(We asked WVFC writers to offer their meditations on the meaning of Sept. 11, 2001, 10 years later. Please share yours with us below, or at [email protected] – Ed.)

I live in New York, about two. miles from Ground Zero.  Ten years later, my memories are still vivid.  But when I think of Sept 11, 2001, my mind is filled with a series of cinematic shorts, so to speak, rather than a single memory or linear story:

  • ·      Bounding up the stairs to the roof of my building with my dog, somewhat excitedly, to check out the “plane accident.” Lots of neighbors were already gathered and there was lots of animated conversation about “how the pilot could have made such an error” … and then silence as the second plane hit. It was at that moment that we all knew at the same time that this was no accident.
  • ·      I recall running from the roof down to my apartment, back up to the roof, down again to my apartment and repeating this several times.  My cell phone wasn’t working.  No one’s was.  I wanted to be in my apartment to let the family and friends who were calling know that I was OK, but I didn’t want to be in my apartment, I wanted to be on the roof watching, wondering, letting it all sink in.
  • ·      We milled around on the roof for hours, some yelling, some crying, all bewildered.  I was the president of the co-op and felt a responsibility to make sure “my people” were OK.  I invited several down to my apartment where we stayed until late in the evening.  I picked up Chinese food, somebody brought beer, and there we stayed  glued to the television for any tidbit of news that would help us make sense of this terrible tragedy.
  • ·      At one point, we thought we should go to St Vincent’s the neighborhood hospital to donate blood.  The gravity of the situation really hit us when we learned that they didn’t really need blood.
  • ·      I made a really good friend that day.  Kim, a woman who I’d had a nodding acquaintance with, was one of those who came to my apartment to eat and comfort each other.  She took the photos of two towers, then one, then none that are still on my mantle.
  • ·      The guy I was seeing lived in Long Island.  He thought we should be together during this time.  I didn’t think it was that important … and I guess it dawned on me right then that this wasn’t the guy for me.
  • ·      Around 9 p.m., I wanted them all to go home.  I felt like I needed to be alone to really let it all sink in.  As long as I had a houseful of people, it wouldn’t feel quite real.  I knew it would only become real when I had to go back to trying to have a normal life … back to being alone in my apartment, just me and my dog.

I have zero memory of Sept. 12.  I do recall, somewhat surprisingly, that life went on … pretty normally for the most part, rather quickly afterward.  I also think I teared up for the first time ever the next time I heard our national anthem.

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