In 2001…it was on Tuesday!
As I was preparing for work I was watching the Today Show on NBC, which was my habit it those early days of the new century.
Suddenly it was reported that, apparently, a small commuter plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Smoke and fire were billowing from a gaping hole in the upper floors of the gargantuan building.
We had visited Manhattan in May and the first of June, 2000. We took a city tour that stopped at World Trade Center I. As we rode the extremely fast elevator up to one of the upper floors…I felt an unease and could not shake it for the entirety of our time ini the building.
Included in the tour were cookies from a bakery in WTC I. The workers in the bakery seemed frenetic and concerned about something. Manhattan is much faster paced than Southern Illinois…but something seemed off regarding the entire ambiance of the building and the people that we encountered?
We again boarded the elevator and were whisked to the roof. The view of the city was breathtaking! As I was taking photos of Aaron and Jonathon and Mary Jane…a young couple laughed and remarked that I was blocking their view and as I apologized they smirked and continued their revelries.
I felt the building sway. The tour guide, from the Ukraine, told us that we would…but there was nothing like feeling it for myself!
As I watched the Today show…soon there was an image of a large passenger jet plowing directly into World Trade Center II. The sight of this incredible event seemed surreal! We had just visited Manhattan…15 months before! I thought of our tour guide…and wondered if he was in the building? I wondered about the bakery and the bakers and waiters who had worked so feverishly? I considered whether or not if there were already tourist on the roof?
We had just moved into our new house in Carbondale March of 2000. My mother was living with us. The morning of 9-11-2001 I told Aaron and Jonathon and Mary Jane…that we may be at war!
The television news continued to get more dire. A jet had struck the Pentagon. The White House was being evacuated. A jet had crashed in field in Pennsylvania. All air traffic had been ordered to land at the nearest airport to them…and commercial and private flying had been ordered to cease!
We so enjoyed our spring visit to Manhattan. We had dined divinely! We saw the Broadway play of, Taller Than A Dwarf, with Matthew Broderick and Parker Posey. Sitting across from me was Leonard Nimoy….and behind us were Harvey Fierstein and Laurie Metcalf, who played Roseanne’s sister Jackie Harris, and is from Carbondale, Illinois. As we were walking back to our hotel we passed, the actor and actress, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, who apparently become uneasy by our noticing them and subsequently hailed a cab!
The sounds and the sights and the energy of Manhattan is addictive! Aaron spent half of the night looking out of the window of the Days Inn, that we were staying at, to watch the seemingly constant firetrucks and police crusers and limousines and ambulances that drove by our lodging!
We walked all over Time Square. We drank three or four Carmel Macchiato’s a day…there was a Starbucks on almost every corner to facilitate this endeavor.
I enjoyed Manhattan so much…I could live there! Once you become accustomed to the faster pace you learn that New Yorker’s are wonderful people!
I could not believe that all of the major television networks were within a few blocks of each other.
The night illumination…could be likened to living in another world. There is a palpable feeling that if you want to succeed at whatever your heart desires…you can do it in Manhattan!
And, so, I went to work at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. Most of my colleagues had a dazed look in their eyes and you could cut the tension with a knife.
My office was next to the power plant…and I ruminated whether we were undergoing a concerted nation wide attack?
I watched the towers collapse! It seemed more like an episode of the Twilight Zone!
I watched the news coverage for days…and weeks…and prayed that survivors would be found…and prayed for the rescuers…and I knew that they were willingly placing themselves in harms way!
Congress all went out to the front steps of the capital and sang the Star Spangled Banner!
Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom band played the Star Spangled Banner!
I obtained some pins of the World Trade Center from my dear friend, Cyndy!
President Bush promised that we would bring the perpetrators of the devastation to justice as he stood on the ruble heap of lost lives!
For a time we were not Democrats or Republicans or Independents….we were Americans!
Note: Photos courtesy of Google Search.