Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: I Was There

I don't know if I'll ever be able to hear sirens without thinking of that day in September.

I was living in Brooklyn at the time, and heard the first, then the second planes hit, and the roar and rush of the towers falling.

"This is the day the world changes," I told my wife, who was recovering from having her wisdom teeth pulled out and didn't want to hike to the river. "Everything is going to be different now." 
By the time we reached the Promenade, across the river from Manhattan, the lower part of the island was covered in a brown cloud. Streams of dusty, shocked people were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Later that day we watched the plume of smoke, which seemed to be arcing right over our street, bearing thousands of tiny white fluttering bits of paper. 'Souls,' I thought at the time. 'They look like souls.'

The pile burned for weeks. Every day when I took the subway home from work, I'd walk up the stairs and smell charred concrete, burnt insulation carried across the river... What else was I breathing in?

Never forget? I don't think I could, even if I wanted to.


Atom Smasher said...

I'd just moved here (Minnesota) from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Just the day before my buddy and I had emptied the Penske truck into a storage unit except for the few things I was going to need while living in he & his wife's basement while I looked for a house.

I crashed on the couch because the guest room wasn't set up yet, woke up to the sound of my buddy's mom leaving an incoherent message on their answering machine. Clearly something was up so I rotated my feet to the floor, fumbled for the remote, and switched on CNN.

I was foggy, but I *think* I saw the second plane hit live as they were going over taped footage of the first one. I may have seen both taped, I dunno.

I do know I saw them come down live.

I do know, much like MeatAxe relates above, that I understood that "things are different".

And I went into the guest room and loaded my guns - maybe a little silly, but I didn't know what else to do.

And the next time I drove by the NYC skyline (I grew up in SW Connecticut and had driven by/through NYC a zillion times) I knew something was missing.

Still angry.

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