I wasn’t in New York on 9/11. I don’t have the stories of a Dan Saffer and Jeffrey Zeldman.
But I was there with now my ex-girlfriend before and after, and vividly remember each experience.
We had visited the World Trade Center in November 2000 as part of a vacation.
I remember how vast the place was: looking up and not being able to see the top of the buildings. Ironically one of the photos we took looks a lot like the hoax photo that floats around periodically. We walked around the shopping center underneath the towers.
I still have the full size station map of the New York Subway system framed, on the wall. It’s pre-9/11, so it’s missing a few lines and has a few stations that no longer exist.
We went back a few years later, and I remember how sad visiting Ground Zero was.
It just a big empty hole in the ground. It was a very solemn space, people peering through the chain link fences to a what was a construction site.
We went at the start of the Iraq War, and the scenes of National Guard patrolling JFK with semi-automatic rifles drawn was a common sight then. The city seemed on edge, wondering what risks the war would bring.
That day I was driving to work when I heard the news.
By the time I turned on the radio, the towers were down. I had to pull over for a few minutes just to realize the seriousness of it all.
We had to solve issues at work like “how do we stop at the timed transactions that depend on shipments” and “what do we do about deliveries to Manhattan?” Not the problems that some of my friends had — one friend’s father works in the reinsurance industry, and lost friends — but still situations nonetheless.
I ended up helping with a message board that I helped run during that time, because most of the people on the board lived in New York City. They had a hard time getting information out because WTC had a lot of main trunk lines going through it. They were a news source in a time that needed.
Looking back, I don’t think we have learned enough. We focus way too much on our own tragedies.
We should remember 9/11 but we also should remember their are vents that affect the lives of many more people. Our evening news is too often concerned with the person who was killed down the street when we forget about the 200 who died in bombings in other countries.
We need to put 9/11 in perspective so it can find it’s proper place in world history.
The longer we think we are the center are the world, the more risk we are to repeat 9/11.
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