Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten

Yeah, this is another 9/11 post.

I sat my butt down to write something yesterday, feeling that since I’m from NY I should at least say SOMETHING about it, and no matter what I jotted down, nothing I wrote really said what I wanted to say any better than what I wrote exactly 5 years ago, on the fifth anniversary.

So, here it is, with just a small edit here or there…..

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I used to work on the 90th floor of Tower 2 in the World Trade Center.

The time was 1994. It was about 6 months or so after the first failed attack on the towers.

I remember my mother at the time, freaking out about me going on that first interview, saying “That building isn’t safe! What if they decide to try and blow it up again?”

I carried her concerns with me as I went on the interview. Any reservations that I DID have, however, left me as soon as I walked inside the building.

For months after the '93 attack, the security inside the Trade Center was mind-numbing; Police, guard dogs, photo-ids, multiple drivers license checks, and all of this before I could even enter the first floor elevator!!

After the interview, I went home that night seeing any fears I had about working in that building washed away. It felt like Fort Knox to me. It felt like the safest building in the world.

Who could have known?

Who would ever consider that people would use commercial airliners as weapons and try to bring the towers down from the sky? Such an idea would have seemed unfathomable to me back then.

Remarkably, it still does.

What people not from the greater NY/Long Island area need to understand about the World Trade Center is just what a major hub of commerce and employment it was for us here. I am not exaggerating when I say that there is literally no one who lives in this area who hasn’t worked in the Trade Center, or knew someone who did.

We ALL know people who died in those buildings. All of us.

Simply put, for everyone here, the World Trade Center was a huge part of our lives.

Luckily for myself, I had moved on to other employment by the time the tragic events of 9/11 struck, but I have friends and family that were working there that day. I lost friends that day too. Everyone around here did.

My friend Scott Bart had just gotten married a few months before 9/11. He was young. He was happy. He had his whole life in front of him. He never made it out of that building that day. Sometimes I go to his company’s memorial website and just sit and stare as I try to grasp the extent of the insane, needless loss that all those names on those memorial web pages convey.

Such a staggering loss, and at the same time, just one story, among thousands.

I have a family member who worked on the 50th floor of Tower 1. After reaching the 10th floor during his evacuation, he decided to help a group of EMS workers that were heading back up to help the wounded. Upon reaching the 40th floor, he happened upon his ex-wife, also working in the trade center. She dragged him away from the EMS workers and told them that they would need to find someone else to help them.

The building began to fall as they finally reached the main lobby. They ran for their lives across the street, and into Battery Park. We didn’t hear from him until 3:00 P.M. that afternoon, by which time I had been sure he was dead.

He still won’t talk about what he saw that day, and I have learned to no longer ask.

I simply cannot believe it has been ten years since the place that had at one time been such a central part of my life came crashing down, changing the world forever.

It doesn’t feel like ten years.

And it shouldn’t. Not ever.

We should, each and every one of us, keep the memory of that day alive in our hearts and souls for whatever time we have left in this world. We should remember the horror of it, but also remember proudly that, throughout it all, that day helped bring out the absolute best in so many of us. It was a day that tested the mettle of many, and few were found lacking.

Say a prayer tonight for the children and families whose lives were forever shattered ten years ago today.

17 comments:

Cocaine Princess said...

Nicely written.

Heff said...

Very Good.

B.E. Earl said...

It's hard to know what to say/think/do every year on that date.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Beautifully written Slyde and so true. We need to remember it. I'm sorry you experienced personal loss yourself. I can't imagine. So many of us forget about that first attack way back. I'm glad you mentioned that here. That too needs to be remembered.

Marlene said...

Beautifully written, indeed. I was still living in Canada at the time...and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I got the news that morning. It affected us, too.

Annabelle said...

Hugs.

That is all.

sybil law said...

My cousin worked in Tower 1, and was late for work that day. If ever there was a good reason for being late...
Horrific, unbelievable day.
I'm glad you are safe, and that we all are, for now.
Prayers for every family affected - directly, indirectly.

blondie1 said...

Kia Ora from NZ again, 9/11 dawned upon us like an awful nightmare my mother rang and woke me 530am saying go to the TV breaking NEWS my friends started arriving after 9am and we spent the morning hugging laughing praying crying for a world away was crumbling it was awful for us to watch knowing we were so far away but our thoughts prays and Aroha pronounce Ah-row-ha ( means love) will always be in our hearts and yes the rawness of that day still tugs at the heartstrings every time news footage or memorial anniversary days pass God bless all the families and work colleagues affected.

2abes said...

it was hard to talk about back then and still is

The Accidental Somebody said...

Thank you for this post...I've never been to New York but have always wanted to go and one day will. It seems like such an amazing city, and when the tragedy struck it hit me as if it had happened to my own city.

I can only imagine how it felt for you and so many others whose lives were connected with those buildings. I think it's good to hear stories about how they affected peoples' lives before they fell...such a great way to carry on their legacy.

Much love...

Kim

meleah rebeccah said...

Very well written, Slyde. Seriously.

"I simply cannot believe it has been ten years since the place that had at one time been such a central part of my life came crashing down, changing the world forever."

I can't believe it's been 10 years either.

radioactive girl said...

This is written perfectly. My daughter and I watched some of the specials over the weekend and cried. She's 13 now and it is so nice to know that she cares to ask questions and try to understand this, even though to me it sounds like something no one can ever really understand.

My parents live in NY. My dad, luckily, had not gone to the meeting there that day. He lost many friends/coworkers that day. So sad, and sad isn't even a sad enough word for it.

Sandra said...

This was riveting and very well written. So sorry for your loss.

MarkD60 said...

It was a day no one will ever forget.

Tamara said...

Well written, Slyde. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, and I was still in high school and halfway around the world - it was an earth-shattering event.

Lotus07 said...

Good stuff.

I had just about had my fill of the network hype about this on the 10 year anniversary when I came across a program on cable, (don't recall the channel) that showed the whole day spliced together from personal video camera footage that people downtown had shot. No narration, no graphics, just raw video camera footage for 4 hours in real time. It was mind numbing and all to real.

Bless My Bitchy Heart said...

Thanks Slyde. Very moving post.