Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two in one day . .

I figured to write another quick note today about why I didn't talk about 9/11. I live in New York City and have for over 5 years. I moved here after 9/11 and painfully grieved through the first anniversary. I don't know if it gets better every year for those who lost loved ones but I hope they have found some solace in all the love that comes from the world to them on that day. I wasn't planning to blog about 9/11 as my moment of silence for those who were lost.

But then I realized I have two 9/11 stories to share. And they are stories of hope and not sadness. On 9/11 2001 I was working in the Warehouse in Camden Yards in Baltimore for a publishing house. Our building was state run by the stadium authority and once the plane hit the Pentagon (about 60 miles away) we were evacuated due to our proximity to both the Pentagon and NSA. I went home and was of course glued to the TV like the rest of the nation. I had a boy friend and a close friend who lived in New York (this was when I was planning to move here and visited often) and couldn't get a hold of either of them. Finally a mutual friend called and said he talked to my boy friend and he was fine and at home. I later heard from my friend, Lizzy, that she too was okay. Thank God.

So I sat staring at the TV, numb, until finally I called my friend Dita. She and I had plans that day to go to thrift store. We shared our feelings and just sobbed. Then Dita's boyfriend grabbed the phone from her and told us we needed to go to the thrift store because by not doing what we would normally do we were doing exactly what the terrorists wanted. Sitting at home hiding in fear. So we did. I picked her up and we went to the thrift store and then had a drink and cried a little more. While I was tipping my glass in Baltimore my future husband was furiously painting his bedroom orange. After watching the plane crashes from a subway car window (he was late to work that day) he turned right around after getting off in Manhattan and walked 10 miles back to the Home Depot in Flushing and then 2 miles to his house with 2 gallons of paint. I guess we all deal in our own ways.

My second story is from the first anniversary of 9/11 in 2002. I had been living in Manhattan for about 6 months at that time and Luis and I were still "just friends." I lived with Lizzy above what was usually a rather quiet bar and grill on Avenue B in Alphabet City. When I got home from work that day the place was jumping. I spent a good while leaning out my 5th story window looking down at the rowdy crowd who were spilling out into the street. Then I noticed a few firemen who must have been from the fire house around the corner. And then a few more firemen. On the pretense of buying a paper I went downstairs just to see them up close. Seems the bar was giving away free drinks to the firemen and they were having their share. They were laughing and singing with their arms around each other and tears pouring down their faces. Police cars would drive by and they would salute each other and cry some more. Grown men mourning but so glad to be alive and free.

As the years have gone on things are a little different here on 9/11. They still have the memorial ceremony, though this is the last year the families will actually be able to walk into Ground Zero as the construction of the Freedom Tower will begin soon, and people are still sad. But we're New Yorkers and we are tough. The building I work in now is home to Marsh McClellan who lost 400 employees at the WTC. They had a lovely ceremony on the lobby yesterday to commemorate. The best part was hearing the other Marsh employees talking about that day and those who were lost and those who survived. They spoke with hope and love and not fear. And I think that is the best difference of all.

Rebecca

9 comments:

Joyce said...

what lovely stories, especially to come out of a horrible day

Heidi said...

Thanks for sharing, Rebecca. I was listening to a show on the History channel yesterday morning and they were talking to someone who worked in one of the towers who survived because a co-worker helped him. I have always thought of the rescue workers and the people on Flight 93 as heroes but until yesterday I guess I didn't remember those in the towers who helped those around them--they were heroes too!

Jane said...

Those are stories of hope. I was in the classroom in NJ that day and I remember what a beautiful sunny day it was. My students all went home to parents, but our school lost a few dads. Anyway, the hope part is that my dh who was just an acquaintance from the past, emailed me out of the blue to see how I was dealing with explaining this to children. (I wasn't we let the parents do that with their own beliefs as a guide.) Anyway, I thought it was so sweet that he thought of me on that day. So, when he came to NYC that Christmas to spend money in the city as the mayor had encouraged, I agreed to go out with him. And the rest is history.

Without diminishing the horrible parts of that time, a lot of good came too. I think Americans showed their best side to the world in the days after.

Christy said...

Nice stories Rebecca. Thanks for sharing.

Christy said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you....I nominated you for a Nice Matters Award. Here's the post: http://mamasaidsew.blogspot.com/2007/09/nice-matters_11.html

Lucy said...

Thanks for sharing your stories of hope--while we shall never forget, we will pervail and grow stronger from this tragedy.

Sid Simpson said...

I am also a teacher and was working 1:1 with a kindergarten student when it all happened. I was sitting in the media center with her- her back was to the teacher break room window ( how funny that it was uncovered just that morning for the curtains to be washed), and I saw everything on the TV in the break room happening through the glass and above her shoulders. She was blissfully unaware and I just remember thinking- I have to make sure that this lesson goes on perfectly, because this lesson and this moment will be with this child forever and with me forever.
I no longer work with that child, but I check up on her every 9/11. She continues to do well despite her vision impairments and I think of her growth and progress as the perfect symbol of what did and still does happen here when we face tragedy.

Maija said...

Thank you for these stories of remembrance. They are beautiful!

jungle dream pagoda said...

I love these stories and I love that that particular day has become another day to celebrate our freedom!

I especially love that Louis was decorating his grief away!

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