Friday, September 11, 2009


The anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 always gives me pause. I typically take part of my day to sit and watch news coverage of what happened that day, and I always find myself sitting still, very still in front of those images, remembering the terror of that day. Often, it makes me cry.

A couple years ago, I wrote a reflection of my own 9/11 experience.

My heart breaks for New Yorkers every year on 9/11, and I guess it breaks a little bit for me, too, as I was a New Yorker for 3 years in my twenties. Something terrible happened in my city. It happened two years after I left New York, but I still felt the horror of it all, as did all Americans, I suspect. It wasn't until September 11, 2003, two years after the attacks, that I was there in New York City again. I went to Ground Zero that day, and saw a big hole in the ground--a construction site. A big hole in the ground, where two proud towers once stood--the place where I used to go dancing with my friends at the very top, now gone. I saw people standing there reading aloud the biographies of those who died there two years before.

I walked to a pay phone to call one of my friends who I wasn't sure survived that day (thankfully, he did!). And as I began to leave him a voice message, I cried--messy "can't-get-ahold-of-myself" tears. Full grief, finally expressed. It was America's tragedy, and it was also mine.

That's what I've discovered as I've talked to New Yorkers since 9/11. Each person experienced that day in their own way. It was definitely a national tragedy, something we experienced together. At the same time, though, each one of us felt it uniquely.

1 comment:

J at said...

So well said. Yes, that day certainly affected the people in New York, PA, and DC the most. But they affected us all deeply.