Never Forget

I had thoughts of another post for today, but it can wait.

Today is a day I cannot forget.  A day I never imagined I would ever see.  The thought of something like that happening never even crossed my mind.  But 17 years ago today, the unimaginable happened.  The world changed.

It’s one of the days I most dread every year.  The day my beloved NYC was forever changed and scarred.  The day we lost so many.  And to this day, we are still losing people to that day.

I was supposed to be at the Twin Towers that day with my girls who were then 8 and 5 years old.  It was our last ‘big’ outing before we flew back to Georgia with my Grandma.  The plan was to get up early and hit the City.  We were going to go see the towers, South Street Seaport, Trinity Church and whatever else I could manage to squeeze in.  But Fate had other plans.

Late the night before, my oldest had the worst nose bleed she’d ever had. I was close to taking her to an ER, it was that bad.  So we were up most of the night, unable to sleep because she was so afraid it would start again. Morning came and we were all tired.  I figured we’d just get started a little later than I planned.

My Grandma was getting ready to go and get her hair done one last time by her beautician.  She was going to say good bye to all her friends.  We were flying out in a day or two, so she wanted to make her rounds and bid farewells.  She said she was turning on the radio to hear the weather, which by looking out the window was a beautiful sunny day. Instead of hearing the weather, we were hearing the report of smoke pouring out of one of the towers.  I knew it was good, something was wrong. Terribly wrong.

We immediately turned on the TV.  I don’t think the realization had hit that a plane was in the building. As we watched the first tower burn, we were horrified to see a plane flying towards the second tower.  I remember standing in her kitchen waving my hands trying to shew the plane away from the building yelling at it to move or turn away.  Horrified, we watched it strike the building.

We continued to watch in stunned silence as we hoped that people would be rescued and lives would be saved.  Then we watched them fall one by one.  If we looked out her kitchen window, we could see the smoke billowing up from the towers.  And we watched as the cloud crept closer to where we were across the river in Brooklyn a mere 3 miles away.

What was even more  startling, was the pure silence that fell upon us as all air traffic was brought to a halt.  Living near two major airports, three if you count Newark it was unnerving to not hear planes flying over head.  And then came the fighter jets.  By pairs they swept over the skies.

I could have walked down to the corner of her block and gotten a view of the destruct that was just brought upon the city. But I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t bring myself to go look. Seeing it on TV was bad enough and having to watch it being replayed over and over, to want to look away or turn it off but you can’t because you try to hold out hope that they would find some survivors in the rubble.

I was for once grateful to be back in Georgia, when we were finally able to fly out.  We had cable and we could finally watch something else other than the endless coverage.  Or at least the kids could, my Grandma and I were still glued to the aftermath being televised.

I can’t do that anymore.  I can’t rewatch it over and over like we did in the days and weeks that followed.  It’s difficult to even watch a few clips.

But I will never ever forget.


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