I watched the coverage this morning and remembered seven years ago when the world changed. My friend woke me up and told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and we were on the phone watching that when the other plane hit. As the events unfolded throughout the day I remember how shocked and grief stricken I was. How could this be happening here? I remember how the skies were so silent because all of the planes were grounded. We live close to two airports so we see planes all of the time. You just kind of take them for granted but now there was nothing, no sounds and no jet trails. Occasionally you would see fighter jets fly by in formation and that would scare you even more and you would rush back into the house to see if something else had happened.
Two weeks after 9-11 we flew to New York. The airports had heavy security and we were apprehensive but determined not to let fear control our lives. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we took that trip. I remember hearing the term, "hallowed ground" and knowing what it meant but not really thinking about it that much. I totally understood when we went down to the site. You could not get very close. There were fences blocking off the whole area. You could see the wreckage though and occasionally when the wind would blow your way you could smell the smell that I hope is unique only to this place for it was horrible. There were thousands of people standing there. Just looking. No one was talking. Most were crying. Thousands of people breathing in air filled with the dust of the buildings and the dead. Thousands of people and you could have heard a pin drop.
I did not take a single photo of the site. Somehow it just didn't seem right. It seemed invasive and intrusive. Instead I just stood there with my fellow Americans and grieved for our innocence, lost that day amongst so much rubble and so many dead.
We could see the huge trucks rumbling through the streets laden with their cargo of huge beams twisted beyond recognition. We stood and cheered when the firefighters or policemen would walk by. We looked at all of the memorials and read all of the flyers that were placed everywhere begging, hoping, desperate to find their loved ones.
It was the most moving experience of my life.
I am posting a photo of one of the flyers and another of a close up of a statue of a fireman. This statue was supposed to be going somewhere else but was sent to New York instead when they heard what had happened. It had become a makeshift memorial. Many put rosaries in the fireman's hand.
I just wanted to share with you my recollections of that horrible day. Never forget.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
PS... The flyer reads:
"My name is Marc and my friend Joey worked on the 105th floor of No. 1 World Trade Center. After September 11, I put his "missing" flyer all over the streets of this changed city, choosing my spots as if I were painting graffiti, looking for the best light, the easiest places to see my friend's face.
At 26th Street and Lex, next to the Armory, strangers were nice to me, saying: "Hope you find your friend." I just thanked them and kept looking for more places where Joey's smile would catch people's eyes. It felt good to be doing something, not just sitting and mourning.
Joey and I met when we were five. His mother watched us every day after school before my parents came home from work. We went to school together for 11 years, and all those years I watched him. He was the coolest guy. I felt like the dorky kid he took under his wing. He showed me a lot of things, how to look cool, how to talk to girls. His father, a Vietnam vet and a retired FDNY fire fighter, helped me learn how to ride a bike. That was the first thing his dad asked me when we hugged each other, "Can you still ride a bike, Marc?"
Joey leaves behind his beloved family, girlfriend, and friends like me, lots of us. He will never know how many lives he touched. I have cried so much that I have become empty inside. My childhood hero has been stolen from me, and I will miss him forever."