Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We all have our story of where we were when we heard the news of September 11th. Most can vividly recall the terrifying feelings of shock, fear, despair, disbelief. And for those who lost loved ones on that day, the remembering means something different.
I was a relatively new mom at the time. I had just started a new job, had a baby boy just under 2 years old. I was asleep in bed with our little guy as he had woken me so very early that morning and I was able to convince him to lay down in my bed and let mommy rest. The phone rang and it was my husband calling from work. He worked overnights and had only been in the News business a very short time. He was watching it all unfold and needed to call us. I turned on the t.v. and sat and cried. I was stunned and motionless and alone.
As the day went on, I called work. Do I work on a day like this? Would the state buildings I go to be open? I ultimately decided to cancel my appointments (which I later got in some big trouble for and have always wondered if that CPS Case Manger ever felt like a schmuck for coming down on me for cancelling work on 9/11).
I have family in New York and my thoughts almost instantly went to them. Were they ok? Were their friends, co-workers, neighbors ok? My uncle, at one time, worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings. Was he there that day? Were his colleagues and friends? Eventually, all of those questions were answered. And my family was all ok.
As the years have passed, I've thought about how fortunate I was to have an opportunity to see the WTC in person and to go to the observation deck and the pictures I will always have of that trip.
In many ways, New York City has always held a special place for me. It's a city I have traveled to very few times in my life, but it's a city I feel connected to through family. My dad was born and raised there (moving to Phx as a teenager), my grandmother, several aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins all still live there and have lived there their whole lives. They are New Yorkers and I am always struck by how apparent that is each time I see them. And in the days, weeks, months after 9/11, I felt the sense that as a nation, we all felt like New Yorkers for a little bit.
The feelings of unity, brotherhood and community were overwhelming. We, as a nation, were family.
Some of our family members had been deeply wounded, searching for loved ones, hoping and praying for survival.
Many in our family had died, taken from us unfairly, too quickly and out of hatred.
Some in our family lay down their own lives for each other.
As a family, we mourned these losses together
Several years after 9/11, in 2008, I traveled to NYC. This was the first time I learned of the Little Chapel that Stood. St Paul's Chapel is right across the street from Ground Zero and as buildings around it were falling and debris was flying, the little chapel came away unscathed, not even a broken window.
And that chapel became the space where rescue workers came for a hot meal, to rest, to change their boots and to pray.
People worked around the clock in an effort to rescue anyone they could. Members of the community brought meals, clean clothes, and a shoulder to cry on to support those rescue workers.
The fence around the yard of the church became a memorial.
Today, as I am remembering 11 years ago, I am struck by how moved people were to give of themselves in so many ways, how we became family through tragedy, how we were able to put aside petty differences for the greater good. And while, 9/11 will always be marked by tragedy, death and sorrow, I am reminded that so it is, also marked by Family and Hope.
Posted by Jess at 3:22 PM