The night of September 9, 2001 (my birthday), a close friend and I headed to Manhattan for a party at an apartment on the 9th floor of a building (with no elevator) in Little Italy- Manhattan. We joked while we climbed the stairs, with buckets and buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken for the party, “it was crazy living on the 9th floor of a building with no elevator”. When we got to the party we realized why it was worth it. The apartment spilled out to the roof deck with a up close view of the twin towers front and center. While the beat pulsed, we partied and laughed, while the structures looked down on us favorably. It was an awesome night and a great birthday.
September 10th we slept over at a friends house, recovering from the previous night. We drove home in the evening arriving in Philadelphia late at night. When we exited interstate 95 my friend commented, ‘Look at Philly’s skyline. We have nothing on New York. No World Trade Center…’
I headed home, and woke on the 11th early to go to work. I had showered and was climbing into a suit when I got a call to turn on the TV. “There was a fire in the World Trade Center”. I turned on the bedroom T.V. to see, and found it instantly. It was on every channel. The news commentary was sketchy.No one knew yet what was happening. It was very early and things were just beginning to unfold. No one had mentioned anything about a plane. Just the fire in one of the towers, as thousands of fire fighters and police sprang into action, and rescue. I was tying my tie looking at the screen when I clearly saw the second plane hit. My heart hit the floor. I muttered, “We are under attack. This is WAR”. I went immediately to pick up my kids from day care.
The next few hours were the most riveting of my life while the attack unfolded. With continued speculation of what was next. While we found out they had hit the pentagon, people were jumping to their deaths by the hundred from the top floors of the north and south towers. Then when the towers fell.. it was like getting punched in the gut by Mike Tyson. Like a slow motion crushing blow in the belly. I felt the towers fall, as did my fire chief dad, my police officer brother and all other Americans. Like feeling thousands of souls pass through me all at once. Time stopped. I wept deeply.
Nothing was the same after. I carried my gun close with extra magazines, looked over my shoulder everywhere. I hugged my kids harder. I loved my family more.
People everywhere, it was all we talked about. Americans became more American than they ever had before. Planes were grounded. TV’s in bars played constant news and coverage of ground zero. Homes, businesses and bars had candles burning. Every old glory came out for display. We were hurt, angry and in disbelief. We mourned in mass, while the rescue effort continued at ground zero and the pentagon. While they pieced together what had happened with the heroes who fought bravely on flight 93.
After that day, we were never the same.
There are many in the world who plan and prepare as they would see it happen again, or worse. We must continue to remember, to never forget as we must honor those innocents who died that day. Those who bravely sacrificed their lives to save many. We must never forget what freedom means. What we are as Americans and remain Vigilant as the enemy always will.
We must never forget what happens as in doing so we are doomed to repeat it.
I am a Veteran, a proud American and I love this country.
The thought behind this post is never forgetting by “remembering” and sharing as much as possible.
My children were young, barely old enough to remember and some of them were not born yet.
I can recall my grandparents distrust for the Japanese because of Pearl Harbor some 40 years after. I never understood why until I was much older. Till I personally passed the Arizona on an American warship, my view of her resting underwater with my brothers who went down with her.
The difference in the attacks is that this war, our war, will not likely be over for many generations. We are no longer fighting a country but rather an ideology and this will carry on. Our children must be told these stories so they do not slip into complacency and a false sense of security. (One in 5 Americans were not yet born on 9/11/01)
We live in a world where this type of attack is probable rather than just possible. It’s only a matter of time when we are struck again, and we have a duty and an obligation to prepare our children for what is to come. In order to enjoy peace we must prepare.
The freedom, the safety and the legacy of our children and grandchildren is very much at stake. I urge each of you to tell your story to those who do not remember. This is HOW we never forget..
President, Patriot USA