I tried to go to sleep. It is 10:15 on September 11th and I cannot help but think back to the events of this date 11 years ago. I remember where I was, what I felt and how I sat and watched the news for what seemed like an entire day.
I drove into the White Plains office this morning with my friend Donald. Donald worked on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center. On that morning, he was not in the office. His hot water heater was giving him trouble and he stayed home to wait for the repairman. He was able to get all his team out of the building. I worked with that team of people years later. They were never the same again.
I remember where I was that day, what happened and how I felt. I remember hearing my office mates cry on the phone and the husbands and brothers who were fireman and policeman were not returning home that night. I remember wlaking past the firehouse near Penn Station and seeing the candles lit in jars in front of the doors with the pictures of the men who died that day.
We had a director’s meeting this morning and started out with a moment of silence as we remembered that beautiful fall day and the events that changed our lives as Americans. My coworker lost his sister-in-law that day. He told me she was on the 102 floor of the South Tower. She made it to the 78th floor and was taking the stairs the rest of the way down…they never heard from her or found her. My heart broke for him as explained how he left his own downtown office to go to the site and look for her…..to no avail and then having to call his wife and tell her he could not find her sister. I had all I could do not to cry right there in his office.
We all lost someone, or knew someone or felt that loss in some way. My kids and I watched the 9/11 programs on the History Channel and they asked me about that day. I can’t help but think about how young they were and how their lives may have been different, like so many families have been changed.
So please remember this day. Remember the people that died innocently and the men and women who tried to save them. I never went to Ground Zero. I never wanted to see it. I could see the rising smoke from my midtown office window. That was enough. Say a prayer tonight for those souls, their families and for our country.