Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11

It's been six years. And each year as it approaches I wonder if this will be the year that I don't feel the tears welling up in my eyes the night before.

I was so happy that it was raining and gray out this time around because it was so spectacularly sunny and beautiful in 2001.

I'm lucky to have an office with an expansive window facing the mammoth Riverside Church - a beautiful landmark along Riverside Drive by West 120th. They rang the bells to commemorate when each building collapsed (around 10 am). I was so thankful to them for not forgetting or putting it behind them like so many New Yorkers have (because they must).

In the morning I was listening to WNYC discuss 9/11 - what small events were planned, coupled with a few brief interviews. My son Ben kept on shutting off the radio - which was really odd. Then I asked why and he said "mom, I don't want to hear about 9/11 anymore, it's in my life everyday." So we turned off the radio for good.

9/11 had a terrible impact on Ben. He was almost 4 and stood on the roof with us as the second plane crashed and the first tower fell and chaos began. He watched his parents freaking out and started crying and hitting the television when it showed the second tower crumbling - and sensed his parents confusion and fear. For months afterwards he crashed his planes into his building blocks and drew pictures of the towers falling. It was very hard on him.

He must have overheard some of our conversations with concerned parents and friends about whether to get out of the city (we refused to), what the hell the white dust was covering our windows, the terror of the anthrax scare that killed someone on the subway and the neighborhood plastered with pictures and flyers of lost loved ones, having to wear surgical masks for two weeks because the air was unbreathable and having to show an I.D. to get to our homes below 14th street. And all of the firemen and emergency workers driving up and down the empty avenues digging up the dead in the debris. Now they are dying and begging the government to recognize their illnesses. A fine thank you.

I know I'm going on and on. It's gone. But the scar is permanent.

4 comments:

nejyerf said...

you know.....i thought the same thing when i woke up to a grey and overcast day on tuesday.

that day in 2001 was such a beautiful day. the sky was that bright blue that you only see in the fall.

and i remember thinking, as the day progressed and the news became more and more grim and dark, how can the sky be so blue when less than 50 miles away there is death and destruction.

jar said...

I thought about you on that day.

So hard on the adults, I can't imagine what it was like for the children who lived in your area to go through it and the worry and anxiety of the parents.

The sky was beautiful that day. I never will be able to look at airplanes in the sky the same.

ellesu said...

I thought about you, too.

When I was in NYC, we went on a tour of Columbus' campus. They took us to a place where you can see all the way downtown. That's the place many on campus stood that day and watched the horror with horror.

HAR said...

It must be exceptionally hard on you and Ben living in the city. Reminders are everywhere. I was surrounded by sixth grade students that day.

I knew so many people in those buildings who were murdered. It is something you never ever get over.

I watched them crumble on my break from work on the television. Nobody knew what happened at first, the screen was covered in white/grey smoke. The thought that went through my mind as I stood with my co-workers was: This is it, the end of the world.

Naive I know but I had no idea what the hell was happening.
I remember who I was standing with, who ran out of the building to drive INTO the city to see about their loved one and who knew, just knew that their husband perished in that building just by watching where the plane hit the tower.
And she was right. After being married for 14 days she was then a widow. I knew people on the plane who hit the pentagon and people who went in to rescue and never came out.
I understand the city has to move on, I really do. It just never gets easier.