I took these pictures of the New York City skyline in 1996.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up and went to work, like any other weekday. I vividly recall sitting at my desk when a coworker came through the door with news that an airplane had crashed into a building in New York City. I was concerned but to nowhere near the extent we all would become momentarily, after hearing that another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania and in Washington D.C. and into another building in NYC.
Suddenly, I was unsure of anything that was happening anywhere in the world. Just like everyone else.
Those two, tall buildings crumbled to the ground, bringing so many human lives with them. Lives were lost when that plane crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania and into the Pentagon in D.C. It was unthinkable. It was hard to comprehend. It was downright scary.
I remember trying to call my mom and brothers, after hearing the news about the crash in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t get through. All of the lines were busy. People everywhere were trying to call each other.
I remember driving home that afternoon. The country was somber. There was this eerie silence in the air, all around me. It was like people were moving in slow motion. There wasn’t any traffic. There were a few vehicles on the road, here and there. I specifically remember passing by one vehicle that had a full-size American flag waving from the window. In the weeks to come, many vehicles would display an American flag decal.
There was a sense of unity. A sense of uncertainty. A sense of great sadness.
I remember getting home and sitting with Eric in our apartment living room. We stared blankly at the news channels, just trying to make some sense out of what was happening. I remember crying. I remember feeling complete and utter devastation in my entire being. I remember the heavy feeling in my heart as I watched those two buildings literally melt down into the ground and suddenly, there was nothing there at all. Smoke, rubbish and chaos in the streets of NYC.
It was hard to grasp what was happening.
I remember feeling afraid. I remember having trouble sleeping during the weeks after September 11, 2001. Trouble breathing. Trouble concentrating. Trouble not fearing it was going to happen again. I remember nightmares of being attacked from our own backyard.
Nothing made much sense.
I remember wanting to be in a room with everyone that I love and wanting to protect them all. I didn’t even know what I wanted to protect them from. Nobody did.
Ten years later, I haven’t forgotten. I don’t think anyone will ever forget that day. Ten years later, troops are still fighting. Threats are still being made.
I have doubts that anything this extreme will ever happen again, at least not in my lifetime. Partly because, they already got us good and partly because I feel somewhat more protected on our own soil.
Eric and I looked at each other tonight and mutually agreed that we most likely will not have to provide any deep explanations about September 11 to our kids for some time. Hailey, probably next year. She’s full of so many questions about life right now, I don’t want to burden her with the thoughts of how our country was attacked and many children lost their mommies and daddies.
I know we can’t protect their feelings forever but, I feel like we are still healing from the shock of what happened. For me, today was a day of reflecting on and remembering that horrific day, ten years ago.