Three years ago at this time, we were still innocent.
Today is a hard day.
The above picture is one I took out of my side window at my apartment on a beautiful sunset in July of 2001.
When I first got to New York City in 1998 and was going to college, I made my living working as a tour guide on the double decker buses. New York City has always been a love story for me. Full of history and stories, poetry and bustling life. It was a place I dreamed of coming to for forever. After being here for years, I never lost my wide-eyed innocence of the city. I worked the tour buses, crusing the circles and streets of the city over and over each day. It was during this time, I immersed myself even further into the structure of the city. The buildings were my friends, in a time when I was lonely – I had their stories and their history to build around me and comfort me.
On Summer nights, I used to sit with my legs dangling out of my window, wishing on the red blinking light on top of the second tower of the Twin Towers. It’s hard to see stars in the city sky, so I would look towards the peacefulness of the blinking red light on that tower. It was the highest point in the skyline of the city. I imagined that everytime the soft red light blinked, a wish would come true to all of the dreamers who looked out their windows in the city.
Three years ago, they were evacuating us. I was crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on foot with hundreds of other people when I heard that tower with the blinking light fall behind me. I knew what the sound was. I knew the second tower had collapsed. I didn’t even want to turn around and look. I leaned against the railing with people that I didn’t know and we all cried.
I got my things together and went back to the nearest trauma hospital to the towers to volunteer. I will never forget that day. We waited and waited for them to come in. Anyone. Someone we could save. The firefighters returned with eyes bloodshot from liquid glass. A man from the Ironworkers Union, a big man, came to me looking for his friends. They had all rushed into the towers to save people, the towers started to collapse as he was helping people out. He got seperated from his friends and couldn’t find them. I held him in my arms for a really long time. The world changed that day.
The next day their faces were everywhere. Posted on missing person posters lining the city streets. I wrote down their names in my journal. I didn’t want them to be lost. Writing their names down was my way to try and fight against death.
I wasn’t going to write anything today. It was just really hard. But this morning, I passed by Engine Company 33, who lost many brave men to September 11th. I sat there, across from the firehouse at 7:30 this morning, when I saw moms and little kids walking in, families of the fallen firefighters. I knew I had to say something here. Something for them. For Michael Boyle, for David Arce, for Shannon Fava…for so many others.
My heart goes out to you that have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to the fallen heroes and the people that lost their lives three years ago today. I wish there was something I could have done.
I will never forget you.