It’s heartbreaking that so many people will never see this unblemished skyline. This was the skyline that I grew up with, and seeing it makes me feel so, so sad. I cannot believe that it has already been 10 years since the attacks on the Twin Towers. 10 years.
For every generation, I think there is a monumental event that binds us together in sadness. For my parents, it was the assassination of JFK. For me, it was 9/11. I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard what was happening. I was in Charleston, SC, and I was still moving into an apartment, so I had no TV. My friend called me and told me that “something was happening in New York” and that I needed to come see it. My mom was working in NY, just a block away from the Twin Towers, and my first reaction was to call her. When the message said “all circuits are busy,” I began to feel panicked. The relief that I felt when I found out that she was safe hours later is a feeling I will never forget.
When I first saw the shots of the skyline, I turned to my friend and said: “Where is the other tower?” and he looked at me, with a terrible sadness in his eyes, and said: “It’s gone.” We sat in shock and horror and watched the second tower fall. It was an unbelievably awful day, I think the world will agree.
I worked, when I was fresh out of college, in a restaurant in the Financial District. I would walk through the World Trade Center every day. I shopped there, and had coffees there, and commuted with thousands of other people. That was what I think of when I remember those buildings: all of the people, the life, the energy that moved through those buildings every day!
The world changed that day. I felt it then, and I feel it now when I visit NYC. Looking at the skyline and pointing to the place where those buildings once proudly anchored the city, I remember.
Where were you that day? Do you remember it exactly? What will you remember today? What can we, as a society, take from that experience and use to move us forward? To move forward but never forget what has happened, that is something that I will be thinking about today.