It’s so hard to believe it was 19 years ago today. I was in New Rochelle, NY visiting my dad. A friend of his, Ben, needed to be picked up from Bayside, Queens (where I grew up) so I got in the car to head that way. At that time, the first tower had been hit and no one was quite sure what had happened.
I remember driving over the Throgs Neck Bridge and you could you see the smoke from the 1st tower. I picked up Ben and headed back across the bridge to return to New Rochelle. Now, as we drove back to Westchester, the 2nd tower was up in smoke. What was happening? By the time we got to my dad’s office in New Rochelle the news reports were non-stop. Word of bridges being closed resulted in an immediate return trip to Queens to get Ben back home safely to his wife.
Needless to say, no sooner did I get to Bayside when they closed the Throgs Neck Bridge. Off to my brother’s house in Long Island I went. It was a surreal kind of day. My youngest nephew came home from school thinking it was great they were getting out early. He was unaware of the magnitude of what had occurred until my oldest nephew came home. He had friends – who are twins (nicknamed the “Twin Towers”) – and their dad was missing.
Phones rang constantly. Cell phone lines were overloaded and the world changed from that day forward. I wasn’t living in NY. I lived in Colorado, but was SO grateful that I happened to be in NY (I was there for a reunion with several high school friends who had reconnected via Classmates.com). It was a blessing that I could be near my family and friends – not just know they were safe, but see them with my own eyes. The classmates reunion didn’t happen as planned. Some friends just couldn’t get to NY once the airports shut down. Some friends were on their planes when they got sent back to the gate. Our hearts were heavy.
It was a day that changed the way we think (and travel).
It was a day that changed the way New Yorkers treat one another.
It was a day that united many while leaving others behind.
It was a day that left an aching hole in so many hearts.
Today, I remember that day, my family and friends. I am grateful they were safe & sound and I was there with them.
And, I remember those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and send my heartfelt thoughts.
What are your memories of Sept. 11, 2001? Please feel free to reach out and share them with me because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million.