Friday, September 11, 2009

My niece was getting married on September 29, 2001. I hadn’t been back to New York since my nephew’s wedding five years earlier. My daughter was going with me, as she didn’t remember the last time she was in the state. Our tickets were purchased well in advance and we would fly out on my daughter’s birthday, September 24th.

I was excited to be going. I miss the fall and missed The City. A day trip to and apple farm and another trip into Manhattan by train were planned. My daughter was also looking forward to making this trip. Although she was born in Florida, New York has always been close to her heart.

The day began like any other, except I’d taken off work to bring my son to the dentist and run pre-trip errands. On the way to school after the dentist appointment, we were listening to “The Bob & Tom Show”. During the middle of one of their discussions, either Bob or Tom announced there was a fire burning in The World Trade Center in New York, There was obvious confusion and much discussion taking place in the radio studio. Minutes later one of them said the words that froze my soul – “It’s believed that a plane has crashed into one of the towers.” Life as we knew it would never be the same.

There are occurrences in our lives that will stay with us as long as we live. Most of the time the events are of a personal nature but there are always a few that will encompass the world. For me, I can remember the entire scenario when I was told my father died. The same goes for when President Kennedy was assassinated and lastly, when it was known that brutal terrorists attacked the United States. The first two life altering events happened when I was very young so the pain and shock have been worn smooth by time. Not so with the events of September 11, 2001.

The advent of 24/7/365 news and technological advances made the attack photographs and breaking news ever present. The horror of watching the towers burn then fall knowing that innocent people were dying was almost too much to bear. The shock of knowing that=2 0other countries hated the U.S. enough to attack us using airplanes and unknowing civilians was mind numbing. Not only was New York a target as we came to learn but Washington, DC and other targets never (?) to be revealed.

Days passed before I was able to reach my sister by telephone. My nephew and niece both worked in Manhattan; cold fear was in me until I finally knew they both were fine. My niece was not near the World Trade Center but my nephew was. He was one of the many, unhurt, but dazed people that walked uptown, covered in ash, debris and who knows what else, to escape the terror. He found a bar that was open and sat there drinking to dull his emotions. He said it was quiet in there even as more of the walking wounded piled in. There was nothing to say because no one could form rational thoughts. Not yet.

The silence in the skies made me wonder if my daughter and I would get to my nieces wedding. It was wait and see for several days but we were allowed to fly. New security regulations were in effect. Mostly chaos rules security. Panic, worry, fear were all present in the Florida and NY airports. It was actually the best time to fly anywhere, I think. Landing in Westchester, which is north of the city, we didn’t get a first hand look at the two main airports. We did get to visit New York City. It was almost unrecognizable as THE city that pulses with energy, day and night. It was still pulsing but with fear and sadness.

Grand Central Station still teemed with people but they were cautious and respectful. On the streets were more police than I’ve ever seen. Heavy equipment operators, construction workers, National Guard, tourists and residents were out, doing what they needed to do. To see men and women in military uniforms walking down Broadway with rifles was disconcerting and terrifying. But what made our hearts stop were the “Missing” posters/pictures – everywhere. At that time, there was still hope that people in the towers might be trapped but still, maybe alive.

There was no going downtown; we stayed north of 42nd Street. While we walked and walked and walked, we did enjoy the time spent in Manhattan but we knew it would never be the same.

Reading the newspapers was also an exercise in misery. Page upon page of obituaries. Men, women and children with different birth dates but with the same date of death – September 11, 2001.

I took some time to visit my mother’s and father’s grave. I’ve never been to a cemetery so “active”. Funerals were being held all day. A number of firemen were being interred there, the lone piper played. The bagpipe doesn’t really produce a beautiful sound on the best of occasions but it was hauntingly mournful that day.

My niece got married. The rest of our visit was pleasant and uneventful. The events that took place only a few days before were present every minute of everyday. The attacks were one of those moments that will stay in the mind of every person old enough to remember them. And we should remember.

I’ve often said I’m not a politically savvy person. I have no grand plan or answers for what happened then and what might happen in the future. Americans seem to become apathetic fairly quickly. I only know that it should never, ever happen again. That is the reason we need to remember the horror, the pain, the unbelievable, the incomprehensible actions that took place on September 11, 2001.

