September 11

September 11, 2001

This is a day that Americans will never forget.  This is a day that perhaps the world will never forget.

I remember that morning as if it were yesterday.  My husband and I had an interview with Immigration on September 12.  We had decided that I would take the morning of September 11 off and we would find out where the building was located so that we would not be late for our early morning appointment the next day.

Now I’m not the kind of person who listens to the radio or watches television in the morning.  So to be oblivious of news in the early morning was not unusual for me.  I remember we got into the car and as my husband was backing of the driveway, I turned on the radio. The disk jockeys – the news casters – were talking about the twin towers.  They were talking about airplanes, and explosions, and terrorists?  And first I thought it was a joke, like the original War of the Worlds broadcast.  Something created to build business.  But all the radio stations were broadcasting the same thing.

I turned to my husband and asked, what should we do?

Neither of us had a good answer to that question.  It’s one of those things, where you simply go through the motions because it’s what you can do, it’s what you can comprehend – it’s what makes sense in a situation lacking logic.  So you go forth and do what it was that you started or what is familiar – I think as a coping mechanism.  We knew that we had to find that building, so we drove.

The streets were emptier than normal for that hour of the morning.  We were living in the mountain time zone at the time, and so we were 2 hours behind the events.  We drove in a confused silence.  Focused on our goal.  Listening to the horrors coming through the radio.  Listening as the last plane crashed.

When we finally reached our destination, the parking lot was empty except for the security guards surrounding the perimeter.  A very large man with a very large gun asked us what we were doing there.  In a shaky voice I explained that we had an appointment the next day and we just wanted to find the right building.  He looked at us and said, “You will be rescheduled.”  His voice was cold.  He must have thought we were idiots or at least ignoramuses.  Did we not understand the importance of the situation?  Perhaps not.  We were running on autopilot and we had yet to see the devastation ourselves.

We turned around and went back home. I pondered, should I still go in to work?  It seemed unfathomable, but it seemed like something I needed to do at the time.  So I went into work.  When I got there everyone was grouped together, listening to the radio.  After a while, most of us drifted back to our offices because new information was coming in at a slow trickle.  But I couldn’t work.  I couldn’t concentrate.  You see, I am from New York.  Not the city, but the state.  However, I’ve been to the city several times.  I’ve been to the Twin Towers.  I had pictures – lost slowly over time – but I have the memories of those tall gray towers looming over the city like guardians of our Lady Liberty.

It was a day I will never forget.

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