Its 1:07 Am and I should be in bed. I’m up doing some work and scrolling through Facebook in between. 9/11 posts are up and heartbreaking. Post after post by my friends remembering that day and remembering people they lost. And I’m sitting here remembering the day that none of us can ever forget. Working and living in NYC on 9/11 is something that is hard to really put into words. I just felt the need to write. I never really expressed any of this until now.
We all remember where we were and what we were doing that day. On 9/11/01, I was living in NYC and running late for work that day. I was listening to the radio while running around getting dressed and vaguely heard in the background that a “small commuter plane” hit one of the twin towers. My first thought was “What kind of idiot flies a plain into a building?” Being late I jumped into a cab and the driver asked me if I heard and then told me there was a second plane. Maybe I was naive, but it still didn’t register. In 2001-before this day- terrorism wasn’t something that we even thought of. I got to my office, sat down at my desk, drank my coffee, and started to read my emails. Shortly after I realized it was really quiet in the office and started walking around.
Nobody was at their desk. While I thought this was strange, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I opened the door to our conference room. The entire company was in there watching TV. And that’s when I saw Tower 1 burning. And then it came down. I sat down among my colleagues in disbelief. When the second tower went down, we all sat there in disbelief not knowing what was going on , but knowing that our world as we knew it had changed.
Because I lived in the city-and all bridges, tunnels, and trains were shut down-my apartment became home base. Friends, family, colleagues and their family members that were in the city came there. I will never forget that 10 block walk from my office to my apartment. It was a beautiful, picture perfect day-and not a person on the street. It was an eery feeling that I can still feel to this day.
My step father and my mother spent the entire day on 9/11 walking to every hospital in the city looking for his sister’s husband-Bob Kennedy. They arrived at my apartment at 8:30 PM exhausted and not wanting to consider the inevitable. Bob worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and died that day.
My boyfriend at the time worked downtown. Not in the trade center, but close enough that he could have at any given moment been in one of those buildings for a meeting. We had friends that worked in the towers. It took me over 24 hours to get through on the cell phones to him to know that he was ok and that our friends had gotten out. It’s a feeling that is hard to ever forget.
My grandmother had a daughter (my mom) and two grandchildren (Me and my brother) that she knew were working in the city that day. She couldn’t reach any of us until 8:00 pm and she was frantic. I can’t even imagine how she felt until we were finally able to get through and tell her we were all safe.
In the next few days, I was evacuated from my office twice and from my apartment three times because of suspected terrorist threats. And in this new reality we were living, you were afraid those threats were real. By the end of the week, my nerves were shot and I had to get out of the city. I headed to my cousins in Lincroft, Nj. That wasn’t much of an escape. We sat at the bar in the neighborhood restaurant full of people who had lost family members and friends in the attacks.
In March of 2002, my cousin and partner in crime was killed in a car accident. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe it. At his funeral, I happened to look at the headstone next to us. I couldn’t believe when I saw the name of an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. He was killed on 9-11. As time went on, I learned a high school friend and friends of friends I knew also died on 9/11. It seemed never-ending.
And here we are 15 years later. How is that possible? That so much time has passed, but it still feels like yesterday?
Kiss your kids, tell the people you love you love them, and live a life you love. Because it can all change in a minute. Sending love and peace to everyone who lost someone they love 15 years ago today.