It’s still September 11th Damn-it!

I just want people to remember that even though it is 8 years after the fact, today is still the anniversary of one of the most significant tragedies in this nation’s history, also one of the most traumatic days/weeks of my life.

I know we all have our stories, this person was downtown and was late for work so they survived, this person had a cousin who worked in the restaurant…My own story is not as tragic.  There were no narrow misses.  I was well above Houston, safe in my little NYU world.  But when I stood in Washington Square Park and watched the second tower fall, all I felt was that this was the beginning of the end and we were all going to suffer for a long time.

At the time I was a junior and a newly appointed Resident Advisor at NYU.  When the first tower fell and we heard the gasps from the park, my older than sin professor asked “should I continue?”  That’s how jaded and oblivious we all were.  When I left the park and walked back to my dorm I saw people shouting in the streets to go donate blood.

From the moment I got back to my dorm, I was in RA mode.  I was working.  We had hourly meetings to make sure all of our students were accounted for, we set up phone banks so people could make free long distance phone calls to tell their parents they were okay.  We arranged temporary sleeping arrangements for students who lived below Canal street.  It was all logistics, no emotion.

It wasn’t until 6 days later when we all returned to class, that it hit me.  We were in music theory class and my teacher decided to take a few moments to let anyone share what they were feeling.  For the most part, students were calm and they had made their version of peace with it.  I however, who had not stopped working the whole week, started to sob uncontrollably.  All my emotions came rushing in and all that pent up energy needed to be released…in the middle of class.

I still feel, to this day that I never grieved properly for those people, for my city.  This is why when people ask me to go out on 9/11, even if it is a friday, I refuse.  This is my time to be quiet and reflect.  I hate to sound like one of those gun toting conservatives, but it’s true: never forget.

  • Matthew says:
    September 11, 2009

    Photos & thoughts from 8 years ago…

  • Brett Ulrich says:
    November 24, 2009

    I was in Third North when 9/11 happened. I can remember going to the Union Square movie theater for free, running around in the middle of Third Avenue at some point during the week, and this general sense of numbness. I joined the NYPD Auxiliary Police in the 9th precinct a month after it happened since we couldn’t do anything to help and I didn’t want to be in that position ever again if heaven forbid something else happened. I was glad to serve the city for as long as I did. I just stepped down after 7 years, and I lived 9/11 and another tragic event I was a part of over on the way home. Thank you for sharing — I still wear my 9/11 pin to this day and not for political reasons.

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