What I remember most that day.
Sitting at my office desk in Providence, RI, when I saw something on AOL about a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. Seemed odd, but not unthinkable. Nothing to really worry about.
Then a report of a second small plane hitting the Twin Towers. Now it was more than odd.
Then the reality of two large passenger airliners hitting the Twin Towers, another hitting the Pentagon, and another unaccounted for. Panic.
I tried to think about who I knew who worked there. A cousin had been working in the Towers during the 1993 bombing, but no longer worked there. Since my law practice involved the stock brokerage industry, surely I knew people there. A list-serve I belonged to had people checking in as safe, and reporting on others they knew were safe.
I remember leaving the office soon after it was clear these were terror attacks, and my wife picked the kids up at school. We watched the events unfold from home.
The feeling of helplessness as events unfolded.
What I remember since then.
The chirping of the PASS (Personal Alert Safety System) alarms, each one representing a lost firefighter.
The phone messages left for loved ones by people stranded in the Towers.
The lost firefighters.
The lost heroes from my hometown Roslyn, NY.
The unsuccessful fight by passengers to retake control of Flight 93.
Mandy’s post in 2013, a few days shy of a year before she had her stroke, Remembering September 11th and the importance of loved ones and endurance
I drove straight to my mother’s house, where the whole family gathered and waited to hear from my brother again, not knowing if he was safe. Every few minutes, the phone would ring and it would be a family member or friend, checking to see if he had made it out and home safely. My parents planned to try and drive into the city to see if they could find him, but quickly realized that there would be no entry into NYC with nearly everything blocked off. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that we’d finally heard back from him. He’d borrowed the phone of a stranger and was able to get the call through to let us know he’d made it across the Brooklyn Bridge by foot and could hitch a ride to an exit on a nearby highway, where I had later picked him up myself. We all spent the night together at my parents’ house, thankful to know that my brother was safe, but heartbroken about what our country was enduring.
My mother still has that stranger’s phone number written down and saved on a piece of paper.
September 11th taught me the importance of family and loved ones in our lives, as well as the compassion of those we may not know, and that we can never, ever take life for granted. So many were not as lucky as my family on that day, and my thoughts will forever be with them.
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