Six years ago, on what was a beautiful fall Tuesday morning in the city, my world stopped. Everyone’s did. It’s amazing how clear every detail is to this day:

– Strolling into work a little foggy with egg sandwich in hand after a late evening watching the Giants at a bar on monday night football
– Maria calling over the cube wall, “did you hear that a small plane hit the world trade center?”
– Seeing that smoking hole all the way from midtown out of the 30th floor window
– Flipping channels for CNN in our conference room as Laura shrieked with the impact of the second plane
– Gazing out the window and gasping in disbelief as the first tower crumbled
– Evacuating from the highrise with my co-workers
– Chaos of gridlock and crowds on the street outside of 41st and Madison
– Trying to grab a ride from the closest available, a limo – and not moving
– Fleeing north by foot into the park when the second tower fell
– Finally getting a cell phone signal and calling mom to say I’m safe
– Spending the morning and afternoon at Sharon’s apartment glued to the news
– People pacing inside, checking cell phones, panicked for friends and family
– Walking home to the upper east side across the park, intent on giving blood – only to be turned away as the line would down and around three blocks
– The emptiness of my apartment upon arriving back
– Meeting Jay and friends at the corner bar patio
– Watching the biohazard trucks in national guard convoy head south down 2nd Ave.
– Wondering when phones would work to hopefully hear from friends
– Rudy Giuliani on every screen – I never liked the guy until that day
– Endlessly reading the news ticker hoping for something, anything, new
– Heading into work the next day to clear my head and that empty view out the window
– The apparent police state which greeted me

It’s those things that immediately followed which I prefer to think about:
– New Yorkers forging together and refusing to give up
– Mr. November, Derek Jeter, in the World Series putting a wounded city on his back
– George Bush, a welcome leader emerging (with public support – remember when?)
– Politicians holding hands and singing, and us believing they were working together
– Views and messages of support from around the country and world
– The twin beams of light

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We’re all going to read about and see those 9/11 images today, which have been burned into our heads. I still get tingles when I watch the specials, documentaries and even visit the city.

Erin and I went to Ground Zero for the first time since the incident during our trip last month. I didn’t know how I’d feel or react. We went to St. Paul’s Chapel, best known for housing rescuers and relief workers as well as the masses of missing-turned-memorial signs.
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It feels more like a museum now, but an inspiring place nevertheless.
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The churchyard was covered in debris after the towers came crumbling – here’s the view now toward Ground Zero.
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Ground Zero isn’t much to look at now. It’s a crowded construction zone that feels more like a campaign spot for the new building project than it does a memorial site. Kind of sad.

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I’m one of the lucky ones. My close friends and family unharmed. A personal witness to history.

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