Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can't Forget...

Her boys
Me and my sis Aurie!
I just came back from some R&R and training in Boise. My flight was supposed to land at 11:40pm on September 10th. I chose my return trip home on the 10th so I wouldn't have to fly in or out of NYC on 9-11. Things don't always go as planned do they? I had a delay in departure and my original two and a half layover turned into four and a half hours. I didn't mind because I got to spend time with my older sister and nephews who live in Utah. It was and is the best way to spend a layover.

However, as my plane touched ground and I was able to turn my phone on to (of course) check Facebook and see what happened in the hours since disconnection; my iPhone was flooded with images and messages of 9-11 remembrance. Being on the plane, coming out of the airport with the clear early morning (2am) night skies, crescent moon shining and the tower at the airport shining red,white and blue stripes. Reminders.

I'm lucky because I didn't know anyone who died because of the attack. I'm grateful because of it. And yet...I am always deeply saddened by this day. I have never been able to watch the movies and documentaries that have been made regarding that day. I try to block it. I feel a little guilty for saying that but I do. I don't want to think about the loss. The devastation. How things changed.

So many lives around the world were affected by it.

On the day it occurred I was home sleeping (did I not have a job or something?) My mom had just gotten back from dropping my sister Crystal off at school. In Manhattan. At the time we were living in Red Hook Brooklyn. You could see the city skyline and the towers from just a few blocks away. My mom ran into my room and told me to turn the TV on, that a plane had crashed into the towers. I thought it was a joke or that it was yet another movie scene being filmed in NYC. But no, it was real. I could smell the smoke in my bedroom.

My sister wound up having to walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge but she was ok. And while she was doing that my mom and I were watching the second tower collapse before our eyes on-screen. Tears streaming down our faces.

Photo at the top of the Twin Towers
I was in shock. I couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it. The night before I had gone with my girlfriend and my dog Val to Coffey pier to look at the towers, smoke some pot (yup I did that then) and share some laughs. It was a beautiful night. I used to go to that Pier a few times a week with Val. I always made it a point to look to my left at the Verrazano Bridge, straight ahead to the Statue of Liberty and I always saved the best for last...looking to my right at the Twin Towers. I remembered as a kid I went to the top of the tower with my sisters and my dad. I still have that picture on my dresser - both the towers and my dad are no longer part of this world.

Never again would I see them. You take things for granted. I know I did. I know I do.  But I'm glad I was able to share the night before lives were forever altered, by recognizing the simple beauty of the city skyline with my girlfriend and my dog.

I'm glad no one I know died.

I have friends who have served in the military. I have friends who are currently serving in the military. Friends in the NYPD and the FDNY and...I forget. It took a new friendship I came across through a writing class to remind me what it's like for families in the military. To remind me that yeah I DO know people overseas. I can't even try to imagine what it's like to have that be your job. I have no concept. It scares the shit out of me. Whoever signs up to be part of any form of military or state government has a lot of balls.

So, with my rambling where does this leave me? Yes September 11th makes me sad, but it also makes me appreciate my military friends who are currently active and who have served in the past. My friends and family who are part of the NYPD and FDNY. NYC and myself were forever changed on 9-11 and as much as I've tried in the past to block it, well, living here you can't. There are reminders everyday; so instead of trying to block it I'll try understanding and appreciating a little more.


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