I Was in New York on 9/11
Today we remember the 15 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, a day which forever changed the course of history.
I am originally from New York and was in New York on this day. I was in Jericho, a town 30 miles East of the World Trade Center, in Nassau County Long Island.
My dad was working in Manhattan and to this day still works in the city.
September 11, 2001 was just 9 days after I turned 11 years old. Much of what happened that day and in the ensuing days has been lost to memory but a few moments still remain vivid in my head.
At the time, I was in 6th grade. The first tower was hit at 8:46am but the information of the towers being hit were not relayed to us in school until about 10:30am. I remember that for whatever reason, the 6th graders lunch period at Jericho Middle School began at 10:23am.
I was in the cafeteria carrying a tray of food when an announcement came over the loudspeaker. The cafeteria normally loud filled with screaming and laughing children fell to a dead silence to hear the announcement.
After hearing that there was a terrorist attack, the cafeteria remained silent. People were confused. They didn't really understand what was happening. Myself included. In my brain it registered that "tourists" attacked us. That didn't make sense to me.
My friend Justin said that it was actually "terrorists" which was to my knowledge, the first time I had ever heard that word in my life.
I remember the class I had right after lunch was "Home & Careers." That was the name of the class that most people know as "home economics." It was a class where we learned to cook and sew and whatnot.
When I walked into the classroom, the teacher had the TV on turned to the news. There was a live picture of the two towers up in flames. I can recall my teacher had a look of worry on her face yet a fellow 11 year old in class I can remember vividly shouting, "that's so cool," not fully understanding the magnitude of what had happened.
Shortly after that class, there were a flood of parents at the school. Many of the students mothers had opted to pull their child from school after that had happened. I remained in school the whole day.
But as I saw other parents in the building, it occurred to me that I should probably call my mother to see if my dad was OK. At the time, I was not really sure how far away my dad worked from the World Trade Center.
I had some quarters left over from lunch and I used one of the school's pay phones to call my mom. I asked if dad was OK and she said that he was but that he was able to see black smoke from his office window but had no idea what it was from right away.
That is about all I remember from that phone call.
In the ensuing days, the stories came out. One of my friends, Michael, said that his dad had a meeting at the World Trade Center that morning. He was running late though. As his dad was driving into the city to attend the meeting, he saw the planes hit the towers. My friend said that had his dad not been running late, he may have been in the building when the planes hit.
I wish I could remember more but unfortunately, like I stated earlier, I was only 11.
I can share this with you though. In October of 2014, I went with my best friend to the site of the World Trade Center for the first time in my life. Even having grown up in New York, I had never been to the 'Twin Towers.'
Many people talk about how this year is the first year that freshmen in high school were born after the attacks. Every time I have ever been to a museum it was to see 'history.' A past that I had never been a part of. But in October of 2014 it was different. I was at the 9/11 Museum looking at history that I had lived through and had personally witnessed.
When my friend and I are together, we never stop talking. We always have an amazing time. When we walked through the 9/11 Museum though, things were very different.
We spent probably about 2 hours walking through the museum together. When we left the museum, we both realized something at the same exact time. My friend and I had literally not said one word to each other the past 2 hours. We were in the museum together, never separated the entire time. But the feeling was so eerie inside that museum, that we were both dead silent the entire time.