Today marks 11 years –
Being the sole proprietor of my store at that time, I HAD to be there. Day in Day out I was it. As I followed my routine of shower, dressing, hair and makeup the TV was on. I always had mornings with Matt and Katie. The clear, cloudless, blue skies didn’t go unnoticed to me. The air was crisp and cool but it promised to warm up some with that sun streaming down. As I stood putting on my makeup, Matt announced the first plane hitting one of the Towers. Turning to look at the screen I remember my first thought was how blue the sky was in NYC too. The contrast of that black and red fireball against the sky so incredibly blue was an image that has never left me, yet I’ve seen it over and over throughout the past 11 years in photo’s and video’s. My second thought instantly went to the people in both the plane and the building. I distinctly remember feeling a physical pain in my chest as my heart raced at the sight of that inferno.
I quickly ran to work, no TV but radio to rely on. The second plane hit the other Tower as I was on route. I started to feel shaky – the people, all of those people. Innocent, everyday folks just going about their daily work suddenly disappeared into burning jet fuel, fire and smoke. The magnitude was not lost on me.
Inside my shop there was one employee already working her first grooming dog. We talked about what was happening, we kept listening to the radio. At times I would run a few doors down to watch the coverage and get different updates at a shop that had a TV. That’s when I found out about The Pentagon strike and then the Pennsylvania crash.
It was overwhelming, America under attack. All I wanted to do was to lock the doors and go home. I couldn’t as the reality had not made its way fully to the streets and customers kept coming in. Some seemed indifferent, some hadn’t even heard yet, some had left work and were heading home to follow the coverage.
As soon as my groomer was finished with her last dog I sent her on her way. But will always remember her and the fact that we were together during those first few hours. When closing time finally came I rushed home and watched in horror. People staggering in the streets of NYC bloodied, covered in dust, disbelief. The 1st responders maxed on adrenaline working feverishly to find, rescue, transport innocent victims and their fellow buddies. The tears, the volume of pain much heavier than the weight of the collapsed Towers showed in each and every face on my screen.
I thought of a friend who had moved here from NYC but was afraid to call him too soon. I knew he’d have known someone there, wondered had they perished or were they okay? A couple of days later I did call him. ” Are you okay? ” ( stupid question ) “NO” he said. “How many ” I asked, his reply cut deep…..” 22 and counting “. School friends, family, work buddies and Softball team members. He grew up in the city, didn’t move up here to Upstate NY until he was in his late 20’s and pretty much knew no one. He started a new life, made it big and stayed. But all of his self-made money instantly meant nothing to him. He was constantly going to NYC to funerals and Memorials. It was a life changing event for people across the globe.
I learned a lot about life in those days, weeks and months. The old cliché’ that Life can change in an instant was never more true. No one that died on that or the following days was anyone I knew personally yet my heart went to each and every single one. Their family’s and loved ones.
That day changed my life along with millions of others. I am but one in a Sea of those who vow to never forget.
Posts of the Past – What was I thinking?