Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996

The sign-up for this tribute was closed when I attempted it this morning. I first read about it at TRUTH IS FREEDOM. If you go there, Brian has all the relative links to the original project site. It is a wonderful idea that I would have liked to have included myself as part of, but I've read some beautiful tributes this past weekend (Brian has written an especially nice one). Bloggers have signed up to write tributes to those who were lost on that day. It is nice to see their individual lives memorialized.

September 11, 2001 - 9/11 - truly a date that will live on in infamy. As is customary on national holidays and as many did in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, I am flying my country's flag in honor of those lost on that day.

But what a beautiful day it started off as. I was 7 months pregnant at that time and was commuting to work in Manhattan. I would take the QM12 Express Bus into the city on the days that I worked (I was always off on Friday). This day as many will remember was just a gorgeous September Day - the bluest of blue skies greeted me that morning. The bus ride was no different than other days - the bus making time in the bus lane on the Long Island Expressway (LIE)to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Between Julian kicking madly in my uterus while I would try to read a book, I would look out the window at the city skyline and just ruminate about life with my hand reassuring Julian that he would be here soon. Then we entered the tunnel and it took us a long time to get through. Too long - what's going on?

We got out of the tunnel at very close to 9:00 and there were sirens screaming through the air. Police cars, fire engines speeding by. The unmarked official black vehicles. People were on cell phones on the bus with reports streaming in that a "commuter plane" had hit into the World Trade Center. As we crossed 34th Street and looked downtown, there was the thick billow of black smoke pouring out of the Trade Center. By the time I was walking to my office, people were out near cars, gathered near delivery trucks listening to radios - the second tower had been hit. By the time that I got to my office, I just sat in my chair dazed listening to the news on the radio. Some of my coworkers went downstairs to watch news on television, but I just sat there at my desk. I desperately tried contacting my best friend in life who works in the World Financial Center, to no avail. Thankfully by afternoon, I talked to her and she was okay and coming to meet me. My experience of that day was different than hers, I did not see things first hand. She saw workers plummeting to their deaths from her office building. When I met her, she was shellshocked.

I know I changed on that day along with millions of other people. I became more patriotic then and I remain so proud of this country now. Because I know when you say America it does mean a country of freedom, caring and helping those in need, despite what others would want the world to believe. I know that because that is who I am and I am an American and these were values that I grew up with and impart to my children.

My heart weeps for those who lost someone on that day. We must always remember - never forget.

This post is in honor of our fellow human beings who were lost on that tragic date. May their memories all be a blessing to those they left behind.

25 comments:

pinky said...

I was hoping to hear your account and you have written in beautifully, as expected. Thank you for sharing that moment in time and the way it affected, and still affects, you.

I agree, we all should remember, stand proud and join together in a moment of silence for those lost and the loved ones they left behind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, G, for sharing that, for carefully and beautifully expressing what you went through that day. The whole country was shocked that day, but I can't imagine how much more people in your city were, seeing the events hapen first hand.

I know I'll never forget those people because that's what they were, people with families, with dreams and hopes. People like you, G, wonderful, real people...

Pavel

RedNeckGirl said...

I sit here teary eyed with goosebumps reading this post.....thank you so much for sharing your 9/11 with us. When you hear someone who was actually there....worried for a loved one it makes a big impact. I am thankful that your friend wasn't hurt physically but my heart goes out to her for what she saw and heard that day. Thank you again G.....beautifully written.

neva said...

that was beautiful. i had forgotten that you were in (or near) the city that terrible day, and i'm very grateful you--and certainly your friend--came out of it all okay.

we have a friend who worked in one of the towers, he actually left the building after the first plane hit, and was home by the time both had been reduced to rubble. he got back his battered briefcase a couple of years ago, and has since then donated it to a museum displaying the remnants of 9/11 (i can't remember which one).

thank you for sharing this powerful and very moving memory, NBFF, and for the reminder that, even as we *do* attempt to move on with our lives (which is the right thing to do) we can and should NEVER forget. xox

RedNeckGirl said...

btw- i hope you don't mind I linked you in my post.

Christine said...

Beautifully written G. I can't even begin to imagine what that day was like for anyone involved in any way. I remember getting a call about it from a colleague and then sitting at work hitting refresh on the BBC website trying to find out what had happened. And then going home and seeing the footage on every TV channel. I get goosebumps every time I think, read, or see anything about it and we must never forget.

G said...

Thank you all, it's just my little slant of where I was on that day. I am so fortunate that I suffered no loss but the anxiety and sadness that we all went through.
And Pavel, that's the thing that strikes me - they were us, off to work on that day.
RNC: of course not, thank you.

FelineFrisky said...

G - Powerful events change our personal worlds forever. Beautifully said. D

Miz BoheMia said...

Beautifully written indeed dear G...

That year, that month, Lil' B was 10 months old and in order to meet Loverboy's parents, they arranged to meet us in Dubai. My original choice had been Turkey but Dubai was easier for the in-laws. I wanted to avoid going to Iran because of the political instability and the like and well, it scares me... being in Dubai when 9/11 happened was not very helpful...

