September 11th Revisited

It was one of those beautiful New York fall mornings, sunny and breezy but not hot, the kind that makes you feel incredibly fortunate to live here and makes all the crap that you have to put up with to do so seem completely insignificant. I was walking through the park to get the subway back downtown, and it was there, on the subway, that everyone was talking about a plane, some people said it was two, having crashed into the World Trade Center. Had it been an accident? Surely it must have been an accident. But if there were two. . . . . It made no sense and this being the era before smart phones no one was getting real-time updates to solve the mystery. It wasn’t until I got back down to the West Village and put on the TV in my apartment that I began to understand what was happening. And it was a few more minutes before I realized that the phantasmagoric image of the burning towers that was on my TV was identical to the image that I could see from my southwest facing window just beside it. A view of the World Trade Center. It had been a selling point for the apartment, what I stared at each day as I sat at my desk. I began calling around to friends, confirming that they and the people they knew down there were okay. Most were. A few still hadn’t been heard from and though we didn’t know it then, never would be again. A solemn day whose magnitude and meaning I don’t know we’ll ever be able to fully grasp, but eternal gratitude to the men and women who rush into burning buildings, putting their lives at risk and sometimes losing them, in order to spare ours.