Remembering 9/11

The World Trade Center Towers on fire on 9/11, seen from Union Square.

Although it is now seared into my memory, there was not a great deal of concern at first as we stood there in Union Square looking at the towers outlined against a beautiful blue fall sky. We were at first simply intrigued by the strange smoking scar across the face of the North Tower. Not until the second tower was struck were we shocked into the realization that this was no accident. Still, the full horror of what was happening did not become evident until an hour later, when to our utter disbelief, the South Tower began to collapse, sending out the billowing cloud of all that was left of some of nearly three thousand lives to be lost that day. A wail, which still haunts me, rose from the crowd, some of whom fell to their knees and beat the paving stones with their fists in despair. Then the second tower fell. Dumbstruck and numb, and not knowing what else to do, most of us eventually went on to our places of work, although only to try to come to some kind of understanding with each other about what had just happened. The City fell eerily quiet. But a sense of intense bonding and closeness took place, and by the evening, as smoke continued to drift overhead, a strange calmness returned, and the sidewalk cafés were as busy as ever, even though conversation was only about one thing. Many of us re-evaluated our lives. We all knew nothing was ever going to be the same again.

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