I was taking a nap with the baby and I think Loverboy woke me up to come watch CNN... I stared at the TV for quite a while as my mind tried to make sense of what I thought was a movie and why the hell was I woken up to see such a violent and stupid movie? But there it was, the glaring headlines, "America under attack"...

It took a long time to sink in as I sat in shock, crying on the inside but unable to move or shed a tear on the outside, if that makes any sense... altough later the waterworks poured in and I ached to rush home and be there, for whatever reason but just to be there and go through it all with everyone else...

And the ache and the pain and the freshness and shock of it all remain to this day... I think we all lost an inherent innocence that day and it is safe to say that we will never be the same again...

I ditto Neva... I am so happy you were ok and I simply cannot imagine what it must have been to actually see it... if it affected me so deeply when so far away my god what it has done to those of you who were there...

Beautiful post my friend and thank you for writing it!

Swampwitch said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I'm not sure how I ended up here but so glad I did. First, I am happy you were safe that day. It's not often we can read the words of someone who was actually there. Second, thank you for sharing your story so that we can all continue to remember.

brian said...

Hi GQ,

I know I left a comment here this morning! I thank you for the link and the words. Also for sharing your own personal story of the time in the city.

Doug said...

Thank you, G.

First Nations said...

we still have inadequate health care for the victims and families of 911. but that selfsame year the government completely wired the entire US-Canadian border with spy towers and put up a 911 memorial at every crossing. in my hometown. during a so-called recession.
yeah.
I became more patriotic after 911. And I became very bitter about this administration.
I am glad that you and your baby came through unscathed. how horrible for a new mommy to experience close up! Hugs and more hugs!
i was an entire continent away and I still feel it vividly. I cannot watch anything about 911. I stayed up for nearly three days straight watching the news, scared out of my mind, listening to the live newscasts as the lost firemens' alarms sounded, and stopped, one by one...shit.
Oh my God, the poor New Yorkers today. They are in my thoughts.

Kate said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Sometimes you have to write about the things deepest inside you, to let them live instead of fester.

9/11/2006 was cathartic for many of us, I think, because we're not letting things fester, we're remembering and promising to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day, the ones who didn't want to, and yet didn't have a choice in the matter.

G said...

FF: so very true.

MizB: That was my exact reaction - I couldn't move, I couldn't shed a tear, I just sat at my desk trying to fathom it all. I don't know that I've had any more chance to fathom it, but I've shed many tears since. Thank you for your warmth and beautiful words.

Swampwitch: Welcome, glad you found my place. My words are such a tiny tiny thread of the quilt but their my experience of the day - one I'll not forget nor those who were victims.

Brian: Thank you and for doing such a beautiful tribute and for just participating so fully in the project. You're a kind soul.

Doug: thank you.

FN: A bitter pill indeed - more patriotic, but more bitter. The health ills of those who were there that day and fought to save lives continues to mount - so many unable to work because of their disabilities suffered (of course respiratory issues) and fighting for disability - now that is beyond the pale! I'll save this for New Yorkers - a strong lot, you can knock us down, but we're getting up and stronger. Now we need to get our head together and get the whole Ground Zero set up as the proper resting and Memorial place it should be.

Kate - So well put and I couldn't agree more. Thank you for coming by.

Laury said...

I can't imaging seeing it first hand. What an impact. I was living in L.A. at the time. To many of us on the West Coast it was so surreal.

You can read about my memories of that day and my tributes to Jon Schlissel and Susan Clyne on my blog.

G said...

Laury, It felt the same for me - surreal. I can't even speak for those who were at Ground Zero on that day. We all experienced the loss together as a country though.

I will stop by to read it. Thank you.

Joel said...

Very nice post G.

Minka said...

I think this is something that will never be forgotten, it impacted way too many people to become obsolete.
I remember taht day and what I most remember is being scared like hell...until I realized that that is exactly what those people wanted, and I´ll be damned to give up my way of life for their insanities.
This incident was tragic beyond belief and it shocke dteh world!
We must indeed remember...our values, our way of thinking and our pride.

G said...

Thanks Joel. Welcome back from Atlanta.

Minka: So true. I felt and feel the same way. Scared then angry and obstinant that I will not cave into this living in fear. This is life, I am living it. Period.

Couldn't agree more on all fronts.

Pat said...

I never really heard your account, G - Obviously, everyone remembers where they were that day, but for the several million folks doing what you were, going to work in NYC, it was indeed a different kind of memory than most - more up close and personal? - and of course, for Kitty it was worse - and of course, for many others, includng 3 guys that I knew when I worked for GTE there, that worked on the 110th floor of Tower 2, it would be the last day of their lives - I know for their sakes we will never forget! Love ya, Pat

weirsdo said...

Nicely said.

G said...

Pat: Sort of like our recent family email discussion on the fragility of life and human resiliancy? I forgot about your working there...xox G

Weirsdo: Thank you.

al said...

Touching and heartfelt and oh so familiar. I'm normally a pretty talkative guy, but I don't think I said more than a few words to anyone for more than a week afterward. My mind was racing, but I couldn't express any of it. It was the absolute depth of sadness for me.

Thanks, G.

G said...

So true Al. You had a tough time living downtown. A lot of sadness, a lot of tragedy.

Glad to have met you though.