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September 11th

I am at a loss for what to say about what this day means to me... I live only an hour and a half drive away from Washington D.C., thus the attack on the Pentagon was a very fresh, raw wound here. But mainly my heart went out to New York, of course to the people of that city, but also to the city itself, a city that is one of my favorite places in the world. The city where I had hoped all of my dreams would come true. The city that is my home in my heart even if not in a physical sense...

When I was a junior in high school our yearbook editors went to a journalism seminar at Columbia; I still remember that trip as one of the best times of my life. I particularly liked the city more than any of the folks who went with me. It was so vivid, so alive. By our second day in New York I was speaking with a New York accent, I knew the coffee vendor on the corner by name and he knew me... We rode the Staten Island ferry I spoke French to some Belgian tourists; I reported a guy for jacking off in the women's restroom, but it all felt like part of the New York experience to me, and even the worst of it was wonderful. I never wanted to leave, the next to last day of our trip we went to visit the Statue of Liberty (where the picture for my icon was taken by yours truly in March 1995, you can even see the towers in the distance) a guide said he thought it was nice that I had taken time out of my day to come see the Statue because as he told me so few resident New Yorkers do. He asked if the people who were with me were relatives from out of town. When I told him that actually I was from Virginia and only here for a conference he said he was surprised -- he had really mistaken me for a native New Yorker. I told him that I was so honored by the remark that I couldn't have been happier if he had mistaken me for a millionaire supermodel:).

I have always loved the city; it is simply stunning and if you have never been you should go, if you have, go again! It is worth it!

On this same date two years ago I was working in the Women's Studies department of the same university I work for now. I walked out to check the mail thinking about how beautiful that morning was. It really was God's most beautiful day outside and I was so at peace. When I returned with the mail, one of the professor's in our department was returning from class, she asked if I had heard anything about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, when I told her I hadn't we agreed it must have been a terrible mistake and lamented how awful such an accident would have been.

About the same time, the copy repair person came in to fix our copy machine and he asked if I had heard anything about a helicopter crashing into the Pentagon. He had heard very sketchy preliminary reports on the radio and was unsure that he had heard correctly. As soon as I got him squared away with where the copier was I tried to pull up the internet as there was no radio or tv in my office. No dice; all the phone lines were pretty jammed up too.

I walked upstairs to my old boss's office their room was deserted and I suddenly had a really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach while looking for everyone. As I got ready to board the elevator back down a small voice came from the end of the hall.

One of my former coworkers, a woman named Jamie, almost whispered, "We're all in here Angelica" In the fourth floor conference room people stood and sat crying and in disbelief staring at images of the tower's being struck again and again. I watched the towers fall and my heart sank.

New York, my beloved and all her people were still to live their finest days after their darkest hours. My heart goes out to them and everyone who has lost anything in those tragedies. And that, whether we realize it or not, includes every one of us...

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