Many of us share their grief, but many of us don't know it quite the way they do.
I could feel myself losing my cool. I was late for work and cab drivers in Manhattan seemed to be surprised that there was traffic during rush hour. The third cab that pulled over didn't get an option. I got in and closed the door behind me before he had a chance to say anything. I told him to take me to 42nd+Lex. He looked at me in the rearview mirror and said "Ok, I'll take you there but there's a lot of traffic...." I was just about to say "yeah, I know there's traffic, there's always traffic, welcome to New York" when he added "you know, because of the plane crashes."
It was plural. I didn't even get a chance to believe that it wasn't evil. I missed those 17 minutes where I might've thought this was a tragic accident.
Pamela Atlas remembers in pictures.
Evan was 4 when the towers collapsed. that night, i remember, he called the Empire State Building "my city". he can see the building through his bedroom window and wishes it a good night before going to bed. 9/11/2001 was different. the ESB went dark for the first time ever in my son's short life. he was worried that it too was going to be attacked and wiped-out. so i told him that it was sad and in mourning because it had lost its best friends.
"will it get its light back on, mommy?"
"if your best friend disappeared and you knew you would never see him ever again, would you know when you would stop feeling sad?"
"no, not really."
"well, it will take the Empire State Building, your city, a while before it is not sad anymore. but one day, when it feels better, it will get its lights back on."
"will it be soon mommy."
"i hope so."
Here’s my own contribution: a link to an 18-minute film produced by the Port Authority in 1983 about the construction of the World Trade Center. This little curio affects me in a way that not even footage of the attacks manages to do; it comes, I assume, from being a City native and having grown up with the towers as part of reality. To watch film of them being made is like watching film of an old friend, since died, on his wedding day.
Update: Native New Yorker and Townhall reader Alan, from comments:
That Horrible Day
I was living in Phoenix at the time via New York. I grew up living in Brooklyn, Quenns and Manhattan. I remember as a kid, watching the buildings going up. You could see the progress since they were so tall. I even was at the scene when Dino DeLaurentis asked people to be in the end scene of his King Kong.
I loved those buildings. I would have lunch with friends there in the plaza since I worked nearby at Drexel Lambert.
An old girlfriend called me that morning and told me to turn on the television. SHe said that the towers "were gone". They're gone, Alan...they're gone....
At first, I did'nt understand. I could'nt wrap my head around the idea. I turned on the T.V. and it was showing the second plane hitting the North Tower. Then it showed the towers coming down. I called my brother, John right away. He's an EMS and I knew he would be there.
It took me days to reach my brother and in the end, yes, he was on the site for a couple of days, but was alright.
I still cannot fathom it. I cannot belive that they are gone. They were so big. So majestic. How could they fall like that?
I have signed a petition for the rebiulding of the towers. I do not want the so called "Freedom Tower" built. If it is built they have won some in some measure. But if two like towers rise again, they will become a beacon once again of how we are the best nation ever. That very act of rebuilding those magnificent towers will be an incredible defeat to the terrorists.
I hope and pray that the rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of terror.