11 September 2008

When the towers fell...

Today is September 11th. Seven years ago, a defining moment in United States history occurred. For my generation, everyone will always remember where they were when the towers fell, similar to how everyone from my mom's generation remembers where they were when Kennedy was assassinated.

I remember the buzz in the hall - "go to CNN.com - something has happened in NYC at the World Trade Center" - and then CNN being hit so much simultaneously that no one could get online.

I remember picking up the phone and calling my brother who worked at the hospital less than two blocks away from the towers. God blessed in that I was able immediately to speak to him and know he was safe, even though while we were on the phone, the hospital went into emergency mode and it would be almost 2 days later before we would talk to him again.

I remember going into the dining room of the law firm where I worked (and still work) and watching them pull TVs in there so people could gather and watch. I remember sitting on the floor in total disbelief as the second plane plowed into the South Tower. And I remember erupting into tears when a puff of smoke confirmed the unbelievable - that the towers had crumbled.

I remember my boss, John H. Goselin, compassionately telling me to go home and be with my mom hours before the firm made the decision to close its door for the safety of its employees. I remember walking to the MARTA station with my paralegal and friend, James Wardrick - a NYC native with family still living in the area - and having to go two stations in the opposite direction because MARTA was packed to the gills with people trying to get home to be with loved ones as the horror continued to unfold. And I remember being on the train headed home when news of the plane hitting the Pentagon and of Flight 93 going down in the fields of Pennsylvania hit the news and wondering, "Ok, when is this going to end? How many more planes are out there?"

I remember calling and speaking with my godsister, Linda, who was in Connecticut trying to get back to Seattle, WA, but unable to because the airports were closed. I remember going to the home of my friend, Kenneth White, and just watching the reports over and over and over again and talking about NYC and our ties still to the city.

I remember waiting to hear that my friends were ok. I remember the reports of people walking home from downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn - and of my friends who had cars who picked up strangers and gave them rides because it was the right thing to do in times of crisis.

I also remember immediately thanking God that, as horrible as it was, it could have been so much worse. We have all heard the stories of people who were "out of place" - who should have been there, but weren't. Even in the tragedy, God showed mercy.

And I remember going to NYC for the first time one month later for my friend Rhonda's wedding and crying as we flew over Ground Zero, which was still bellowing smoke from the hole where the towers had stood...one month later.

I don't know where you were seven years ago. I don't know if your memories of the day are as clear as mine. I don't know if you lost someone important to you when the towers went down...if you did, I am praying for you especially today - for strength, peace and comfort.

Be blessed.

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