Friday, September 10, 2010

Do You Remember?

It seems appropriate to re run this piece.  May we all find peace.

 Do you remember what you were doing September 11, 2001? It seems so long ago, yet just like yesterday.

I remember working a 12 hour shift at Fort Sanders in downtown Knoxville. Tn. the night before. I cannot tell you if it was busy or slow, trauma night or psych night- just that it was a shift. I had come home to my home in Strawberry Plains and taken my kids to school. I do remember I was off that night, so I didn’t have to go right to bed and sleep fast.

I remember sitting on my bed, surfing the net and reading the news, pretty benign stuff. My friend Ken popped up in my chat box and I turned to my conversation with him. My home was quiet with the exception of my fingers on the keyboard. Now, my friend Ken is a money guy- into investments and managing money- so he understands NASDAQ and the NYSE- things I just nod at, blankly stare and say a-huh. I am sure he was watching the markets in his office or on his computer. I remember Ken telling me a plane hit the twin towers. My thoughts were a small plane, maybe a sight-seeing plane- but HELLO- it was one of the twin towers- How do you hit that? Ken and I kept chatting .....then he said “Oh shit, gotta go, the second twin tower was just hit and it was by a passenger jet!” As quickly as he signed off, I turned on the TV in my bedroom- only to hear that the towers had been hit by two American jets- and I knew right away it was a terrorist attack.

As the day unfolded, we heard about a plane that hit the Pentagon as well as the plane that went down in the Pennsylvania countryside. Hundreds of lives were lost, and millions were affected.

I will never forget that day as long as I live- I can tell you what the room looked like, what I was wearing, the whole scene as it was imprinted in my mind forever.

Years later I took a travel nursing job in Newark, NJ. The first week I was there, I had, just HAD to go to Manhattan. I jumped on to the PATH train which ran from Newark to World Trade or Penn Station. I took the World Trade train that day only because it was closer to Chinatown. Most of the trip was spent underground as the train had to cross the Hudson River. Sitting in the front car , I began to catch glimpses of daylight and saw a ramp ahead of me that looked eerily familiar. As the train rounded the curve and began to pull into the station, I realized we were in the actual hole left by the Twin Towers, and the ramp was the one we had all seen on TV as they removed debris and the last piece of steel from the site. I was truly overwhelmed with emotion, and could not imagine what all those people went through that day.

A few months later I was reunited with my cousin Kelly. Kelly has lived in New Jersey all his life. Imagine my surprise when I found out he worked in the building right next door to where I was living. We met for coffee and tried to catch up. Kelly works for PANYNJ- or the Port Authority for New York and New Jersey. He was telling me his 9/11 story- He had an early meeting and was enroute from his home in suburban Jersey to catch a train to take him to the World Trade Center. He told me he had gotten a phone call at the last minute telling him the meeting was moved to the New Jersey office in Newark. He rerouted his drive and went to his meeting- in Newark. He remembers standing in the room, looking at Manhattan on that beautiful fall day, and watching all hell break loose. He was supposed to be in one of those buildings.

I cannot even begin to fathom watching that scene play out in front of my eyes. Nor can I imagine the thoughts that would go through my head knowing I was supposed to be in a meeting in one of those buildings when the planes hit. I know that had to be a gut wrenching experience for those in that meeting that morning.

My son Matthew and I were living in New Jersey in the fall of 2004. We went to the World Trade Center on 9/11 to witness the memorial. The people, the emotions, the tributes were incredible. The two light pods created almost a ghostly vision of the towers . It was almost as if they were saying- look hard, we are still here. while the towers are gone, they will live on in the hearts of americans everywhere as will those who lost their lives.

Many are too young to remember the events of that day, but for the rest- we can never forget the day over 2500 people gave up their lives for our country.


The Bipolar Diva said...

I remember all too well. I have my kids watch all the specials each year so they will remember as well.

plumbing said...

Looking back, it was actually many years ago and yet it feels like it happened only yesterday. That was really unbelievable.