Thirteen years later, it seems so long ago and yet if I close my eyes, it all comes rushing back. The phone call, running to the roof, seeing the second plane hit the South Tower and then watching the Towers collapse, suddenly one gone, then the other, just like that. Gone, with only smoke and ashes rising from where the Twin Towers stood just moments before. Then the sickening feeling in my stomach, knowing there could never have been enough time for people to get out….. next, being hit with the realization that it hadn’t been an accident. The planes hitting the Twin Towers had been planned, we were under attack, and I had just witnessed the murder of thousands of people in less than an hours time.
That horrific day. Horror, it was exactly that, as were the days, the weeks, the months followed, the air thick with ashes, the walls cluttered with pictures of the missing, so many faces, so many pleas from people searching for their loved ones. The day it was reported the efforts had changed from rescue to recovery only confirmed what we all knew after the third day, the missing were gone forever and somehow, someway, we as a city, as a nation, would have to find a way to begin to heal.
As of today, September 11th, 2014, I have yet to go to the memorial at Ground Zero, I still haven’t watched a movie about, a documentary, or even video footage of that day since it happened. I can’t even think about doing any of those things without feeling completely petrified inside and I’m ashamed to admit it. Tomorrow, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, like a lot of New Yorkers living here now who were also here that day, I will get up, go to work on a high floor, in a prominent building, and sit at my desk and begin my day. Sure, I might occasionally look out over the New York City skyline from my office windows, scanning for something “suspicious” looking, deeply hoping to not see anything at all. Yet, for the most part, besides reflecting on those we lost, like most New Yorkers, I will carry on my day as usual tomorrow.
Although that fear still exists in me, I feel redeemed in that the fear of staying home every single September 11th since the attacks, has been far greater than going outside, going on public transit, or going back to work on the anniversary of 9/11. The feeling of fear I have only means that I am human… my determination to face that fear each and every year that has passed since the attacks, symbolizes how I, how we all, never did and never will let terrorists win and above all else, we will never forget.