I am watching the live tributes on TV right now, at this moment 10 years ago, the North Tower just collapsed.
It’s impossible to believe that 10 years have gone by. “It feels like it just happened yesterday” said the speaker just this moment.
I feel that way, also. And I’m a lucky one. I did not lose a loved one during the attacks. But, being here in New York City on that morning, and the days after, and the years, and now the decade…
I can’t see a plane in the sky without it coming back in my mind.
I can’t see images on TV of the buildings being hit, covering the sky in smoke, crumbling down, without tearing up.
Don’t even ask me about the sound of bagpipes – which were played at every police/fire officer’s funeral.
It might just be part of being on this Earth these days – I’m pretty certain if you are reading this, that you may have the same emotions as I.
I’d like to share some photos. These are some pictures that I took on that day, and the days following.
I was walking to work that morning. I was on 6th Avenue at about 19th Street when I saw smoke starting to come out of one of the Twin Towers.
I switched my Walkman from cassette to radio, hoping to hear some news about what had happened. I continued to walk towards Union Square.
Here, a few minutes later as I reached 5th Avenue, the smoke was billowing even more.
I think many people on the street still didn’t even know that anything had happened.
By the time I reached my office and got upstairs, the 2nd Tower had been hit. Everyone was crowded around a radio in the office. We could see the towers from a window, and watched dumbfounded, stunned, frightened.
What was going to happen next? Why wasn’t anyone coming on the radio to tell us what was going on?
Then the Towers came down.
I couldn’t bring myself to take pictures after the first Tower came down – it felt too disrespectful. But after the second one fell, I snapped the smoke in the sky where the Towers had just been – barely 2 miles away from where we stood.
Late morning, our boss told us that we could go home. I walked back uptown, trying to find Hubby in the chaos in the streets. We finally made it home, about 3 miles North of the World Trade Center.
That evening, the noxious fumes were permeating the city.
We went to the drug store and purchased masks. This looks funny now, but at the time it certainly wasn’t.
The papers the following morning said that 10,000 people were feared dead.
Signs and posters went up everywhere, by people trying desperately to find their missing loved ones
and other signs urged us to check in on the pets of the missing.
A couple of days later, I went downtown. The stores were all closed and filled with ash.
This sign said it all:
Hospitals blood supply were low.
Tributes sprung up all around the city.
First Responders worked tirelessly at the site, trying to find survivors, and remains. People stood on the sidewalks and cheered for them as they went by.
The tributes went on for months.
I love this sign that someone placed at one of the fire stations:
The police officers and firemen funerals were many and public – often out on the streets. The crowds were large, everyone wanting to give honor and thanks to these fallen heros.
We made it through that first year.
Here are the Tribute Lights on the first anniversary:
And, somehow now, we find that we’ve made it through a decade!
Well, some of us. I must recognize the multitudes of people around the World who have been killed, injured and otherwise affected by the tragedies of war.
And of course, the tragedies that are happening to the health of the First Responders.
Ann Leary (wife of Denis Leary) said this on her blog yesterday:
“Niels Jorgensen made a very moving speech. Niels, like many first responders from 9/11, has cancer. His friend, another 1st responder has the same cancer as Niels and his treatments cost $12,000 a month. He is reimbursed by the city, for less than $4,000 a month. It would have taken all night for Niels to recount the names of his friends and associates who inhaled toxins while trying to save lives on 9/11 and who are now sick and dying. This is something that just doesn’t get enough attention in the press. It’s a disgrace the way our country refuses to assist our heroes – firefighters, cops who worked during the days and weeks following 9/11, and also our veterans when they return home from war, injured and suffering from PTSD.”