A year ago I wrote the following note:
at 8:50 am on 09.11.2001, i was free. literally.
it was my first class of the day, which was also my free period. as i set up for the day, i remember a co-worker coming into my room telling me a plane had crashed into the world trade center. my first thought was: 'what kind of asshole crashes their plane into a HUGE building??' - of course, i also thought it was a small 'prop' plane. by 9:00am, i was riveted to a small screen in studio 2 with twenty five students, as well as several teachers, and soon realized- this was not an insignificant little bounce off the side of the building by a 'prop' plane, but an actual attack!
there i stood, nine months pregnant, eyes riveted to the t.v. as the north tower became engulfed in smoke. helplessly i watched in horror as the south tower was struck by a second plane. - it was close to impossible to comprehend what i was seeing and hearing.
i remembered the years i spent in new york - my visit to 'windows on the world' at the top of the north tower, and the slightly ill feeling i got from being so high above everything... even the planes. i remembered the picture taken of my oldest daughter and myself on the observation deck of the south tower... she wasn't even one year old.
as tears fell unabashedly down my face, i watched. i watched as the south tower suddenly collapsed upon itself, and fell to my knees as the north tower soon followed suit. i cried for the many individuals who lost their lives that day. i cried for their families. i cried for my own daughter - who was only in fifth grade at the time. i cried for my daughter who had yet to be born. i cried for our loss (our nations loss) of freedom.
ten years have passed. ten years my heart has ached. i now know i will never forget the events 09.11.2001.
today i ask you to remember the events of that day, and to offer a moment of silence for those who lost their lives- those who were unwilling victims, and those who fought to save them. i ask you to educate your children - regardless of how painful it may be - about the day when our freedoms as united states citizens were challenged.
yet most importantly, i ask you to please, please, please: always remember - never forget!
Since the events of 09.11, I have been back to New York many times - the first (2005) was the most difficult. I remember taking the train down to the World Trade Center. The beginning of the journey had started out with laughter, however as the train neared the Chamber Street Station, laughter faded away and it seemed as if the entire atmosphere of the train had changed. Riders sat quietly, all lost within their own thoughts... reverent.
Once again I was taken back and the tears threatened to fall.
At the time of my visit, nothing but an enormous, vacant hole occupied the space. Walking the empty grounds was haunting. Everything about the World Trade Centers; life, vitality, excitement - was gone. For a long time after that first trip, I've resisted going back to Chambers Street - I couldn't bare to see the empty space, the visual reminder of all that was lost.
Isabella was graduating from college! She spent four years in the city I had called my own at her age, and I was looking forward to bringing the entire family to NYC! I knew there was one thing I wanted to share with my husband, with my two younger daughters: The World Trade Center.
We took a train to Battery Park, admired the Statue of Liberty from afar, wandered the outskirts of the South Street Seaport, while gradually making our way over. We ended up by the Brooklyn Bridge, and just over the treetops I could see it: the Freedom Tower (now known as 1 WTC).
And it was enough.
I don't know how else to describe it - I suddenly didn't want to go any closer. I was 'happy' where I was: seeing the Freedom Tower from afar - a stoic, half built structure rising above the rest, seeing the life and vitality all around me, being there with my girls... with my family. It felt as if eleven years later we have come full circle. For me, this building resonated the spirit of the American people - evoking the feelings it was meant to: Strength, Endurance, Growth... rebirth.
My husband and I pointed the structure out to the girls, told them it was a symbol of strength, took our obligatory pictures and were on our way.
*Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said when the name change was first initiated he prefers the name Freedom Tower, and the building's true name will be left to the public. 'One of the things is we call things what we want to call them. So Avenue of Americas is a good example. It's Sixth Avenue to most people,' the mayor said. 'If they name this One World Trade Center, people will still call it the Freedom Tower.'
John Lennon: 'Imagine'
'imagine there's no countries
it isn't hard to do
nothing to kill or die for
and no religion too
imagine all the people living life in peace.'
John Lennon: 'Imagine'