Sept 11th, 2001. A beautiful, sunny autumn morning, the kind of day I love. I was traveling to work on Wall St on the #1 subway. We stopped at Park Place, the stop before WTC and some people got on, muttering about a plane hitting one of the buildings. A woman, whom I will never forget, put her hand up in front of me, showing me how she was shaking. Did not say a word, just starred at me.
I thought this was an overreaction, some single engine pilot had made a mistake and flew into one of the WTC buildings. I said to myself "people get hysterical all the time, they love drama."
I could not have been more wrong. What followed was a nightmare that will never end.
When I arrived at work, I heard the same story. Being a workaholic, I went right to work, ignoring all the hubbub.
Then the second plane hit. I knew this was serious now but still kept working. I turned around to look at one of my friends behind me. He was the joker of the crew, nothing bothered him. All the blood had gone from his face, he looked frightened and stone faced. Another look I will never forget.
But me, I still kept working. Then the first building fell and I stopped working. Then the second. I was at the window, up on the 21st floor of my building on Wall. The sky turned to night, a huge dust storm chasing people down Wall St. They ran as if in some unreal horror movie. It was pitch black outside.
We mulled around for a while, then were gathered on a lower floor. Someone said "Who could have done this?". I knew it was Al Queda, had to be. Nobody else is so full of hate to do such a thing.
We were kept in the building until about noon. I left with a friend of mine who had relatives in Chinatown. There were no masks so we all breathed in the foul, dust filled air as we walked. Papers from the buildings were scattered all over South St, about 1/2 mile from the site.
I managed to get home safe later that day, living outside NYC. Had to return a few days later to work again. Life does not stop, it does not care how you feel. Life moves on and you have to move with it.
I put my shoes in the closet in a bag but cleaned them of the dust a few days later. Somehow, I have never forgiven myself for that. In my mind, it was the dust of the people who had died. I was washing them away which I wish I had never done. I will not forget them.
I knew people that died that day. Two of my neighbors never came back. We see their families often though nobody speaks about what happened. You can read it in their faces though, it never really leaves them. I was lucky though. I would have been in the direct hit area at noon that day but the attacks happened before I could get there.
So today, remember all the innocent people, all the FD and PD people, all the first responders who died as a result of the actions of a few hateful, crazy people who killed because we are not them.
Keep life in perspective, you are still here. Those who perished are not. If the Giants don't play well, don't take it out on your family. Just be happy that you are with them, there will be another game, another time to celebrate.
Do some act of kindness in thanks, make things a little better for someone. Kiss your kids, your spouse, your dog. Be thankful you are alive and remember the departed and their families who are without them forever.