Eleven years ago I sat in Mrs. Houlihan’s 6th Grade English class. I remember the phone call she got. I remember being ushered down to the cafeteria where we were told to wait with the rest of the class (having seen absolutely nothing on TV). There were rumors of “government building” and “plane crash” but that was the extent of what they would say. I remember the wait – what felt like an eternity – while everyone else’s parents picked them up and I still waited for mine. I remember the relief when they finally did show up. And that crisp fall air as we walked across the street to meet Sarah and go home.
Eleven years later, I got on the subway to head to work watching the One Trade Center Tower in the distance get closer. I walked off the subway to work at 8:40am, with a view of the tower in the distance. An oddly eerie feeling knowing that eleven years prior, that would have been the minute the first plane had just hit. I purposely got to work a tad early and made my way down to the park along the water. There were quite a few people who seemed to have the same idea.
Something about finally being in NYC on 9/11 seems to make the whole thing even more real. The Trade Center Tower was literally reflected in my computer screen all day – which was mildly distracting. It was so hard to imagine it happening on a seemingly normal day. Clear blue sky, fall air – much similar to how it was this year. I watched parents take their kids on the subway to school and thought, that’s likely exactly how the morning started out. How are you really supposed to plan for something like that? You can’t. There’s no way of knowing. What if you had missed the train to work – sudden changes in your schedule might have made you late for your job in one of the towers. I can’t even fully wrap my head around the whole thing.
It’s weird to think that kids born 11 years or less ago would not have any idea really of what happened or at least not a personal memory of it. It’s also strange to realize that 9/11 was exactly half of my lifetime ago. I’m not sure if it feels like it’s been more or less.