Do you remember where you were the morning of September 11, 2011? I’ll never forget. I was with my mom. It was the perfect late summer morning, blue skies and pleasant temps. We had just arrived at work (we actually worked in the same office that year) and one of the girls was shouting that “a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” What?
At that time, my office was on the corner of Madison Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City. I went outside with a coworker to see what was going on, since we had been listening to it all unfold on the radio.
We went outside and looked toward the World Trade Center. And just minutes after 10am, there was a plume of smoke and the spire from the south tower sank within it, sinking further until all I could see was just black/grey smoke. My stomach sank, too. I was petrified. Terrified. And the sense of dread I felt that morning, stayed with me longer than I expected.
After watching the towers collapse, I ran back into the building, got my mom, all the while thinking, “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die with her.” Everyone evacuated our office. But Penn Station (where we had to get a train to go back to Long Island) was closed and there was no word of it reopening.
Mom and I headed to Penn anyway. We walked around 34th Street. I was panic-stricken, worried that something other than a building collapse was going on. But my mom, always calm and unruffled no matter what the situation, just held my hand and said, “We’re going to be okay.”
Well, we were okay, but many people weren’t. While it took me three years after 9/11 to ever get back on a subway, many people lost their lives. (For weeks after, my town had a funeral nearly every day, many for the first-responders.)
We finally made it home that day, arriving at our local train station around 5pm. From then, I was glued to the television, watching Peter Jennings report throughout the day and night, and days that followed. It certainly was one of the most horrific times of my life that I can never forget.
Every year on this day, I take some time to remember where I was, who I was with, and most importantly, to remember those that lost (and gave) their lives—in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.