus drove closer to Ground Zero, she became more and more nervous. I found out that she had not been to the area since before the attacks (nine years!). Patty did not work in lower Manhattan, but like so many other New Yorkers, she spent 9/11/01 in a panic, worried about loved ones and trying to figure out how to get home. The fact that she worked near Times Square and lived in Queens made her long journey home confusing, stressful, and scary that day. As she cried from the seat in front of me when our bus arrived at Ground Zero last year–the pain still deep and raw in her pretty eyes–I saw for the first time, up close, the long-term impact of someone’s whole world turning upside down in the course of just a few moments on one beautiful, cloudless September morning. I will be thinking of all my New York friends today, but especially Patty. (Love you, Patty! xoxo)
And today, just like on that day ten years ago, I consider myself to be a New Yorker through and through.