People speak of how they remember the exact moment they found out about JFK getting shot. People remember the moment they found out about Princess Diana’s death. Everyone will have a September 11, 2011 story… and I’d like to share mine today in memory of the horrible events that happened an astonishing 10 years ago.
It was a gorgeous Tuesday morning and a friend and I were at the subway station waiting for the train to take us to university. I was flipping through the paper and distinctly remember commenting on a “fun fact” in the paper that World Peace Day was coming up soon. (September 21). This would probably have been about 8:25.. 8:30am. A few sections of the subway are above ground and outdoors. At one of these stations, my friend gets a call on his cell phone from his dad who tells him that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. At the time, we thought it was a horrible accident – as many others did as well. About 10-15 minutes after that, I got off at my stop and walked into the student lounge where my friends were and asked them if they heard about the plane crashing into the WTC. That’s when my friend told me that a second one had just hit. It was very clear now that this was not “just an accident”.
All of us wanted to stay by the TV, watching the news but we still had a 9am Musical Theatre class to go to. Needless to say, we were all distracted and several classmates had pocket radios who were listening to updates. (Ah, the days before smart phones and instant news at your fingertips) We managed to sit through the entire class, which I’m quite surprised the professor didn’t cancel, and once that was over we ran to our friends that lived in residence so we could watch the TVs there. The lounges were full of people glued to the TV and many of us stayed there for most of the day; especially once we heard that Toronto had shut down the subway service as a precaution.
Now, an unbelievable 10 years later, everyone is remembering that terrifying day. Watching the numerous specials on TV where they speak with the news anchors, the survivors and the family left behind is so heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. It’s just miraculous to hear the stories of those who beat the odds and managed to get out alive. One man’s story that I saw on a Dateline NBC special the other night had him looking out his office window, eye-level with the incoming plane. The plane’s wing ending up 20 feet from his office door, and yet he managed to get out. All those close encounters and blessings disguised as delays that prevented people from being where they should have been.
Everyone will have a story about this fateful day. Nobody will ever forget it.
The photo above, I’m not sure who to credit as I just Google-searched for a beautiful picture of the towers of light memorial that came up shortly after 9/11. Below is a photo I took while in NYC two weeks ago of the construction zone and preparations for unveiling the two waterfall pools of light, a permanent memorial in the footprints of the former World Trade Center towers.