Ten years ago today, I called my sister early to wish her a Happy Birthday. We had a wonderful call, then I went back to work. A few minutes later, a terrorist event began on U.S. soil that was like a script from the Twilight Zone, complete with special effects that were unfortunately too real.
I watched the Internet along with millions of other people as the planes hit the World Trade Center, people jumping to their death out of the broken windows due to the fires raging, then as the buildings collapsed. Reports came in from all over the country and by the end of the day, many were correct especially about the Pentagon being hit and another plane crashing in Pennsylvania because the passengers wrested control away from the hijackers.
I went out for lunch that day. I stood there on the sidewalk in upstate New York, on a beautiful fall day, looking up at the clear blue sky, trying to understand how such a lovely day could have gone so wrong. It bothered me then and it bothers me still.
Over the next few weeks, there were few people that my husband and I spoke to who were not impacted by this, from store clerks who lost family to executives of my employer whose flights home were diverted; they had to stay in Newfoundland until the planes started to fly again. The New York Department of Revenue lost an entire field office; the manager on my employer’s case was so distraught with grief that I thought he would retire within a year.
I still call my sister for her birthday early in the morning before her day starts. There are very good things that happened on September 11 and she is one of them. But for a long time, I had a moment of silence when the towers were hit, at 8:46 am and 9:03 am, Eastern Time. It is a moment to remember those who died and the many who lived.
And many did live. The beautiful fall day made a big difference. Had it been lethally hot, bitterly cold, drenching rain or tornado strength wind, people would not have been able to help themselves by walking out of there.
I don’t have any pictures from that time of how I felt on the sidewalk that day. This last Friday, I went for a walk during lunch and as I looked up, I realized it was the same kind of day as it was nearly ten years ago. Here’s a picture trying to capture how I felt on that day.
Word for tomorrow – ATTRIBUTE. If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.