It’s been five years since the September 11th tragedy.
I’ll never forget that day. A coworker and I had been in the greenhouse setting up an experiment until around 10:30 or 11 am. We were hot, tired and ready for a break. We came back to the lab and I checked my e-mail. There was a message from the university president, or some official, mentioning the terrorist attacks and cancellation of classes. I had no idea what it was about and blew it off, assuming the attacks had been overseas. My coworker came back to the lab and said the twin towers had been hit. We went to the security office to watch the tiny TV. The news ran a near-continuous loop of the planes flying into the towers.
Our boss was away on business and both of us decided to leave. I was so distracted, I would have been useless at work, anyway. I listened to news all the way home and turned the TV on as soon as I got in the door. When I couldn’t take anymore, I took a nap, then put the TV back on.
I’m not a New Yorker, I’ve never lived there. But I grew up in NYC’s back yard. Many people from my hometown commute there for work. It’s not uncommon for rich New Yorkers to have weekend “country” homes in the posh towns sprinkled throughout my home county.
I never even went inside the WTC. One of my school trips was supposed to have a tour of the towers, but it was a drizzly day with low clouds, so we skipped it. I remember standing on the sidewalk looking up to the towers, the upper floors shrouded.
In the following days, as I got in touch with family and friends, everyone knew someone who was killed or knew someone who lost a loved one. It was chilling.
I don’t mean to ignore the victims of the other flights and in the Pentagon. Their tragedy was no less. I simply have a connection to NY that I don't have with the others.