Monday, September 19, 2011

September 10

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 I found that I was sadder than in years past. I remember September 11, 2001 as though it were yesterday. It was probably one of the most glorious days that I can imagine. The sky was the bluist I can remember ever seeing and it was a temperate day. It started early as I went to pick up 2 of my bosses (who were staying at different hotels). As I waited outside the first hotel there was a clamor as a large group of people rushed in. I asked the doorman what it was all about and he indicated that it was Mayor Rudy Guiliani and his staff entering. My boss arrived and we moved on to the 2nd hotel. Always being early we arrived at our 9:00 appt at approx. 8:30am.  While we awaited our buyers arrival my husband called and said a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I was annoyed and certain that a small plane had clipped a wing and wondered why knowing I was with my management waiting to go into a meeting he would have called. Shortly after that call, my bosses wife called and used the word terrorism (not a word we really ever had heard relating to attacks on US Soil.  When the receptionist arrived we asked her to turn on the computer so that we could get a visual (this was before Iphones and Ipads so we had no way to see what was going on).  She first turned on the radio while her computer was warming up (they had to do that in those days). Just as she turned it on we heard a traffic or weather reporter say another plane has hit the World trade Center. With no visual still I fgured taht a small helicopter gpomng to view the first imcident had clipped its propeller or wing. As our buyer arrived (it was her birthday) her boss whizzed by and asked if she wanted to join them at the TV in the CEO's office- she pointed out that she had vendors here and we walked back to her office.

Once we got there and she received several updates by phone (as did all the other surrounding buyers) we realized that this was a lot worse than we had thought. We knew the NY airports were closed- at the time we did not know that it was the entire US. I offerred to drive my bosses to Hartford to fly home to Chicago. They figured they would just stay over another night. They got their rooms back at the hotel in NY and stayed there. As I got my car out of the garage the attendant asked where I was going as all the bridges and tunnels were closed. I siad I don't tkae a bridge or tunnel to CT. (He pointed out that Manhattan was an Island) but the bridges I take are small bridges that I did not expect to be impacted- as it turned ut they were closed coming in to the city but not going out.

Once we left there was no phone contact as all cell service was out. It was scary driving because no one knew what would happen next. There were people all over the streets and as I drove by the U.N. I was truly scared that it could be bombed. I drove home in that amazing sunlight and bright blue sky. I made it home in about 1/2 the time as usual. As I pulled into my driveway I noticed another car and i could not place it, as i walked into our den where my husband was glued to the TV, the light behind him blinded me and I still could not tell who was there.  I then realized it was a close friend who lived nearby and dropped by to be with someone else. I learned that my big one who was in kindergarten at the time, was still there. The school had said to allow the children to stay so as to not disrupt their day. They checked each classroom to determine that everyone had someone at home to be there when they got off the bus and had parents and teachers ride the bus home to insure that none f the older kids that may have known that had happened would not discuss the with the younger kids.

I tear up each time I think of the amazing job our principal at the time (and the whole school) did in protecting our children. There were no protocols in place and being a suburb of NYC many parents worked in NY and no one knew for sure who was ok and not. In a PTA meeting shortly after 9-11 hearing the principal discuss the many ways  they pulled this all together to protect our children has held them in great esteem for these many years.

Being a New Yorker it has taken me years to be able to "deal with" 9-11. I will ever feel as safe as I did growing up and am sorry that my kids will NEVER have the comfort of the safeness that I felt growing up. Fo years I would cry as I came around the curve on the Bruckner and noticed that the towers were not there.  Whenever I would cross the Whitestone Bridge and see the planes flying to the airport I would have a fear that the planes may fly into the bridge. To this day I look around grand central each time I arrive and wonder for  a second if these are the people I will die with as Grand Central seems like such a likely target. Most of the time I just go about my business and hope to never deal with anything close to 9-11 again.

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