I will forever remember the first time my friend from New Orleans came to visit me in New York. Since I didn’t live that far, I was thrilled to show them around the city. We did many things, went to the usual touristy places. My favorite was the day we went to The World Trade Center.
I’ve lived on Long Island all my life yet had never visited the observatory at the Twin Towers. I had always been partial to the Empire State Building. I thought it was much more interesting to look at, more iconic. Plus, its history was much more interesting.
But by the end of the day, I was saying to my friend, “Thanks for making me come here. I have to bring my husband and kids here one day soon!”
That date was August 11, 2001. I would never get the chance to share the wonderful experience with my family, because exactly a month later, the towers were gone. I never realized how much I would
miss those towers until they started to fall.
I don’t have a captivating story about September 11, 2001. The only clue I had that something was amiss that morning was I couldn’t get my favorite radio station to tune in. Not uncommon, since we were so far from the city where the station broadcast from. The phone rang. It was my husband. No greeting, just “Now they’re saying a second plane hit the second tower. Can you see anything on TV about that?”
I was stunned into silence for a split second before I said, “What the hell are you talking about?” He response was simply, “Turn on the TV.”
I did. And it didn’t go off again for three days.
On September 11th, we truly understood what it meant to live on an island. My husband’s destination that day was Connecticut. He’d been on the Throgs Neck Bridge when the first plane hit. He didn’t
see it. He was heading north, and he was already past the city skyline at that point. The problem was getting him home.
Everyone talks about the heroes that day: the FDNY, NYPD, EMT’s and, of course, the citizens on flight 93. Well deserved, of course, but no one talks about the boats. I recently saw a video on Meg Cabot’s blog, and it made me smile, shed some tears and be very grateful to live in this country.
When Mayor Giuliani shut down Manhattan Island, he shut down the main route for my husband to get home. Hubby’s only other choice was to take a ferry, but the Bridgeport CT Ferry was so booked,
they couldn’t fit one more person. His last option was New London, which was much further, and he worried he wouldn’t get there on time to hop on the last boat. He did make it, of course, but it was a very solemn trip.
In the end, it took my husband nine hours to get home that day. Most of that time I didn’t know where he was or if he could even make it home. Cell service was little to nothing, especially after the towers fell. Communications with everyone was sketchy that day. It’s a very eerie feeling to try to make a phone call from a landline and receive a busy circuit signal.
I don’t know if the Long Island ferries worked overtime that day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The country came together in so many ways. People (like those in the video) who never thought
they would be heroes, or would ever need to be, stepped up to the plate and didn’t leave until the job was done. And, for that, I thank you.
09/11/01: Never Forget.