Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Memory Remains: What I'll Always Remember About 9/11

When I opened the TV today, the first show that popped was a feature on 9/11. I saw it last year in BIO channel. It was a documentary of the survivors' account on the horrors and heroism of what happened on that fateful September 11, 2001. Then it dawned on me that today's the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

"Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York" -lyrics from Empire State of Mind

I have a former colleague who have experienced 9/11 firsthand. She was on her way to work via train. She felt the ground shook while she was inside it. She thought it was an earthquake. But when she got out of the subway, she was surprised with what she saw. A plane was stuck in one of the towers of the World Trade Center. She felt it was surreal. Why would there be a plane? The following scenes disturbed her more. She could see people in the windows. And suddenly, a few of those started jumping out of the windows. She told me she could almost tell that their clothes are being ripped due to the air pressure from jumping such altitude. She was completely in utter shock. That's the World Trade Center. One of the tallest buildings in the world. Why would people jump from there? And why is WTC in smokes? These were all too much to comprehend at the same time. She's in the US. In New York. Infront of World Trade Center- an iconic building of global commerce. It took a while before she got back to her senses and when she did, she called her kids' school.

Most likely, my colleague was around this area before it all collapsed.

The first thing that she said to whoever picked up the school's trunkline was, "We're being attacked! Get all the kids out of the school!"

That person on the other end tried to calm her down. My colleague said she's near WTC and there's a plane stuck in the said building. She (colleague) requested if she can talk to her kids but the person she's talking to declined as they need further information on what she's saying. She yelled: "Open the TV! It must be on TV by now!"

She can't remember what happened after she said that. If the line got cut or she dropped the call. There was an adrenalin rush for her to run and see her kids. As well as inform her friends who she knew has loved ones/relatives working in WTC.

The school officials on the other hand was very shocked on what they saw on TV. They immediately asked all kids who have parents working in WTC to go to one room.

It was already afternoon when she and her kids were reunited. My colleague said she hugged her kids so tight and both parties cried profusely. With what she saw earlier that day, it made her feel as if it was her last day on Earth. Emotions were running high as the other kids in the room were still waiting for their parents to pick them up. The school officials are worried for their own relatives as well.

She remembered that night with a certain chill in the air. No honking taxis. No noisy neighbors. Not even the usual on-the-go New Yorkers were on the street. Only the sirens of ambulances could be heard.

She said that 9/11 really shook her. The first few months, she found herself crying whenever she remembered what happened. She thought she could have died if she was inside WTC on that day. After much careful thinking, they went back here in the Philippines.

My colleague shared this to me around March 2008. I don't know how our conversation went that we've talked about 9/11. But I do know that it was very insightful to me. I never knew someone personally (until her) who was there while it all unfold. As I type this, I still get goosebumps. I can feel the fear and horror of not knowing what's happening around you. You can only grasp that there's a threat around you.

Let us pray for those lives who were taken away abruptly. May their memories will not be in vain. May their loved ones be inspired to carry their legacy and continue living productive lives despite their loss.
To those who were given the chance to share such stories with us,  may they receive the necessary care and support so that their traumatized hearts be healed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Images by Freepik