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Reflection of Sept 11, 2001 (17 years later)

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  • Reflection of Sept 11, 2001 (17 years later)

    Since September 2001, September 11 has invoked so many emotions for me, both personally and professionally. On the one hand, watching the events unfold that day, how my life, as well as the life's of many Americans, especially first responders, changed that day. On the other hand, tragic events like this reinforce my belief that Americans are resilient and can handle adversity.
    Whenever I talk about September 11, 2001, and the events that happened in NYC, there are individual images of the WTC that were fresh in my memory that all now permanently etched in my mind. All of which occurred within nine months of that tragic day.
    The first event was my very first time at the WTC site. Early morning, late December 2000, in the lobby of Tower 2 (south tower). At the time, I was dating my ex-wife, and I had decided to take her to NYC to sightsee and catch a hockey game. We started in New Jersey and took the PATH train that brought us to the WTC site. While in the lobby, we had talked about going to the observation deck in Tower 2. However, decided against it and instead opting for the more iconic Empire State Building.
    The next event that I will never forget happened in April of 2001. For a friend’s birthday, we decided to spend the weekend in NYC. We decided to stay at the Millennium Hotel, which is right next door to the WTC site. Saturday night, we went around the city and celebrated my friend’s birthday. Sunday morning came, and we woke up around 9 am. It was an overcast day with drizzle falling. We opened up the curtain to our windows on the 52nd floor, and I remember not being able to see the tops of either building. We all got up and ironically when had breakfast that morning at a cafe in the subterranean level of the WTC site.
    Event 3 happened closer to the tragic day. It was Sunday, September 9th, 2001. On that day, myself, my sister Danielle and Jessica (my ex-wife) had decided to spend the day in NYC. First, we went to the Bronx Zoo. After that, we decided to go to Coney Island. We ate at the world famous Nathan Hot Dog stand rode the cyclone, then headed home. Driving home, we decided to take the West Side Highway, which runs alongside the WTC site. I remember stopping at the light directly adjacent to the site and looking up at the towers. I felt a sense of pride seeing them that day and reminiscing of times of the past nine months that they were a part of my life.

    September 11, 2001
    This day started out like many other days of mine. I was working my part-time job at Target (working for the public sector is not going to make you rich). I went into work at 745 and scheduled to work until 2 pm. After that, 4 pm until midnight at Ulster County 9-1-1. At around 854 am, a co-worker of mine came to the back of the store and said: "A plane has hit a building in NYC!" Being the person that I am and know a bit of history of the city, I said to myself "It’s an accident. It’s happened before!" Thinking back the plane that hit the Empire State Building in 1945. About 10 minutes go by, and we receive word that another plane has struck another building in NYC. One building I can see as an accident, but two is something different. At that moment, the store pretty much shut down. We were all up front on the right-hand side of the store watching the events unfold live on the TV. The picture was not the best since it was from an antenna on the roof of the building. I went home from there not to spend time with my family, but instead go to my job at 9-1-1. Most of the calls we received that night were at first, about low flying planes in the area. (Ulster County is in the flight path of several airports). Then there were calls from people venting their frustrations with the people ultimately responsible for the attacks on American soil. However, most people were calling to offer help and thank our first responders. Surprisingly, there weren't that many emergency calls. Maybe people just figured whatever problem they were having was nothing compared to the people in NYC, The Pentagon, and Shanksville PA.
    That day, and the events for the weeks and months to follow changed my life completely. That day taught me how resilient we are and made me think of what type of legacy I wanted to leave on this earth. In October of 2001, I decided I wanted to get married. In 2002, my son Owen was born. He is a part of my legacy that can carry on. I hope I never to forget September 11, 2001, and I hope that neither my sons nor I have to see an event like that happened again.
    Every year since 2001, I have made a trip to lower Manhattan. At first, it was to see the progress of rebuilding. When Owen was old enough, I told him about my reflections of the twin towers and the events of that day. Still, later on, I was able to bring my sons to the reflection pool that now stand where the towers once did. Also, in 2016, I was able to bring my entire family to the top of the Freedom Tower. A true testament that we can raise from the ashes, like a Phoenix
    I haven't forgotten! Raising from the ashes To stand triumphantly over NYC

  • #2
    Mike:
    I also remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was at the Police Academy attending the Legal Update class in the auditorium. While listening to the instructor from the State's Attorney's office, we began hearing the pagers (yes this was way before we all carried cell phones) going off from those from the CT State Police - they quietly began filing out. Next, shore line officers, their pagers started. Now, this training was for Administration so we had Chiefs - Majors - Captains and Lieutenants in the auditorium, and before you know it, have the place was empty. The instructor then broke us but said not to leave the area. Within 15 minutes they had pulled down the screen and the images from NY were being show. You could have heard a pin drop in that space. Within a half an hour the academy shut down as all the recruits were released to their agencies and the class cancelled.
    I remember driving back to Brookfield hearing the news reports and not really believing what was happening. I also remember that night the quiet on the streets, no cars - no phone calls just people glued to there television sets and holding each other close. Everyone wanted to do something and the hardest thing to do as an administrator was to tell them NO, they could not go to NY, we had to wait until the call came and we knew what we could do.
    As the days and weeks passed, I saw our country stand tall and proud amidst the tears and sorrow and we continue that today. September 11th, 2001 is a day etched in my mind and heart, I am proud to be an American as well as a first responder. I have been to the 911 museum but not yet to the reflecting pool or the Freedom Tower, but I will go there to honor and pay my respect to those who died. Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope others will share theirs.
    Maureen

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