9.11.01: A Personal Memoir

As I arrived into the courthouse I made my way to the line standing impatiently waiting with a tortuous anticipation for my name to be called. Besides being stuck in the stuffed courthouse I was in good spirits.  I had just begun my new college journey at the Mannes Conservatory of music in Manhattan and a childlike optimism filled my being as I joyfully anticipated my second day at school. Everything was moving in a normal way until a lady in a panicked tone shouted out loud, "The twin towers have been hit, they think...by an airplane."  At first the mood of the entire room stayed relatively calm except for a few concerned whispers in back of me.  Each one of us felt that everything would work out. We all collectively believed that probably it was an errant plane that had miscalculated its landing, but nothing more.  We all stood in line in a dual state of restless anxiety and assurance.

I was moving forward in line until another woman said, " Tower one has just collapsed!."  In a few seconds later the same woman exclaimed loudly in a more grave, somber tone, "The pentagon was hit also."  An indescribable wave of panic hit me as I imagined that our country was being attacked.  I was terrified, my mind was racing. I thought to myself, " What next? A few moments later another woman said, "Wall Street has also been hit, there are bombs going off there."  After these announcements most of the room went into a heightened state of alarm. and dread.  Fortunately for me the woman in front of me on line was sage like in her demeanor, saying in a calm voice, "Let's pray for our country."  Almost as soon as her impromptu prayer was finished we were all commanded to go to the main courthouse where we were all immediately dismissed. I quickly rushed and decided to head to my father's shop.  I did not want to face this alone.  I wanted to be next to my family.

Looking back I still ask myself what would have happened if I was in the city as I was supposed to be?  I remember my inner fears, the loud, piercing ringing of the fire trucks, the police and other emergency vehicles.  I remember the feelings of dread when I saw the footage on the T.V. for the first time.  I remembered specifically how I saw one person on T.V. as he was walking away from the rubble. His face was covered in a thick white film and he was crying profusely and saying out loud, "Why, Why?"   To this very day I still remember that terrible image.  I don't think that I will ever forget it.  I can't for it is forever etched into my consciousness.   As I saw those towers collapse a part of me died also. 

We must never forget that day, the day in which over 3,000 of our citizens were savagely murdered.  We must not forget the firemen, the police officers who all bravely rushed into the towers just minutes before they collapsed.  During that terrible day I also saw the best of America how thousands of volunteers rushed to donate blood to the hospitals and triage centers that were being overwhelmed.  I saw a president who was barely legitimate in the eyes of our country transform into a powerful, and inspirational leader, with a new prose so eloquent, rivaling that of even Lincoln.  I remember watching our congress singing together, "God Bless America".  Never in my lifetime I have ever witnessed the worst and best side by side.

Now as I take walk outside; just a few yards out, on the bay. I  can see the bright, glimmering lights, shooting up to the air, commemorating the lives lost on that horrible day. I say a short prayer but a part of me is still in denial, it seems improbable that this all actually ever took place.  As I leave I can hear the deceptive rattling of the waves so peaceful, so serene, yet a part of me refuses to be consoled. 


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