Wednesday, September 10, 2008
It was one of those days you will always remember exactly where you were when you heard. A gorgeous Tuesday, crisp and clear.
A great day to take my son to the park.
I had just dropped my daughter off at a watercolor class. It was just a few minutes after 9 AM. It sounded like the guy on the radio said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Then while my son and I were trying to figure out what he had really said - because SURELY he hadn't said what we thought - another announcer said that another plane had hit the second tower.
My mind raced to the friends and neighbors who worked in the Twin Towers. I wonder where Bob is. He made it out when the Trade Center was bombed in 1993. He was on the front page of the Trenton Times covered in soot.
To my old neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, where I lived just a few minutes from the Twin Towers. I pictured my walking route, shortcutting through Trinity Church and braving the New Jersey commuters racing fifteen abreast in the Concourse toward Manhattan, as I raced toward Jersey City, down into the PATH tubes to catch the train to Exchange Place and my job at Fred Alger and Company in Jersey City. One of my co-workers there was Art Simon, one of the back office traders. What a sweetheart! He was a little older than the rest of us, except maybe Walter, and all those wild and crazy guys were always teasing him. After I left the firm he became a front office trader, and obviously made the move with them to WTC, so he was in the office when the buildings went down.
When I got a promotion into the "Front office" in New York, I had the privilege of working with Lisa Gregg, David Alger, and Ginger Risco.
2001 was the year my daughter was going to turn 16, and I was thinking of taking her into the city to Windows on the World, and taking her by the office and introducing her to those of my old colleagues who remained.
I thought about it in August, but I never did make the phone call.
The Sunday before 9/11, we were driving along the river on the Jersey side on our way to visit Grandma and Pop Pop in North Bergen. My daughter the budding photographer asked her dad if we could stop at the park in Weehawken where there was a great view of the NY skyline so she could get some pictures. It had been a long day and he was tired and wanted to get our last family visit of the day over with before we made the long drive back to Trenton. So he said, "Next week we will stop and you can take all the pictures you want."
The next week, there was still smoke hanging over the skyline of Lower Manhattan. We didn't even go that way the next time. "I watched them build those towers in the 70's," my husband kept saying over and over. It was too painful to even look at the hole in the skyline. In fact, it was a long time before we ventured north after that.
The parking lot at the train station in Princeton Junction had a lot of cars parked whose owners never returned. Our nearby schools in West Windsor had many students whose parents never returned. Slowly we started to hear stories of neighbors who narrowly escaped with their lives.
In this part of the New York Metro area, you are no more than one degree away from someone who was there, or who knows someone who was there, or who knew someone who died.
Seven years. I can hardly believe it. I left the firm almost 24 years ago. That's even harder to believe.
Check out this video tribute at www.911archive.org. My friend LaRae also wrote a song and did a video about that day, and you can find it on the front page of her website.
Rest in peace, my friends.