Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001, My Story

September 11, 2001 is a day in my life that I can recall almost every detail, it has been permanently etched into my memory because I have replayed it over and over so many times.

The morning started normally, I got myself ready for work and got the kid on the bus to Kindergarten which had started just a few days earlier and I got on the subway from where I lived in Queens, NY to my job in Midtown Manhattan.

I was already at work in the kitchen of a place called The Emerald Planet that was located in the mezzanine level at Rockefeller Center when a friend of mine called and told me that I had to get home ASAP, a plane hit the towers and NYC was under attack. I had to wait for my manager to get back from the errand he just ran and then I told him I was leaving, he had already heard people talking and he was ready to close the place anyway so I ran to get on the subway back home and on the train there were people coming from the WTC site, crying & covered with soot, praying & talking with each other. In the area where my bus stop was to get home was in what they call 'little India' & I saw a man dressed in military fatigues & I just prayed. I got off the bus and when I looked to my left I could see that the Empire State Building was still there, so I thanked God, and ran down the block to my house.

I got home & saw the video of the second tower being hit & watched the towers fall in absolute horror because I was there the Saturday before for a job interview at a restaurant called the Coco Marina that was located at the back of the WTC by the river. I got myself together and then went and picked up the kid from school where parents were already picking up their children, the kid was sitting in the lunchroom with his head down in his arms crying, not because of what had happened, he didn’t even know yet, but the noise in the lunchroom made him upset. I’ll never forget that, he was so sad just sitting there, and when he saw me he was so shocked to see me and then he was so happy that he practically jumped into my arms. I was just happy to get him and go back home where it was safe.

I lived very close to LaGuardia airport & I'll never forget the silence when they shut the airports down & then the deafening roar of the fighter jets taking off & patrolling the area.. it was just.... I don't even know words for what that felt like.. But it's something that I hope we never have to go through ever again. I remember the first time I rode the subway after 9/11 and the panic I felt.. I think it was the first time I ever rode the subway alone without having music plugged in my ears. Going to work was weird. and very stressful for the first weeks back. Manhattan was seemingly covered in a black cloud.. And that smell.. Oh God, that smell was so horrible and it just hung in the air for weeks and weeks.

September 11, 2001 is a day that I'll never forget because I knew people who worked at windows of the world & lost their lives that morning, I went to college 1 subway stop away & remember looking at the towers from the 16th floor of the building where my school was.. it's just so painful to go there now & to see pictures that it's just gone.. the Christmas after 9/11 I was there and I took many pictures.. but they're tucked away in a box in my closet. The memories will always remain for so many people, those who were in NYC at the time and those miles away.. It doesn’t matter where you lived at the time or what you were doing because it’s almost guaranteed that you remember it exactly.

©AMVG, September 11, 2009