Sunday, September 11, 2011

11 on the 11th of September 2011

As I was preparing to do my 11 on the 11th [which let's face it, has been a little bit sporadic this year] I suddenly realized that today is September 11th. September 11th, 2011... 10 years after that fateful day we all now know as 9/11. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years. Already. I can remember things about that day, as if had happened just last week. Images that have been burned into my memory. Horrifying images. So today's 11 on the 11th is being dedicated to the day that changed the way I saw the world.

On September 11th, 2001, I went to work, like I did any other work day. I went for coffee with Janet, like we did every morning, and she said to me, "Did you hear about the plane that hit the building in New York?" I hadn't heard about it. My initial thought was that it must have been a little tiny plane, someone was very confused, had made a very big mistake. I thought someone had miscalculated and missed the airport. How awful, was what I had thought. As we came back from coffee, we met a swarm of people, located on the plus 15 level of our high rise building, watching the televisions that were on. It became very clear to me, very quickly, that we were not talking about a small plane. It was a commercial airliner... Which had crashed into one of the world trade center buildings. As we stood there, in shock watching the live coverage, suddenly another plane hit the 2nd building... How could there have been two tragedies of that magnitude? We learned shortly after that, that this wasn't random, or an accident, but a well thought out plan put into motion. Those images, that we saw over and over, burned into my head forever. We saw people jumping from windows, as the towers became fiery infernos. We saw repeat coverage of the planes crashing into the buildings, until I was completely numb by it. Throughout the day we learned about 2 other planes that were involved in the plan as well, one headed to the Pentagon, and one crashed into a field as it's heroic passengers forced the pilot down.

From my office window, I watched planes gather on the run ways at the airport, as there was a world-wide grounding of air traffic. I tried to contact Barry, who was on a plane that very morning [though only on his way to Regina, thank goodness] I wanted to be home. I certainly didn't want to be on the 27th floor of a high-rise, on the west edge of down town. I wanted to be on the ground.

2 years ago, in 2009, I was in New York. As we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn back into Manhattan, I kept looking at the skyline, thinking how horrifying it must have been that day, when people were heading into Manhattan for a routine work day, to witness what they did. Here's my picture of the Manhattan financial district skyline from the bridge, back in 2009.

This is what the people on the bridge and in Manhattan saw on 9/11.

Throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn we came across tributes to honor those who were lost. They never failed to take me right back to that day.

One of the places I needed to see on that trip, was the site where the former World Trace Center stood, then known as Ground Zero. Because we were there in late September, there had been a tribute on the anniversary of September 11th. When we arrived, plaques and wreaths, and notes to lost ones littered the area. It was extremely emotional. It was hard to believe I was standing in the spot, where the world had changed. None of us spoke to one another, I can only speak for myself, but if I'd opened my mouth that day, I would have started sobbing.

Posted on the still functioning fire station No. 10; was a plaque dedicated to the fire station who lost 6 of their crew on that fateful day.

We also spent time at St. Paul's Chapel, which miraculously sustained no damage, despite being right across the street from where this tragedy happened.

So what have the last 10 years been like?

• The world as we knew it changed. In. One. Single. Day.
• We watched a nation come together in a time of need.
• I lost a grandmother, who would have been in disbelief about what happened that day.
• I got pregnant and had my first baby [whom I was told when I went into Labor, was a 9/11 baby]
• I have personally never flown on an airplane since, without thinking, "What if?"
• I have had the most extensive full body pat downs, every time I go through airport security.
• I think we tend to look over our shoulders more now. An attempt to see what's coming.
• I don't take anything for granted, especially not tomorrow.
• Planes take off [we live by the airport] and I still hope they all make it up, up and away.
• I don't think I'm as naive about the world, as I once might have been.
• As long as I'm with my family, I feel like things will be all right.

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