I am still in shock that six years have slipped by since the tragedies of 9/11 occurred. It is as raw and shocking now as it was then. And I am fortunate in so many ways.
I was living in NYC and the people that I knew who were working at World Trade were still on their way to work when everything happened. I am most thankful that my best friend since kindergarten, who had worked in the Twin Towers for several years, had left the city to go to law school and was far away from the destruction. I am also thankful that the day before I was released from jury duty as the court house is a short walk away. I am sure I would have been fine, but I am grateful there was no reason for me to be anywhere close. I was home, just getting out of bed when the first plane hit. I looked out my window when I heard the news on the radio. At that time they were unsure what kind of plane had hit the first tower. I gravity of the situation had not hit until my husband (at that time we were only engaged) and I turned on the tv, where I stayed glued, un-showered, crying and stunned all day long.
My best friend called me at some point in the morning when she was finally able to get through (the phone lines were jammed with calls for hours) and just cried and asked me, "why?!? why would someone do this?!?" I had no answer then, and I had no answer today when discussing it with some of my 5th grade students.
Now that I am a teacher, I see students who were born AFTER 9/11...they do not know NYC before. They know what happened, but it is far into the past. It was actually watching children play that helped me process all that had happened and make me realize that life would go on. I can't recall if it was one or two days after, but I went for a walk just to get out of the house, away from the news reports and just try to do something normal.
Nothing was normal anymore really. I ended up in Washington Square Park near a playground. I sat for over an hour watching small children swing, go down the slide and most importantly...laugh. When I finally stood up, I had a feeling that if children can still laugh innocently, then perhaps things will be ok someday.
There was an email I wrote to friends and family in the days after, I can not locate it at the moment, but if I find it I will share it. I remember the community of sadness that I witnessed. Never before had I felt NYC to be so tightly linked. Those links have loosened in the years since. The feelings of shock and sadness are still there, just below the surface for me and many others. Even if we are living our lives as separate, there are still the emotional ties to that day that lonk all who remember.