9/11…ten years later

Images I can't believe it has been ten years since that awful day that changed the course of history, 9/11/01.  It is certainly a day that I will never forget having watched one of the planes ram into the second tower while I was standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue and 10th Street with many others with tears streaming down their faces and their jaws agape.  I can still see the man standing next to me making the physical cross across his chest as if he was in church.  In my head the day is as clear in my head as it was ten years ago.  It is like walking through a movie in my brain. 

Each year I write a post and each year I reflect as all of us do.  Since that day the world has changed in so many ways.  Today I want to write about the things I remembered that will always stick in my mind.

Walking up Sixth Avenue holding on to Josh's hand seeing people covered in ash and him asking why would someone fly a plane into a building?  My only answer was there are bad people out there who are angry at the society we live in.  What else do you say? 

Going down to St. Vincents with Jessica later in the day with a huge bag of t-shirts for survivors and speaking to the head of the hospital who was pacing in front.  He was so nice and both him and I knew that no news was not good news.  

A week later I was driving by the wall at St. Vincents that was covered with pictures of lost loved ones as people were desperately trying to find them.  My kids and a few of their friends were in the car and one of the kids looked out the window and said, those are the pictures of the missing people.  I said to her, they aren't missing; they are gone forever as tears sprang immediately to my eyes.

Going to the grocery store after we got home from our walk up Sixth Avenue with the kids in tow and people from one of Fred's company who were in town to get food.  The bars were packed to the gills and people were pouring out into the street.  After all it was a gorgeous day.  The people at the grocery store were a mess and the conversations were so upsetting.  It was like everyone was clinging to each other. 

Spending the weekend with our friends because none of us wanted to be alone.

Walking the dog every night and smelling the stench of death that changed depending on which way the wind was blowing.  Every night for weeks I'd hope that the smell would be gone and then one day it just disappeared. 

Going on the subway the day after the towers came down because I thought it was important that we didn't let this event change the way we live in our city.  There were tons of cops down there.  Josh went up to one of them and asked if they caught the bad guys yet.  He answered, not yet son but we will, we will.

The girls sleeping together in one room because they didn't want to be alone. 

A year later to the day Josh woke up that morning and the first thing he said when his eyes opened up was, did they ever catch that Osama Bin Laden guy? 

They finally did catch him and there was closure for this country and definitely closure for my kids.  Emily went down to the site where the World Trade Towers stood the night they killed Bin Laden. She felt she had to be there.  How could she not?  It made as much as an impact on her as it did on us, maybe even more. 

What has changed these last ten years is the fear that always sits with us now, intense security at the airports, and most important politics.  That event was not used as an opportunity to bring this country and others together but as a political opportunity to push an agenda through that sits with us today from the debt that has been created and the destructive way politicians go about being elected.  Although we have fought back terrorism, that one act was so huge that it changed everything.  I am not sure what the terrorists were hoping for but they changed the world.  I doubt this outcome is what they were expecting, not sure anybody was.  How could you.

I hope that today, now that ten years has passed and the area where the Twin Towers stood is finally being rebuilt (again another political nightmare), we will move forward into a good place, a place where we can agree to disagree, a place where we can live in peace and a place that moves us forward into the 21st century not backwards into the 20th. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. DonRyan

    ” That event was not used as an opportunity to bring this country and others together but as a political opportunity to push an agenda through that sits with us today from the debt that has been created and the destructive way politicians go about being elected.” – You hit the nail on the head. Here’s hoping going forward we will learn from our past. God Bless you and your family. 

    1. Gotham Gal

      I hope we have learned something

  2. William Mougayar

    Well said. The closure will be when there are no more people around the world that want to take us backwards. 

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’m not sure there will ever be people in the world who don’t want to take us backwards…unfortunately

  3. Rohan

    Nicely written Joanne. I lost my dad 2 days before Sept 11.. and I vaguely remember the media frenzy that followed. This post was a lovely reminder. Thank you for that. We’ve come a long way in 10 years..

  4. RyanComfort

    After reading this, I immediately went back and re-read your post from the 9th about how many young kids and entrepreneurs are focused on changing the world for better.  I believe, at least from my personal experience, that what happened ten years ago (and its aftermath) has served as a catalyst for young people’s desire to create positive change.  In the world of technology, social media and free markets, these desires will make a difference without having to go through the red tape associated with political processes.  I wonder if anyone expected this to be one of the outcomes of such a terrible attack.    

    1. Gotham Gal

      I totally agree with you. 9/11 has certainly served as a catalyst for the change taking place among the youth.The outcome of the attack is that none of us will live as free as we did years ago. I remember being able to walk up to the door of the airplane to see a friend coming off, that is over. My son believes the terrorists got exactly what they wanted. We all live with a small piece of fear in us that was not there before and will probably never go away.

    2. TanyaMonteiro

      this is so true Ryan!

  5. awaldstein

    This line jumped out from one the NY Times articles this weekend.“An underlying sense of the sinister out there somewhere.”This was a takeaway that we all had from 9/11 whether you live within blocks of ground zero like I do now or in SF or London or anywhere.I’m not fearful nor brooding by nature and not foolish enough to think that there still aren’t people out there spending all their time trying to wipe us out.But having the memorial in place will help. As a bridge to the future and to make the memory tangible and shareable and less local. Having a place that encapsulates these events gives them a shape.Touching things makes you able to deal with them better.

  6. Elefant

    the year 2001 should not be repeated