NYC 9/11/01 Courtesy of International Space Station

NYC 9/11/01 Courtesy of International Space Station

On September 11, 2001 we still lived in New Jersey, very close to Manhattan. So close in fact that we could see the skyline. Like many other people, the details of that day are forever burned into my memory. We were on our way to work when I hear over the news radio that what they thought was a small plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. I amusingly called my husband who was carpooling to work with a friend and neighbor who was at the time taking flying lessons. “How can someone miss the Twin Towers?” I joked to them. Shortly later, our amusement at the apparent idiocy of some newbie pilot turned to fear and horror that none of us have felt in our lives. One by one, we learned of the attacks on the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Still not convinced that this was even real, I begrudgingly complied with my husband’s pleas to leave work, go home and get the boys from school. Feeling still rather foolish, I called and then went to the school to find that most of the other children had already been picked up by frightened parents and those remaining would be taken to a “shelter” by the police at the end of the day if their parents did not pick them up since it was unknown, who if anyone, might not be coming back to pick up a child that day. Many of the parents of children in the boys’ private school worked in the city. It was truly frightening.

Later that day, it was eerie just how noisy the area really had been now that it was silent since no planes were allowed to fly. We lived very close to the three major NYC airports and a small airport very close by – planes were always flying overhead. That day, however, it was so, so quiet – and very scary. It was difficult to explain to the boys what was happening, especially when we didn’t know ourselves. They were frightened, we were frightened and there really wasn’t much information to be had. Luckily none of the boys’ classmates suffered losses in their families, although one of the teachers in town, lost her husband that day. We grieved as a community, we pulled together as a nation as we never did before. We were right in the center of the action. It was very frightening.

Today, we live in a very different place. We are in Vermont and it is quiet here 99% of the time. There is the occasional small plane flying by on a beautiful clear day from a local, small airport. It is odd to think how strange this silence was to me, eight years ago. It was a day that changed life for a lot of people and in some way, for all of us. It is a day to pause to remember.

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