I read an article in the New York Times today about mementos people kept from the September 11th terrorist attacks. It was a two Kleenex read.
I remember getting a call from my then boyfriend, who’s now my husband, before seven in the morning on September 11, 2001. He was in New Jersey at the time. He told me to turn on the television.
I don’t remember getting ready for work or driving to the office.
I worked for a transportation brokerage, a noisy place, kind of like the trading floor of the stock exchange, where brokers hold a phone to each ear. September is a busy month. In addition to our regular loads, we’re inundated with shipments for the holiday season.
But on that September morning, the phones barely rang. We sat at our desks in hushed reverence and watched the horror unfolding on our computer screens. The manager of store where I worked part-time called to tell me not to come in that night because the entire mall was closing for security reasons.
Feeling more shocked and angry than scared, I wondered, like most people, if and when the terrorists would strike again. Would it take place in a heavily populated city with tall buildings? The Sears Tower or the John Hancock Building? I thought of the Transamerica Building in San Francisco with its iconic triangular shape. Was it on the target list?
When I got home that night, I turned on CNN. Through the large picture windows of my tiny studio, I could see the occupants of the apartment building across the street, their televisions tuned to the same station. The local pizza delivery guy circled the block in his Toyota compact making deliveries.
Life as we knew it had changed forever. But we could still get our east coast style pizza.
Because of our long-distance relationship, my boyfriend and I had flown the JFK or Newark-SFO route so many times that we’d joke it was akin to riding a Greyhound bus at 30,000 feet. He flew back two weeks later to attend my sister’s wedding. The plane was half empty. Some of my sister’s friends, too scared to fly, didn’t come to the wedding.
A year later, I stood in the long security line at JFK. An impatient man behind me muttered, “All of this because of an idiot who wears a dress and lives in a cave.” Every time I flew somewhere, I’d heard other passengers grumbling about the same thing.
If one chooses to fly, then security checks are a given.
One image from September 11th still haunts me. The Man. The man who’d gone to work that morning. The man who’d expected to be home in time to join his family for dinner.
The man who’d jumped from one of the Twin Towers because he had no other choice.
I’ll be thinking about him this Sunday.
Here’s a link to the NY Times article I mentioned. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/us/sept-11-reckoning/relics.html?_r=1&hp
What are your memories of that day?