I just happened to be in New York on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
All over the news and everywhere I went that day, there was a palpable sadness in the air, even after so many years had passed. It's almost as if the tragedy happened just a few days, not many years, ago.
On the day and time the four planes crashed, my mother was a Personal Service Representative with American Airlines (the person who helps people when they arrive for their flight get in the right line, know where to drop off their luggage, find their gate, etc.) at Los Angeles International Airport. She would later write in her journal:
Oh My God. Oh My God. Oh My God.
I could barely talk; at times I held my breath. I was at work, heard immediately what happened and saw that flights disappeared from the screen, and then bam, bam – it happened again and again. In what felt like gasping breaths and on-going disbelief I kept telling passengers to go home and rebook by phone if you live here or wait in line and we will try to help you.
As the word “cancelled” popped up on the screen over and over again, I was stunned. After a briefing and dismissed to go home I felt I was just following my fellow co-workers to the bus/train more on automatic rather than under my own energy.
The tarmac was deadlingly silent. It was eerie.
I was glued to the T.V., to frozen to feel anything. I know no one that works at WTC but from every ‘Oh My God’ I said, I hurt for every person with a person at this site, dead or alive.
A couple of days after the 18th Anniversary while out on a bike ride around Fort Totten I came across this beautiful Memorial—343 members of the New York City Fire Department making the supreme sacrifice that day—remembered here by their fellow brothers and sisters.
It just reminds me of the many lives lost that day, but more importantly how people and communities have come together since in their own individual and collective ways to help make the world a safer and better place.
We will never forget.