I remember where I was on Tuesday morning September 11, 2001. Hard to believe it was 20 years ago now, maybe it's because I lived through it. Manhattan is more than 250 miles from where I lived on Cape Cod. However it might as well have been next door as everything I witnessed felt like it was right outside my door.
I remember being in the midst of writing a mundane email to my friend Barry. I remember I was going to tell him I was going to visit Nickerson State Park in Brewster on my day off. It all seems so small but I remember, I wish I had kept writing that email and sent it instead of turning off the computer.
I remember my mother's frantic screams when she heard the first radio reports in her car. I remember her yelling into the house for us to put on the television. I remember sitting on the couch and watching as the towers fell. I remember the memories of visiting the Twin Towers when I was in 7th Grade all came flooding back. I never visited the top but I remember the enormity of the buildings from the outside and from the lobby. I remember a surreal feeling knowing they were now only a memory. It was like I was floating, or falling down an elevator shaft. I remember having that feeling for the next few days.
I remember my sister Kate, pregnant with my niece Emma (now 19), frantically calling my then-brother-in-law Peter out on a job landscaping, making sure he was alright, and making sure to let him know that the world as we knew it was coming to an end. I remember my niece Kaleigh, all of 2 and a half years old(now 22), staring at us with a mix of concern and curiosity at what was on the television that was causing all of our fear and angst. I remember not feeling tired though my heart ached for the thousands of people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania affected directly by the attacks.
I remember wanting to close my eyes as if it might make it all disappear, but then I remember fearing that I'd reopen them and another plane might be hurtling through the sky toward a populated area. It was as if I was waiting for a cut scene like it was a docudrama where they would say 'that's what the end of days would look like.' Then life would go back to normal, but it didn't. I remember staring outside at the beautiful late summer day in front of me and contrasting it with the scene of utter horror on the television. I remember feeling detached and attached to the situation at the same time.
I remember not feeling hunger but I still felt the need to venture out to make certain that my world close by was still standing. I remember driving around town where everything in my little corner of the world looked the same yet I knew everything was different. I remember feeling so small, but then feeling so much pride and love for the firefighters and police that were walking into the battle zone when everyone else was running away. I remember sitting frozen still on the couch for fourteen hours watching, still hoping in vain that there would be a disclaimer on the screen that said it was all a hoax. It would be like War of the Worlds on the radio, even as night fell I clung to that belief.
I remember the next morning at work at The Marshside. I remember standing on the deck with Maui who I had known for 8 years at that point. I remember still having that feeling of falling as we spoke. I remember the deep blue sky untouched by the gentle exhaust of aircraft. I also remember the silence, the overwhelming deafening silence that surrounded those days. I remember the names coming out over the next few days. I remember the photos, the interviews, the magazines, the newspapers; I still have them so I will always remember.
I remember attending a candlelight vigil and meeting a few people that had come from Ground Zero and had helped in the massive recovery effort. I remember each anniversary of the day that changed our world. I still have a box full of newspapers, magazines, and other such things from those days. I gathered them to make sure I always remembered.
It's still hard to believe that it has been 20 years now. Please take a moment, even if you knew nobody involved, or have never even been to New York, to remember what happened on 9/11. We are all part of one family, the human family, above all else, always remember that. Peace and love.
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