Today is September 11th. My heart aches to be back in the City that I stood in on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I will never forget the words, “A plane flew into the World Trade Center,” as I sat at a job interview at a beauty and fashion headhunter. (Remember, this was six years ago… before I started teaching.) In my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t an accident. I didn’t get on the subway. I headed home on the Madison Avenue Bus. I remember riding up Madison watching throngs of people take to the streets, their cell phones attaching to their ears, staring south at the huge plume of thick, gray smoke that covered Lower Manhattan.
Suddenly, an announcement came over the loud speaker in the bus. We were hit again! Another plane flew into the World Trade Center! We were certainly under attack. OMG! How could this be happening?
I power walked home from 72nd and Madison to my apartment. The streets held an eerie silence that day. The only vehicles that passed me were emergency ones. Cell phones weren’t working and therefore everyone began walking in silence. I arrived at my apartment to find my mother, who was in NYC that day to hang out with me after my interview, watching TV. I sat beside her on the couch and watched the video footage of the planes going into the Towers. I was shocked and horrified.
Then the news came of the Pentagon. I quickly got on the phone to call college friends from Washington, DC, but I couldn’t make outgoing calls. I had friends who worked on Capitol Hill, at the Pentagon and in Downtown DC. Where were they? Were they okay? I didn’t find out ’til that night that they were. (Though one friend was air lifted out of the Pentagon she, thankfully, was okay, albeit a bit scared.)
The rest of the day was a blur of pleading with my father to leave work, trying to obtain e-mail access to find out if friends were okay, and watching the horrifying images on the news. The streets were filled with people, some covered in soot, walking in silence, in the City streets, uptown.
It’s easy for folks who don’t live in NYC or Washington to let today pass by with nothing more than watching the news or listening to the radio. However, as I drove to work, listening to Coast 93.3 yesterday, I heard that about 25% of Americans plan on doing NOTHING today to mark the sixth anniversary of September 11th. I’m horrified. 2,996 people died and 25% of Americans aren’t marking this somber day.
I wanted to write this morning, before I got dressed and before I ate breakfast so that I could reflect on the sadness this Tuesday holds. This is the most public way that I know of (i.e., by posting my notebook entry) to mark this melancholy morning.
How will you remember those whose lives ended six years ago today?
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).