our nation was blind sided, attacked, devastated...a handful of monstrous acts and we were changed forever. i’m a southern california girl, born and raised. however, ten years ago i found myself living in new york, fulfilling a teenage dream. "if you can make it in new york, you can make it anywhere", is a saying that has always stuck with me. i was about to learn first hand the absolute accuracy of this truth. while no words can properly describe what it's like to live in the greatest city in the world while it’s under siege, i will try my best.
all modes of transportation in the city: halted. taxis are pulled to the side of the street, doors swung open, blaring the latest news reports from their radios. you stop amongst a group of strangers to listen like you've never listened to anything in your life before. you are amongst strangers, but you feel a bond. no one talks, but you know what the other is thinking. the sky overhead is blue on 54th street, but all the way down sixth avenue there is an angry, growing stream of dark gray smoke. when you finally walk into work, you’re immediately told to go home. your boss and colleagues look scared. no one can explain what's happening; you collectively feel lost. thousands of people take to the street, walking over bridges and highways, and long stretches of road to reach home. you try to call your family, but all circuits are busy. for many hours the lines are busy. when you do get through, you let everyone know you’re alright…physically. you never turn the television off as you watch the tragedy unfold, learning about additional attacks. you horrifyingly learn that these acts were deliberate, on purpose, planned. you feel immense grief for those who didn’t make it. you’re shocked and stunned, and the television is your constant companion. the air outside smells of smoke, and tragedy. all of a sudden, the earth shakes – a roar – and then there is dust. everywhere dust. the towers are gone, along with 2,977 people who lost their lives that day (source). from the rubble, we gain ground zero. in the weeks and months to come, many visits are made to this sacred ground to pay respect. alas, we will always have ground zero.
my personal account of that day isn't particularly disastrous; i didn’t lose anyone in the 9/11 attacks. i guess you can say i experienced the event on the fringe. but, whether you experienced the event on the ‘fringe’, in the thick of it, miles away, or (God forbid) you did lose someone (as so many people did), each account is important. these accounts and the telling of them is why, as they say, "we will never forget".
source: mark lennihan for time magazine