My wife never got over watching the second tower of the World Trade Center crumble to the ground from our apartment on the twenty-first floor on West 43rd Street in Manhattan. Nor did she ever get over the loss of her friends in Ladder Company No. 1 down the block. Each time we walked past the firehouse and saw the purple bunting draped across the garage bay we relived September 11th all over again.
We’d been awakened by our friend calling to tell us that a plane had crashed into one of the buildings at the World Trade Center. But, having been born and lived most of our lives in Manhattan, we’d heard stories of small planes crashing into buildings before. Even the Empire State Building hadn’t been immune. So we went back to sleep.
A few minutes later the phone rang again – this time we were up and at the window and then out on our terrace, watching.
You could smell the smoke and I still have pictures of the smoke rising toward Heaven.
And, later on, the blue lights celebrating where the World Trade Center had been.
And September 12th…
I remember having to be in Times Square and the pall spread across midtown. It was like a scene in an early science fiction movie – the day the earth stood still or something like that.
Times Square, known for its crowds of tourists and theatre goes and New Yorkers racing in every direction was practically deserted. I don’t think I saw more than three other people. And the sun didn’t seem to be shining. Just a gray, empty sky. Devoid of life. Devoid of hope.
As I walked west, toward home, the sun suddenly revealed itself and by the time I reached 8th Avenue it was in full bloom again, shining brightly, as if to tell me that there was hope.
But we still don’t forget watching the tower collapse or the eeriness of Times Square the day after.
9/11 will always live in our memory and so will 9/12 as a reminder of a future of hope.
Images: author’s own.