I swore I wouldn’t be one of the many people contributing to the flood of “9/11” posts today, but the memories that I have are too strong. I promise I will be brief.
It was my freshman year of college. I was in my American Civilization class that morning, lamenting the ungodly early, ignorant to how deeply irony was working overtime that day.
My professor was Mr. Fedrick, a man who bore more than a passing resemblance to Bilbo Baggins. Another professor interrupted the lesson, and he stepped into the hall to speak with him. He came back a few moments later, blue eyes now glassy and downcast. He held his hands in front of him, clutching his glasses, and gravely informed us of what had happened.
Class was immediately dismissed. Dazed, frightened, and still not entirely sure of what was going on, I returned to my dorm. The elevators opened, and I saw that the floor was deserted. The silence was deafening, save for the televisions in the lounge. The doors were open wide, and several students were standing near the TVs, where the news blared loudly. We were all grief-stricken, more so as each new moment of horror unfolded in front of us.
Smoke, flame, ash. Bodies falling. Dust to dust.
My parents were on Long Island, not near the city. Still, I thought of them, and ran for the phone in my room. But I could not get through—the lines were jammed. Cut off from the people I loved—from safety, from reassurance, from calm—my chest clenched. Yet this was only the barest taste of the agony that others felt that day, and have felt every day since.
Ten years later, I still remember. Ten years later, and I will never forget.
R.I.P. to all of the victims of September 11th, in NYC, the Pentagon, Pennsylvania, and everywhere else; and to the firefighters, police, and emergency personnel who went into those towers and never came out. And a special nod to my uncle, who actually was employed in one of the towers, but wasn’t feeling well and didn’t go into work that day.