15 blew out from under the bed:

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, im a Greek South African... far far far far removed from your situation. Yet my hair stood on end reading your post.. It really did.
We have had our own pain here, fought the communists, 46 million of them against 6 million of us..
We took them on in an ugly, no rules, bush/jungle war.. And lost. But we took them on!
Our pain helps us understand your pain. Thats all im sayin.

Deech said...

The Only reason I am still really upset by 9/11 is the fact that we never went deep enough within our own pain to demand the answer to the mother of all questions...."Why?"

Sometimes the answer of, "well they were just crazy fanatical muslim extremists." just does not seem to justify it. Its a brand of thinking that is foreign and yet hauntingly familiar to me.

Do we have people that think this way here?

The Joker

Sorrow said...


Ron said...

I had chills reading this.

And I totally agree with your last paragraph. We must NEVER forget.

Thank you so much for sharing this post.

I love ya, Sis.

Akelamalu said...

Such a sad day for so many. :(

David said...

Thank you for sharing your recollections and experiences of that and those day(s).

I live on the west coast, but I never will forget having just turned on the TV for the morning news and coffee, and thinking I must have left the TV on HBO or something, and gotten in the middle of some disaster movie. But then . . .

we must never forget

Indi said...

I stood still for several minutes in my own silence today, to remember the fallen and to hope to god, if there is such a god that evil will some day be a thing of the past. These events, 9/11 in particular leave me felling dumb. I cannot imagine the pian that people felt that fatal day, how t say goodbye over a mobile phone to your loved ones knowing you would never see them again. I saw and wcthed in complete horror of the desperate people in the twin towers jump from the burning buildings to their deaths, how brave, we live in a shit world, these terrorists should be tortured with in an inch of their lives, slowly and painfully, they should, should they have feelings, in which I beleive they donnot have, they should be killed bit by bit, and thow their dead bodies into a pit, spat on and never be remembered. Will we ever live in a world where peace prevales? I hope so. We will never forget.

Riff Dog said...

Chilling. Definitely a day we can never forget.

rage said...

((big hugs nitebyrd))


Sexy PTA Mom said...

It is something none of us will ever forget. Thank you for sharing your experiences of that day. I wish I felt confident that such a thing could never happen again. I don't feel fear, but I do feel much sadness that there are people in the world who hate us simply for being Americans. War is terrible, but the mass murder of civilians is just so devastating.

Anonymous said...

Hey!! I found your Italian!! :)

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Um...we still haven't forgotten the Alamo...

I don't think we'll ever forget this evil.

My cousins (army) were in the middle east the very next day...

fabulous post honey...fabulous.


nitebyrd said...

The Levi Store ~ I think the pain was universal. I was in Australia in 2006 and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, I met asked me about my feelings and where I was on 9/11 then they shared their stories with me. I was so touched and honored.

Joker ~ Why? The real WHY? is something I don't think we'd understand even if we knew. It's beyond our ken to believe that human beings can be that horrible.

Sorrow ~ (((HUGS))) for you too, my friend.

Ron ~ I still get chills when I see pictures of the World Trade Center, The Falling Man picture will make me cry. The insanity of it still leaves me cold.

Akelamalu ~ It is and will always be.

David ~ Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. Watching those events unfold in real time was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen.

Indigo ~ Nothing makes me angrier then hearing that our soldiers are being punished for being too hard on our enemies. Our enemies don't give a rat's ass about our people or our life, our enemies don't want to learn or know about us. Our enemies should be treated exactly the way they treat us.

Riff Dog ~ Yes, chilling and heartbreaking. I will post every year for as long as I'm around.

Rage ~ Thank you. (((hugs))) right back atcha!

Sexy PTA Mom ~ War just sucks. It's horrible and somehow pointless most of the time. This attack was uncalled for and unbelievable. I pray that it will never happen again and hope our government can put their warring ways aside to do something for the people of this country.

The Levi Store ~ And a tasty Italian he is!

Spiky ~ I think the reason we remember The Alamo is that people really, really cared and we didn't have all this PC crap. An enemy was an enemy. Period. The color of their skin, their religion, their education, didn't matter. What mattered is they wanted to hurt others. We tend not to keep our passion for very long now. That's something American's need to work on. IMO

ZomBee said...

I really enjoyed reading this post.
I had to disagree with 1 point.
I like bagpipes.

nitebyrd said...

ZomBee ~ Being of Scottish descent, I, of course have to like bagpipes. But you do have to agree that they aren't the most melodic instrument ever invented. I tend to believe that single malt Scotch was invented and drunk before the Scots came up with bagpipes and golf.