September 11, 2001: A Day That Will Forever Live in Infamy
I have managed to tuck away the surreal feelings that I had for about a month from the point that I hazily awakened at 8:50 AM on that Tuesday morning. Mind you, the Football Giants had lost to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football the night before, and the game ran a little longer than usual (a little after midnight). Young Shaun Williams breaks Easy Eddie McCaffrey’s leg, and that was the only memorable part about that game; as the Giants began the season that night and were in a season-long funk after going to the Super Bowl in February (and all the anti-New York/spiteful people who like to rankle me when my teams lose, let me have it). BUT NOT ON SEPTEMBER 11.
I normally arose around 7 AM back then, so I had already overslept. I had the flexibility of when I wanted to go into work (up until 9:30) so I knew I was going to be late regardless.
I had visions when I was little; possibly fueled by this computer game we had back in the 80s, involving shooting down airplanes attacking New York City. TRUE STORY. My sister remembers it, and my uncle Ricardo had the game and used to let us borrow his computer games all the time. I was a morning person growing up, but by the time I was in my 20s, and hanging out 5-6 nights a week, I began taking a long time to wake up. I was in a haze for a good 10-15 minutes even after I sat up in bed. I always watched The Today Show back in those days as I was getting ready for work, so I thought they were previewing some movie and didn’t think anything of it as I began getting prepared to go to work.
However, I heard the dull tone that Katie Couric was speaking with, and how everyone they were showing on camera were speaking the same way and thought something was wrong.
THAT WAS CONFIRMED AS I SAT AND WATCHED THE SECOND PLANE CRASH INTO TOWER TWO.
The way people were screaming and gasping on camera also confirmed that it was not a movie. I woke up fully out of my stupor and began freaking out. I had just left the city about 10 days before this happened. I immediately thought about all my family members throughout the tri-state who either lived in the city or commuted into it — I had just left shortly before that as the summer ended, which is what I did every year after I left New York the first time in the late 90s. My commute frequently took me through the World Trade, as I periodically spent weekends in Newark (where I was living before I began college in Brooklyn 15 years ago). My aunt and I would hop the bus, then the PATH train and split up at WTC, as she was heading to Harlem for work and I was heading to LIU for class.
I am grateful to this day that the LORD saw fit to keep me away if for that moment alone.
I didn’t go to work until after noon. I sat for two hours, calling (not realizing the phone lines were down) and emailing relatives and friends. We got answers later in the day, but for the longest, we were unsure. My aunt ended up having to take the ferry boat over the Hudson and everyone else confirmed that they were OK by the next morning.
I will leave my political beliefs regarding what I think really happened that day, and what led to it — out of the equation here. It is just surreal to have witnessed these things and ten SWIFT years later, we’re sitting bittersweet, “commemorating” the 10th year mark of the terrible event. It seems just like yesterday. New York hasn’t been the same without the Towers. For natives and long-time New Yorkers, those buildings represented part of who you were. That cannot be restored, despite the new building is 80 stories high now and I can see it clearly from where I sit as I write this. However, the soul of the city has eroded with political legislation, overreaction to potential “terrorist” threats, and the influx of hipsters, who kill entire neighborhoods, such as many in the downtown Brooklyn area and Harlem.
However, I will always remember 9/11, where I was when I witnessed the carnage, pray God’s best to the families who lost relatives and friends and be grateful that I did not lose any friends or relatives, nor my own life. That may sound selfish, but ever since then, my mortality has been REAL to me on a daily basis. I take nothing for granted, and if anything could be taken away from 9/11, I have learned to appreciate every moment of every day, love on my parents, relatives, and friends and live life to the fullest. No one went to work that day thinking they would die; much less the way that they did.
Especially being a New Yorker, and knowing that the threat (regardless of who or from whence it comes) is present DAILY.
Always be vigilant, always REMEMBER.