I can clearly remember waking up on 9/11/01 in my apartment in Long Island, NY. Just another typical day, I was going to start my final semester at St. John’s University in Queens, NY that week. My phone rang early and my friend said turn on the TV….what? I just woke up what the heck, but I did and could not believe my eyes!
There was no one on the roads that day, neighbors chatted with each other in the streets. You could hear fire trucks with sirens blaring racing into Manhattan, they were the only ones on the roads that day. I, like so many others sat glued to the TV for updates. I had family and friends that lived and worked in the city. I was eagerly awaiting for word from them that they were ok…..thankfully they all were but had harrowing tales of what they saw.
The Long Island Rail Road train station parking lots were filled with cars from people that had driven in to take their train that morning. Each day that their car was still parked in the train station lot had their tires marked, chances are they weren’t coming back to get their car. It was horribly sad everywhere you went for a long time. School finally resumed for me and I can remember looking out the window and you could see the smoke plumes coming from downtown Manhattan. One student went in to a panic attack when we heard an airplane that seemed a little too loud. She rushed out into the hallway hysterical. This event affected everyone in some form or another.
Now 11 years later most of us have moved on with our lives but inevitably the date roles around again and we all stop and reflect, where we were when we heard, or who so and so knew or we try to explain it to the younger ones that weren’t born yet. I can only imagine how those directly affected feel on this date.
Living in Arizona, there are memorials around town, like the Healing Field at Tempe Town Lake. A flag flies for each life lost that day at the Pentagon, the site in Pennsylvania and the World Trade Center. All in all 2,996 flags to remember each person whether they were on the planes, rushing in to rescue people or those that were just taking the train in for another regular work day.
So on this National Day of Remembrance, stop and take a moment out of your busy day to remember those that were lost and those that fight for our country to keep us safe!