Remembering 9/11

4:49 PM

I used to work in NYC.

At one point I had the most gorgeous view of Manhattan from my high-rise apartment. I was just about atop the Holland tunnel.

I LUVed that city.

Still do.

That connection to NYC and the Twin Towers began when I was still a child. My parents often took us in to the city for Radio City Music Hall events, and shows and museums, always followed by a dinner at Windows on the World. This glass restaurant, pictured above, was atop a Twin Tower with chilling, panoramic views of the city. If you sat by the window, you could get vertigo!

When my husband and I were dating, I remember taking him to that restaurant for one of our anniversaries. Sharing a part of my life with him, he too made memories of the city and towers.

This is a painful day of remembrance. I still tear-up for all those who perished, who suffer, who still suffer...

In 2001, I was overdue with my 3rd son. His due date was Labor day that year, September 1st. I wasn't too worried as I delivered my other 2 sons 6 days late. But there we were now 10 days late...

I was blissfully ignorant of the events of the morning with the first plane and the Pentagon. My eldest was in 2nd grade at a local, Catholic elementary school. My 2nd son was playing in the playroom and then my post-partum doula called. She made small talk wondering when she could "come to work" as she had expected to be with me already. We've been close since my second son was born and she came to "mother the mother."

I kept hearing the call waiting sound and then my cell phone going off. I told her that someone seems to be trying hard to reach me. And she said, "...probably for the same reason I am calling you, sweetie...something is happening. I wanted to make sure you weren't upset." She told me to call my husband.

It was my husband who had been trying to reach me. He told me about the first plane. I turned on the TV and soon thereafter I WATCHED the moment the 2nd plane crashed in to the 2nd tower! I watched, live, as one by one the towers came down. (I watched for days.....)


What a deeply sickening feeling to know the U. S. was officially under attack. To know that so many were dead or dying. (Knowing the buildings, the area, I feared so many more...perhaps tens of thousands... were gone.) Then, to hear the report that the airline was *praying* for the plane they could not reach...where was it...where was it going? Footage of DCers running out of the Capital... O, the bravery of that flight to do what they did....

Of course, I did get upset. I wanted my husband and son to be home. I went to get my son from his school and he and I and his little brother went to church to pray. (I wonder how many had a seed planted for homeschooling during that time, to have your children close. How meaningful that is to me today.)
Admist all that sadness, a bright spot emerged. Our darling 3rd son was born on 9/13.

LIFE, affirmed.

I remember his Daddy with the front page of the newspaper showing a smokey, eery fragment of metal beams amongst ruble....what was left standing at ground zero. (I have not been able to return...someday...) He filmed that front page newspaper, that date, and whispered while panning up to his newest babe, "You are our bright spot, son."
From our son's scrapbook

I also remember, vividly, a resident doctor that visited the next day. This tall, dark, foreign looking man with his head wrapped in a turban. I worried for him. How would people greet him, respond to him? What timing....

The weight of the sadness is still familiar. But I will also remember and mark this time by the gift from God of my baby boy.

Our Merciful Father in Heaven brings beauty, light and hope out of every darkness.

(If the Catholic Church believed in reincarnation, it would be easy for all to agree that this 3rd son could be a reincarnated Brooklyn firefighter. He has the accent... from a family with no discernable accent. Go figure.)


Sarah said...

What a close connection you have to NYC! Even after 8 years, I do not tire of hearing people's stories of where they were on 9/11 ... I think we will all remember that day—where we were, what was going on in our lives, how we felt—forever. It effected all of us greatly. How that one event changed how we thought of the world. Or maybe that event actually changed the world? I am not sure, but it's definitely different now ... It still makes me sad.

Renee said...

As I read through your writing I felt my heart pang deeply. How I remember this day, even all the way up in B.C. at that time! I'll be heading to NY for the first time in Nov. for US Thanksgiving to be with my sister for our 2nd annual sister-only visit, so I will cherish your memories and all the lives lost that day while I am there. How poignant to have a new babe through such a time, blessings in abundance for sure. (Is he the one who videotaped your daughter that day while making block towers? He sounded from Brooklyn actually LOL)

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful story Allison. I remember that day all to well. You see my Uncle was the Pentagon Chaplain at the time and was there on that day. We all thought that he had died. Then we were releived to receive a call later in the day saying that he was just fine. I also worried about my husband and brother who could have been deployed at a moments notice that day. I will never forget that day. It is a sad thought to think of all those who died that day. Why did it happen? I think because the world had become too politically correct (and still is) to stand up to these radical Muslims and their hatered for all that we love. I pray that we as a nation can start standing up for what really matters in this world, Love of God and His laws. If we started with that everything else would flow from there.Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories with us!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

I woke to the aftermath of the first plane then also watched the second one, live. My heart sunk and I called every family member I could, wondering what we should do. I wanted everyone to be there with me and just gather everyone up just to have a physical grip on them (silly, I know). I wanted to hold them all and know we were going to be okay. I wanted my hubs to come home and my sister to get off the freeway, away from the city. I still make myself watch footage of that day, every year. I make the kids watch too, so they will never forget.

Christine said...

Never forget. I bet we will not. Our children should not either and all the other evils that are done to humankind.

Great story. That day touched so many people in so many ways.

Gardenia said...

a beautiful post. I too watched in horrow as the second polane crashed, as the towers crumbled, as the firmen carried Father Michal Judge out of the rubble on a stretcher. i could not leave the TV. and I prayed. We all still pray today, don't we.

Ebeth said...

+JMJ+ Thank you for sharing this...and the view!! Wow, vertigo for sure.

This is one of those horendous events that you just want to shout, "Remember the Maine! and Remember the Towers!"

My prayers to all on this sad anniversary.

Ebeth said...

+JMJ+ Thank you for sharing this...and the view!! Wow, vertigo for sure.

This is one of those horendous events that you just want to shout, "Remember the Maine! and Remember the Towers!"

My prayers to all on this sad anniversary.

Kathleen's Catholic said...

This is a beautiful story, Allison. Thanks so much for sharing your memories.

Every American changed that day, especially those of us on the east coast. We will never, ever forget.

God bless.

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