There are always days in one’s life where you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news…of course 9/11 is one of those days. I was driving to work at a private school, coming in a bit late because I had been working late the night before. Radio broke into the music and said that one of theTwinTowershad been hit by a plane. My first thought: “Well, someone in the flight tower is going to be fired”.
Then the second plane hit and I knew there was something wrong. I was so shocked, I took the wrong exit from the highways. Fifteen minutes later, I walked into my office, and told my manager what had happened. She thanked me and went to the Director’s office to tell him and everyone was in shock but continued working (well, our manager thought we did – she was not the most compassionate person).
Working at an exclusive private school meant we knew that many of the students had family members working in theTwinTowers. I was impressed that school officials took all those students with a known family member in New York into private rooms, gave them a phone and told them to make whatever phone calls they needed to to find their family members.
After they were removed from classrooms, other students were told what had happened, all TVs in the school were tuned into news and the kids were supported through what they were seeing by all teachers, staff and school officials.
In our department, unfortunately, our manager told us to continue making our calls to alumni to see if they were attending the upcomingReunion(did I mention her lack of empathy?). After 5 or 6 calls, one of my colleagues told her that he refused to make any more calls because everyone was glued to the TV, waiting to hear about their family. Our manager was not impressed but couldn’t do anything when we all banded together and had a mini “coup”, went to the Director, told him what she was doing. He just gave her a look like “you know better than that”, and then we were “allowed” to watch as long as we made our calls the next day. Umm, yeah.
At the end of the day, I was so drained and stunned that I couldn’t watch anything other than watch a silly chick-flick and drag myself into bed.
I had a cousin living and working in New York (she still lives there) and her parents had asked my parents to keep trying to find her as her parents live in England and international calls weren’t working as well as we thought our might, being in relatively close proximity. Thankfully, she and her boyfriend were both fine. They are now married and have two beautiful children.
I still get goosebumps thinking about the day. As much as I like Nicholas Cage, I can’t bring myself to watch “World Trade Centre“. Whenever I see the Twin Towers in older shows and movies, I feel awkward. On one hand, I want to go back toNew York and see Ground Zero, but I also like the memories I have of it when I went as a teenager with school. I am saddened that the decision was made that First Responders were not invited to the Ground Zero ceremony. I hope one day I will be able to be less emotional about it, but on the other hand, do I?
To all emergency responders and their families:
firefighters, paramedics, police officers, victim’s services, 911 operators, medical staff…
THERE AREN’T ENOUGH THANKS FOR WHAT YOU DO!