I was present during the September 11th attack in New York City 6574 days ago. It still feels like a nightmare that I will never forget.
I was barely an adult and had just moved into a tiny studio in the Financial District, just a couple of subway stops to the World Trade Center (Ground Zero).
I was fast asleep on the hardwood floor of my unfurnished apartment for both airplane impacts, awoken only by the excessive sirens from the street. Nothing unusual until I looked at my window.
“September 11, 2001 seems destined to be the watershed event of our lives and the greatest test for our democracy in our lifetimes… -Lt. Col. Shelton F. Leskford
The lone square window in my room faced the brick wall of another building, so no view. I would usually see a glimmer of sunlight but at that moment it looked like it was snowing heavily, in September.
The more awake and aware I became, the louder and more intense the street noise seemed to be – like a riot was happening right downstairs. Naturally, I had to find out what was going on so I went outside.
It was indeed snowing, but it wasn’t crystalline water ice falling, it was soot of pieces of New York City.
Staring in amazement and disbelief to an otherwise typical downtown Manhattan street, I saw police cars and ambulances from countless different cities slowly making their way towards the World Trade Center.
Then I feel someone grabbing my hand from behind. I turn around and it takes me a moment to realize it was my own girlfriend (at the time). She was completely covered in soot, I barely recognized her beautiful face.
We step back into my apartment lobby and she explains the madness. I remember that day like it was yesterday until that moment.
The rest, I’d rather keep to myself.
Like many others, I lost many others.
After 18 years, the days in between each anniversary gets easier and less reminiscent as time passed.
But when 9/11 arrives, it’s like that day again.
Rest in peace, friends and strangers.