Tuesday, September 11th, 2007...11:14 pm
9/11 – Six Years Later
Today was 9/11. It is the sixth anniversary since the tragic and fateful day. For many, the wounds aren’t as raw but the memories of that day are still powerful. I found myself thinking about 9/11 a lot today. My big sister wrote an email to Courtney and I this morning. It wasn’t neuritic or paranoid. In fact I was super thankful that she wrote it.
if g-d forbid anything were to happen again we should meet up
if something happens downtown meet at my apartment
if something happens uptown meet at courtney’s apartment
if something happens mid-town me and courtney are f*cked
I really can’t imagine what it was like to be in the city that day. I was a junior at Michigan and I remember it as well as any day in college. I had a 8:30AM economics class and remember being pretty hung over and tired. I was sitting next to Marc Rosen and I specifically remember asking him what the date was to fill out a form. Marc and I left class at 10am to walk back to our house. Our roommate Jeff was the first one to mention that some crazy stuff was going on and that planes had crashed into the World’s Trade Center. I figured he was overreacting and that it was just a minor accident. But then I went upstairs and all my roommates were glued to the TV. One tower had already collapsed and the scenes on TV was incomprehensible. I remember thinking to myself that I won’t be able to handle it if I watch the second tower collapse and all those people go down with it. A few minutes later it was gone. I had to take a break from the television. I was able to get in touch with my parents pretty easily and they said that our family was safe and all accounted for. I remember hearing the name of Osama Bin-Laden and it seemingly vaguely familiar and hearing about a country called Afghanistan that seemed completely random.
As the day continued it grew more and more intense for me. At one point I walked across the street (the weather was perfect) and just sat on the sidewalk. I couldn’t handle my roommates or the television and just wanted to be away from it all. I remember going to Red Hot’s for lunch and avoiding people because I didn’t want to ask them if their family and friends were ok. I remember getting in touch with some of my home friends to find out that the star senior football player when I was a freshman was missing (a few days later everybody’s worst fears were realized).
There was really nothing to do. Classes were canceled and it was impossible to focus. Most of all, I remember sitting around drinking beers with my friends and watching the news. The world had changed and while nobody knew what it meant I knew that this would be the defining and meaningful event of my generation. I wanted no part of it. At one my point my roommates were discussing what the US was going to do to retaliate and I snapped at what I thought was an ignorant comment made by my friend Troy. It had nothing to do with what he said, it was just that I realized then I didn’t want to live in this world, have these conversations, and face these issues. I was dealing with some family stuff at the same time and all this was just too much for me to comprehend.
My sister’s best friend was working in the Empire State Building that day. She never went back. Quit her job rather then returning to the city. I thought that was foolish until she told me her story a few years later. She watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center from her office window! It was only her second week of work in her life. She had to run down the stairs from one of the top floors. She begged her way on to the last ferry back to New Jersey before service stopped. Once in Jersey she had nowhere to go, no phone service and no money and just wandered the chaotic streets latching on to strangers who didn’t look too shady. I guess everybody has there stories.
I’m not sure what to make of the events of the last six years. I remember the amazing humanity and strength of New Yorkers as they suffered and then healed. I remember the Mets making a late run for the playoffs before Armando Benetiz blew a few saves. It was the most pissed I’ve ever seen my dad over sports and he’s not even a Mets fan. I remember the clutch two-out home runs in the World Series by the Yankees that allowed New Yorkers to scream with unabashed joy for the first time in months. I remember going to ground zero and having my stomach fall out from under me. It’s the same feeling I get even now when I walk by the area. There’s a small bridge in Great Neck, less than a mile from my house, that has a perfect view of the NYC skyline. The skyline was edited that day. The bridge became a shrine to the deceased members of my community. We learned all about Al-Queda, Osama and a whole part of the world that hates us. We’re in a war that doesn’t make much sense…
It seems like a lot of this hate was brewing for years and that the events of 9/11 were just the culmination of unknown threats. While I’m not sure of the true effects of 9/11, I do know that it changed all of our lives. The world feels a lot more scarier today than ever. I hope that changes for my children’s generation.