I knew I wanted to write about 9/11, but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to say. I spent a good deal of yesterday thinking things over. So today, without snark, sarcasm or politics, I will give you my story.
I was working as an Account Manager for a financial services software company. I was at my clients that day, midtown Manhattan, a few miles north of the World Trade Center. One of my co-workers was at his client, located in the towers- he did not survive. I was 7 months pregnant. I have many memories and recollections of that day, and it’s immediate aftermath, but the following are the two which stand out in my mind.
At about noon, I was walking southbound towards my apartment. I saw a man completely covered in ash and debris. Completely. I knew that he had to have been right there as the towers fell. Right there- ground zero. I just stared, mouth open. I looked into his face, but he had not bothered to wipe anything off himself- his glasses were still completely covered. I think he saw what happened, and just started walking north. I think he did not want to see anything ever again.
I will never shake the image of this man from my mind. Never. I only saw one person covered in ash, yet this image……. ( maybe I passed more people like this, but my defense mechanism had kicked in, and I couldn’t visualize anything anymore)……I know how seeing this man felt- it ripped open my heart and soul in ways from which I will never recover…….so, I can’t even imagine how that man felt, how he feels today. I don’t know how he sleeps, how he wakes up, how he gets on with his day. I also don’t know if he does any of those things, or if the post trauma has just knocked him out. I don’t know if he was ever able to clean off his glasses.
I remember that evening. As the fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and SUV’s carrying first responders began heading north on 3rd Avenue, people began pouring into the street, cheering for the heroes. The battle that they had just fought, knowing that the amount of their brethren that was lost that day…..there was no possible way we could ever thank them for what they did. And these men and women would continue to work at that site- the task overwhelming and surreal. There are tears in my eyes as I write this, because I can’t even fathom the courage and the bravery of those who willingly go into battle to help the people that can’t help themselves.
I can’t help but think about the catastrophes that have happened recently, the hurricanes and tornados and fires and earthquakes. All the horrible things that happen on a daily basis- and the people that selflessly step in to help.
So today I ask of you the following- (and this is cumulative for all the horrible things that have happened, not solely 9/11)
- Take a moment to remember the victims- the ones that lost their lives
- Take a moment to remember the survivors- the families, the first hand people like the man I mentioned, and the second hand ones like me
- Take a moment to remember the heroes, both in uniform and out of uniform
I send out my love and prayers to all of you.