Everyone remembers where they were when the Towers fell. My dad said it’s very similar to his generation knowing where they were when they heard Kennedy was shot. It happened 12 years ago this week and that gut-wrenching feeling hasn’t changed. Here’s my story.
It was a Tuesday morning and I was just starting my junior year of high school. I wasn’t feeling well so I called my mom to ask her if I could come home. For some reason, she didn’t go to work that day. My brother left work to pick me up and as I got into his car he asked if I had heard what was happening. “A plane just flew into one of the Twin Towers”, he said. I didn’t believe him, but as I heard the announcer on the radio confirm the truth, I became terrified.
Anyone who knows me can tell you that Manhattan is my place. I may have never lived there but it’s home to me. When I’m there, I’m happy. When I’m not there, I wish I was. Every day I think about that City and wait for the day I can be there again. My dad grew up on the Upper East Side, Yorkville specifically, and used to take me around the City when I was younger. My parents met when my mom lived in the City and worked as a nurse in the late 60s. My sisters are the same way. It’s in our blood. We are trying to make a NYC trip a yearly thing but we missed the past 2 years with all that has been going on. Hopefully we can start our planning for next year soon.
When we got home, mom had the news on. I sat down in our rocking chair in front of the TV only to see the second plane hit. Tears immediately started falling. Less than a year before this, my dad and I were standing just inside the overlook at the top of one of the Towers having a souvenir picture taken. I called him and he said he was listening to the news now and that he’d call me later. I was worried for him. The day went on and the news kept getting worse. In the weeks that followed, people from school, mostly volunteer junior firefighters, were traveling down to help with the clean up and coming back with awful stories of what they saw. That Spring, my dad and I went to NYC and saw what was left. The rubble was still being cleared, the surrounding buildings hadn’t been touched, the dust was still thick on some streets and in some storefront windows, and the City was a different place. Still, after all this time I can’t handle thinking about the events of that day. I knew I would always feel an ache in my heart but, because I had no immediate connection to the events, like losing a loved one, I never thought it would be so painful so many years later.
So this week, take a moment to be grateful for all you have in this life. I will remember to be grateful for the following:
My own home. We have a love-hate relationship most of the time but Jason and I have our own place in the world to do what we want with. We’re pretty fortunate.
My family and friends. Sometime you can get caught up with drama but in the end I’m so grateful that I’m not alone in the world.
My job and my ability to work. Having a job you’re not fond of is tough but not having a job is much worse. Luckily, I’m in a good place where I can be both grateful for having a job and for liking it.
Living in this country. I am more than grateful that I live in a country where my biggest daily concern is to make sure I don’t break my iPhone screen (seriously, one of the worst things that happened to me this year).
The ability to give to those less fortunate. I have the opportunity with my company to take part in the September 11 National Day of Service and volunteer with The Salvation Army of Wake County. I am very grateful that I am able to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks by putting my wants aside to volunteer for an organization doing amazing things for those in need.
What are you grateful for this week? Will you be taking part in the National Day of Service?
The photos above are from Tiles for America in NYC. I first saw these on the iron fence surrounding St. Paul’s Church across the street from Ground Zero during our visit in 2002. In 2012, my sisters and I were on a bus heading down to Battery Park when I looked out the window while stopped at 7th Ave. and Greenwich Ave. and there they were blocks away from Ground Zero. It was a pretty crazy feeling, like finding something you had lost and I’m grateful I had that experience.