September 11th

Every summer growing up, my dad would take a group of Japanese students to Washington D.C., New York City and Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton being the "reason" for the trip and D.C. and NY were just bonuses. Princeton University has a Plasma Physics Laboratory that was the highlight for the Japanese group. I believe the majority of the group were aspiring scientists. I remember taking a tour of the facility and knowing that I would never be that smart! LOL! It was way over my head. I was there to take in the beautiful campus. Such a charming place!

My dad would take one or two of us every time he would go and the first time I went, my cousin came with us. I think we were going into the 9th grade. We were classic tourists. I'm sure we embodied every stereotype of an obnoxious tourist there is! Today I searched for the photos from that trip and found a few, but not the one I was looking for. I have some of us riding the Circle Line cruise to The Statue of Liberty with the skyline including the Twin Towers behind us. We went to the top/observation deck of The Towers and saw the view. I remember being scared up so high. (I have a fear of falling)

The next time I went to NYC with my dad, my sister Malory went, too. It was the summer before I went into the 11th grade. It was Malory's first time and I remember she almost got ran over! She just walked out into the street without waiting for the "walk" to appear. My dad pulled her back just.in.time. And he was not a happy camper with her. I think he felt bad he got so mad at her because he then took us for ice cream:) And New York in July calls for ice cream! I hate humidity!

I don't remember if we went to The Towers that trip or not. I do remember being so happy to be back in NYC and not so much of a tourist this time around. From this trip, I remember more about D.C. and visiting the museums and falling in love with all the history there. I came home obsessing about J. Edgar Hoover and Einstein.

My third trip to NYC happened in August 2001. I was there just a few weeks before the terrorist attacks. This time we went to the observation level of The Twin Towers. I remember it being late at night and thinking the city looked so romantic all lit up. Yet, I emphatically remember feeling a sense of fear, for the buildings were too close together. That night I said, "if something were to happen to one of these buildings, there would be a domino effect."

September 11, 2001, I was still living with my parents and my mom came in my room woke me up and turned on my TV. We sat on my bed and watched over and over all the footage. I was transfixed by the TV. I was in a state of shock and felt nothing the whole day. It wasn't until that night, trying to sleep that I was consumed with emotion. I sobbed. I felt so vulnerable. I felt deep empathy for those who lost their family members. I cried for all the children who would never see their mom or dad again. I imagined what it must have felt like for the wife who was never to kiss her husband again. I felt the horror and ugliness of what had happened that day.

My first time back to New York after 9/11/01 was in May 2005 a few months before we moved there. I was married by this time and it was my husband's first time there. Lucky for us, my brother was already living there, so we were able to visit NY not as tourists, but as travelers. I did, however, insist that Patrick and I visit Ground Zero. In my memory the Financial District looked like one thing and I wanted to see it now for what it had become. I was sick with emotion at the thought of the loss of life and love at that spot and we didn't stay long. To make it worse, a man was playing Amazing Grace on his flute and since my grandfather's funeral, that song undoubtedly brings tears to my eyes.

My husband and I moved to NYC in November of 2005 and fell in love with and cursed the city immediately. We didn't venture down to Ground Zero unless we had family or friends visiting that would want to see it. I would get so angry while we were there to see people trying to sell photos and memorabilia to the tourists for their own personal gain. I believe that besides from being immoral and insensitive that it is actually illegal. I could be wrong, however, I did into more than one argument with one of these "salesmen" that Patrick had to pull me away from.

As a NYC resident, I was always so curious to hear how that day unfolded for others. It not an easy subject to talk about with some... often they knew someone who lost their life or a loved one. Certainly it is a day any of us who were alive will ever forget. Where were you?

Each year on this date, I am reminded of how beautifully lucky and well-taken care of I am. I am surrounded by those I love. We have more than enough. And while the reasons for the attacks and conspiracy theories will be constant, we will always have this opportunity to remember how fragile life is and the importance of love. Always love. Only love.


Fashionably Kate said...

I think for as along as we live, we'll remember "Where we were.." on that day.

great post girl.

Ashley said...

I have a photo of our whole family on top of the world trade center from 1997. Seems so surreal. I am so scared of heights I had a hard time getting back down the escalator. I just can't even imagine being in them on that day. This was a beautifully written post by they way ;)

Alana said...

That is crazy you were there just weeks prior. I remember watching it on TV and trying to tell myself it could be an accident... but then the other tower was hit and when I realized it was an attack I just got sick and cried. It really was a strange feeling to momentarily feel insecure. We do have it so lucky. Our lives are so safe and secure and we take it for granted.