With the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11th, 2001, right around the corner, I thought it might be a good time to remember (not that I ever forgot) what that date means to me.
There are mixed emotions of anger, grief, strength and a lot of passion that flow through me. That day was one of those life-changing moments for me; one of those moments that helped me look at life with a certain humbleness and appreciation for what I have and who I have in my life.
I was awakened by my father the morning of the tragedy, like any other morning at that time in my life. I was resistant to wake up so early. At that time, I never felt a need to.
This time was different.
Dad had a slight anxiousness to him that morning, and he was insistent that I get out of bed and watch what was on the television. I slowly poured myself out of bed and, zombie-like, walked down the hallway to the living room where mom had already taken a seat. The televison was already on, and after I wiped the sleep from my eyes, I began to focus on what was happening.
I was looking at the same shot that all of America was watching that morning. Smoke billowed from one of the World Trade Center towers. At this point, no one really knew exactly what had happened, but whatever it was, it was very bad. In the meantime, dad popped a VCR tape into the machine and pressed record. We did not know what we were witnessing, but we felt it was historical — something to be remembered.
The second tower was struck and that solidified any doubts of what was happening. America has come under attack. I’m not really sure how long I sat there with my eyes glued to the television, but I was paralyzed with shock. My jaw dropped at the sight of the people jumping from the burning buildings. Then the unthinkable happened: the towers began to crumble and collapse onto the busy streets of New York City. I was fighting back tears and just horrified at the images I was witnessing.
When I was finally able to move away from the television, I just felt numb all over. I had just been walking those streets in New York City, not six weeks earlier. I saw the everyday bustle of those streets and could only imagine the terror and chaos that must be taking place. The wonderful thing about New York City that I experienced from prior trips there and stories from my father was that the people there are strong, resilient — they come together in time of need. I don’t think any other city in this country — in this world — would be better suited then NYC to pull through such a tragedy.
If you know anything about me, you will know my love for NYC (go Yankees!).
The one silver lining in the cloud that is 9/11 is that it pulled us closer together as a country. People all over the country were doing what they could to help the survivors, first responders and families of victims — though it took our government long enough to lend a helping hand to the victims, but that could make for a whole other blog.
The tragedy should be a wake up that we are not promised tomorrow and that we should always take care of each other in this country. I recommend to anyone who reads this, that they take a trip to ground zero to just begin to grasp the concept of what happened to us as a nation and use it as a learning experience and an opportunity to humble one’s self.
I hope that everyone finds time this Sunday to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives and loved ones on that tragic September day.
God bless New York City and God bless the United States of America.