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Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Year Anniversary of 9-11: AKA: Never Forget

Photo Credit: Tweeted by @cjHANKE

With it being the 10th anniversary of September 11th, and being as I have either worked, or lived in New York all my life, I felt I should write something.  It almost goes without saying that if you were old enough to remember anything that day, you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when it happened.

I was 17, a senior in high school and in Physics class, which translates to I was zoning, while my  teacher droned on about something I neither understood or cared to. I had been forced to take the class since I had wanted to give up taking Spanish.  It was a lab day and so I was being forced to spend two periods learning things, that to this day, I have never had a need for in my adult life. At some point during the first portion of the class, an announcement was made over the PA asking for members of "the crises team" to come down to the auditorium. I remembered we all sort of paused, but as none of us really knew what the hell that was, class went on as usual. It was during the break, when I fled the classroom to meet my best friend, at the time, in the hallway that I even knew what had happened.  Her social studies teacher had gotten a call while in class, his brother worked at the towers and so he had immediately turned on the tv, despite the ban that administration had placed.

Where as the live news was broadcasting on every tv in the neighboring school where my mother worked, my school cut our cable, and wasn't giving us any information. I guess they were trying to protect us, for even just a little while longer, from an event that would forever change our lives. The seniors though had, off campus privileges and so most kids were out in their cars listening to the radio, or up the block at Dunkin Doughnuts on their free periods, and information was passed through the school by word of mouth. I remember when someone reported in 5th period, I was in Math, yet another of my not so favorite subjects, that the first tower fell, that we all thought they'd were wrong, surely they had misheard something. I  went to school on LI, so not all that far from the city, a lot of people, myself included, had one or both parents who worked in the city. I remember very clearly the the feelings of dread as a hazy smoke settled across the field behind our school, told you we were close. The whole day was fuzzy, school still held classes as if things were "normal" but no one, teachers included felt like doing much. Since no one's cell phone worked kids periodically disappeared from classes to use the office phones and see if they could get a hold of a relative to make sure everyone was ok.  At the end of the day, there was an assembly in the auditorium, our principal gave an abridged version of what had happened, at least to the best of his knowledge at the time, and told us that the school would be open late for anyone who couldn't go home.

I went home with my best friend at the time, we met up with her guy she was dating who went to the catholic all boys school in our town, and went back to her house. When we got there we turned on the tv in her living room. That was the first time I saw the images, the images that would repeat numerous times through out the next few weeks, and be shown for years to come.

Being as it is the 10th anniversary, people have been on edge, especially with the terror threat reported earlier this week. I, of course had plans to be in the city this weekend, and since I am the type of person who believes in what is supposed to happen will, I found myself both on the LIRR from Queens and the  NJ Transit from Penn today. I must admit, although there were tons of security and  far less people then on a "normal" late morning early Sunday afternoon, NY Penn station was still bustling with activity, and people going about there lives. It made me smile, and reminded me that we are strong, we will not cower in fear.

Will will carry on and be the better for it. What happened a decade ago was a terrible tragedy, today my heart and thoughts go out to those who were lost and those they left behind. It is important we honor those lost, as well as those overseas, and at home, fighting for our continued freedom. We must always remember.

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