It was a beautiful clear day in Atlanta. Fall was in the air. Getting ready for work, I remember thinking how blue the sky looked in NY on one of the morning shows.
I was so excited and nervous that morning. It was my first major IT project kick off meeting at the hospital. Being a new Senior Ops Admin I had plenty to do and plenty to prove. And… I was late! I pulled into the parking lot by the auditorium where my presentation was being held and the news station on the radio reported a small plane hit the tower. I thought it was pretty odd. Not a cloud in the sky up there this morning?
I grew up in Brooklyn. My first job was at the World Trade Center. WTC 1. Back then there were only 2 towers. The support buildings were under construction. My whole life revolved around that plaza back then. I took the PATH train to my boyfriend’s house in NJ. I shopped in the mall in the lower levels every payday. I made little money and brought home even less! Back then there was no such thing as business casual! But in the late 70’s I was having a blast. Food trucks with every imaginable ethnic cuisine parked all along West Broadway. But the best Falafel was from a little cart on Vesey Street. You could get 2 hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut and a coke for $2.25 and walk to Trinity Church during lunch. I would sit by the Alexander Hamilton monument and read a book when the weather was nice. It was my ‘spot’.
I remember when SKYLAB lost it’s orbit and we were all waiting for it to come crashing down! I remember when a helicopter lost its landing gear on top of the Pan Am building and toppled over. It was a horrible tragedy. There have been small aircraft lost in the fog and a few near misses. A few years ago a small plane crashed into an apartment building and one of the Yankee’s – a pitcher, I think, lost his life. But a plane crashing into the WTC on a beautiful clear day? What is that all about?
As I got to the auditorium for my presentation people were talking and finding their seats and I was getting the podium ready. But the chatter in the auditorium that I can catch sounded so unreal. I flipped the switch from projector to television. As I changed the channel to the local news, Lower Manhattan and my beautiful buildings were as large as life all around me. There was silence now in the auditorium. People who had been mulling around grabbing refreshments were now finding the nearest seat to sit down. More people were flooding in as the news reached the rest of the building. We all sat in disbelief listening to the news. Because the tragedy was to continue as the minutes ticked by. There were two more planes missing. Two more targets?
Within the hour the word came that all non essential personnel needs to be off campus immediately. I was essential. I also have a teenager in school. Thankfully, since I can remote in I was allowed to leave. I made it home and with the rest of the world watched the horror unfold on television.
I’m going to keep my feelings and my fear to myself. Except to say this. I have traveled the world before and after 9/11 and know first hand what people think of my country. I also understand more about what the US Government will do to protect its’ interests abroad than some Americans. This is because I’ve opened a dialogue with people in other countries who have told me what my country has done ‘to them’. I get it. But every country has it’s own governmental demons. I think that the demons are proportional to size. It doesn’t make anyone right.
Since the beginning of time human beings have been killed in the name of religion, race, nationality or their wealth and it is senseless. One day there will be no one left and the last remaining soul on the planet will probably kill themselves because they won’t have anything left to do.
Over the past 10 years I’ve been back to NYC occasionally. I never went to Ground Zero. I didn’t need to go there to know what was missing. It hurts to no end to fly into LaGuardia and look down at lower Manhattan. In my mind’s eye I see the World Trade Center right there. Right where I left it.
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