I cannot believe it’s been 9 years. I may have forgotten a lot of details from my senior year of high school & lost touch with a lot of friends I swore I’d be “BFF” with, but I haven’t forgotten anything that happened that day. Finding out before most in school knew, calling my parents to get updates from Mr. Bing’s journalism office, my parents saying, “A tower fell” and as they said it, a second tower fell. I will never forget my mother’s voice as she said that, watching the second tower fall while on the phone. Mr. Bing, completely disbelieving it, had to call his own wife to verify something that seemed so unrealistic. Watching our principal tell my friends and fellow seniors in the cafeteria. The worry on the faces of friends who had relatives that worked downtown & teachers who had children that they couldn’t get in touch with. I remember with great emotion even now, breathlessly learning about the second tower, about the Pentagon, about Pittsburgh, PA. I remember this.
Living in Raleigh, I can get out of touch with what’s going on in NY. Yankee games don’t have the same urgency, I’ve lost track of the latest Broadway news, the amount of club hair I see at the beach has been limited to Thursday nights, etc. I was talking to my dad earlier tonight and he mentioned all the coverage for September 11 in NY. Raleigh doesn’t have that intensity.
Regardless, I remember watching this 9 years ago:
I knew that place. I had been there months earlier for my friend Kerri’s participation in a teen beauty pageant. My parents picked my friends and I up from school. I was allowed to keep my Grandpa’s on-loan cell phone because of 9/11. (I had to gone journalism camp in the Hamptons the end of August while Grandpa had surgery & he lent me his cell phone to call my parents daily and get updates. After 9/11, he told me to keep it because it was a HUGE tool used in contact for me and my family that day and my friends and their families, as well.)
But this isn’t about me. Just my memories and my clumsy tribute.
My grandparents took us to the site of the World Trade Center (“Ground Zero”) right after Thanksgiving 2001. It really did still smell like death there. Not rotting flesh, but the stigma in the freezing cold NY air. We have a police officer neighbor on LI who helped with recovery and his stories were straight out of a forensics crime novel. When I took my driving test in fall 2001, I had to remove the American flag sticker from the back of my dad’s car window. EVERYONE on Long Island had some form of “God Bless America” or “These Colors Don’t Run” sticker.
It’s funny the things we remember that come out of tragedy. I’ll never forget that feeling I felt on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when I walked into Mr. Bing’s journalism office at 10:05am and my best friend Brian told me in a low, serious voice, “A plane crashed into the WTC!!”
Laugh all you want at Lee Greenwood, but God Bless the USA. Never forget.