The Day We Were Forever Changed
This morning, as I looked out towards the city towers that formed the skyline, the air was crisp, the sun was shining, and the sky was cloudless; just like Sept 11th, 2001.
I saw a plane fly overhead, which sent a chill running down my spine.
September 11th, 2001 - The Day We Were Forever Changed.
I cannot forget that day! The images still burn in my mind. I still get the same visceral reaction as I did when I saw them for the first time - 11 years ago!
A week prior to that fateful day, I had been in NYC and inexplicably found myself at the base of one of the World Trade Center towers, looking upwards, unable to see the top of this very tall building.
The city was about to undergo a change, a shift, of some sort, I could feel it in my very being. Something was not quite right. Days later I'd come to understand those intuitive yet powerful feelings I was experiencing.
The horror of the events of September 11th remain a part of my life.
On that day, the unimaginable became real.
On that day, the world was forever changed.
It was a day when history would split and from that moment on, the world would be defined as "before" and "after".
I was in NYC in September 2011 enjoying an extended Labor Day Weekend, and my friend Deb, who was with me, asked me why we were taking a taxi to the South Seaport. I shrugged and replied " I don't know -I'm just feeling compelled to explore the area".
After spending some time wandering around South Seaport, we journeyed up along Fulton towards the Fulton Market. Meandering through the many small and winding streets that make up the Wall Street-Tribeca-Financial District area, I reflected on how this was where the City of New York and the Financial Center of a brave new world first began.
We passed the NYSE, along Vecey to the WTC, where I stopped to stare in awe at these gigantic monoliths, when I was suddenly overcome with a sadness so profound and overwhelming, the likes of which I had only experienced one other time, but hoped never to experience again.
I fought back tears, just barely. I remember smelling smoke, and what I can only describe as a gas leak, but much stronger...like someone had spilled buckets of gasoline fuel around me. Yet there was no smoke or gas leak anywhere. I felt dizzy, confused, and scared- something wasn't right!!
Walking around the WTC to Battery Park, back up along Church to Broadway past City Hall, through City Hall Park, and along the streets of Tribeca past St Vincents Hospital, we made our way to Soho. Throughout that entire walk, I remained overcome with this unexplainable sadness. Deb noticed me fighting off tears, particularly around the WTC, and when we sat down in City Hall Park, she wrapped her arms around me, as I let the tears flow.
I could not understand why I was crying---why I was so overcome with sadness. The city was overflowing with energy, yet something was off --out of balance. I couldn't shake the feeling of dread; while everything looked okay on the surface, something dark was brewing beneath.
All those streets we journeyed along would become familiar to everyone who had watched the continuous news coverage of 9/11 - but while I would recognize their names and some landmarks- what I was seeing on that day, was not the streets I had wandered days earlier.
Instead, I was witnessing a modern day Pompeii.
On Sept 18th 2001 I wrote this entry in my journal:
I have no idea what compelled me so intensely to hop into a taxi and head over to South Seaport, and wander the area now known as Ground Zero, but what I do know, is that on Sept 11, 2001, I wrote in my journal that " I am, we are all, forever changed"
I have not been able to write anything more until now. I have not stopped crying, and can't sleep much. The images of planes flying into buildings intentionally slicing through them like a knife through butter, and people falling or choosing to jump from 100 stories, haunt me unendingly.
I close my eyes, hoping for a moments peace, yet I the images won't fade away: a neighborhood I recently wandered through covered in ash, soot and the remains of human bodies. I see Tower 2 collapsing, and I hear the voices of people I do not know on a plane hijacked by some madman hellbent on destroying lives, calling their loved ones to say "Goodbye, I love you" as they realized their fates were sealed. I hear them praying, screaming, crying, and I still experience that horrific unexplainable feeling of a thousand frightening deaths that overcame me on a crowded subway on a sunny Tuesday morning at 8:45am - a feeling which was like NOTHING I had ever felt or experienced- and which sent me leaping through the closing doors of that subway onto the platform to avoid what I thought was a panic attack but what I now understand was the connection that all Souls feel to each other, but humans sometimes fail to recognize; I was dying with them. And I find myself demanding to know why it took this unimaginable event to occur in order for all of us - Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Africans, Asians, the entire world, to put aside our petty inconsequential political, personal, social differences, and come together united in love, united in our understanding that this evil is frightening and dangerous to all people in all countries; united in our determination to work together regardless of our own agendas to effectively eradicate this evil; to reach out with small gestures of kindness to one another, to love alot more, and hurry alot less, to pay attention to what is good, true and kind; to speak kindly to one another and about one another; to increase or awareness of other countries as more than geographical locations; to understand their policies, and their peoples common struggles to overcome tyranny and live in freedom; to eliminate the misguided notion that international events have no relevance at home - a notion that Pres.Clinton held onto for 8 years.
The terrorists that planned and committed these vile acts on Sept 11th worship a God of Hate, and dare to defame Islam while proclaiming to be representatives of ALL Muslims.
It scares me to think that they are a reflection of something dark in the human soul. Some light of rationality has gone out and none of us as yet know how to adjust our vision.
On Sept 11th, the worst of humanity brought down the Twin Towers; and where the towers have fallen, the best of humanity has risen.
The challenge will be to ensure that only the very best of humanity continues to flourish so that the very worst of humanity has no place to grow.
September 11th, 2001: The Day We Were Forever Changed.
God Bless America. God Bless Canada.
God bless our troops and our first responders.
God bless the families of those died on 9.11.01
I Have Not Forgotten.