Although it has been 14 years since the events of 9/11 the feelings of fear and horror are still there, beneath the surface. It doesn’t take much to set me crying about the lives needlessly lost that day, the heroic efforts of our first responders, the destruction, and those who continue to be impacted by that tragic day. As a New Yorker I was determined to bounce back, to carry on without fear despite having lost my compass bearing. In the days and weeks after those iconic buildings fell there was a feeling of loss and confusion, the posters and pictures of the missing contradicting the beautiful sunny and crisp fall weather we experienced that year, the blank spot where those buildings stood was a constant reminder that life was not normal for a lot of people.
I was lucky, I did not have a loved one downtown that day, Edward and I were not on the 4 and 5 train under lower Manhattan at the time the planes hit, my Mother was not on one of the planes although she was flying that day. A colleague called to tell us of the first plane hitting the North Tower, someone had a radio in the office and we heard the tragedy play out. I still get goose pimples remembering the shock in the voice of the reporter as she screamed that the South Tower was falling. After the North Tower collapsed the Museum was evacuated. Before we left the building we already knew of the plane that slammed into the Pentagon and the one that had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
I did not panic but I was terrified. All I knew was that I had to pick up my 9 month old son from daycare and walk 9 miles home to Brooklyn. A walk taken trying to avoid seeing the large plume of smoke and debris emanating from downtown, trying to ignore the ominous lack of triage whenever we passed a hospital, making the concerted decision to skirt around large landmarks such as the United Nations, and always with one eye on the sky. You see, we did not know if it was over I know I say this every year but I will be forever grateful for my colleagues Fred Caruso and Ted Hunter who walked with me to Brooklyn and selflessly stayed with a scared new mother when I had to stop to breastfeed my baby. It was this, and perhaps, beautifully innocent Edward, oblivious to the horror all around him, who kept me going.
Life has gone on, the city has re-built on the site of devastation, the daily fear is largely forgotten, and Edward is now 14 without recollection of the day, but memory is long.