An unusually loud noise down the street disturbed the early morning calm. I attributed it to the construction on the block behind me. I turned on the television to check weather, which was part of my typical daily ritual. This morning the normality of life changed forever. On the screen I saw a picture of the tower two of World Trade Center with smoke pouring out of the upper floors. A passenger jet had apparently gone off course and hit one of the Twin Towers.
I quickly left my building and turned to look at downtown Manhattan where I saw the frightening reality of the destruction less than a half mile from my apartment. Then I watch as another passenger jet turned sharply from its position west of the Towers and then crashed into Tower One. This was no longer an air transportation mishap; it was a deliberate attack.
I think back on those hours often. My office was only a block from the WTC and my fiancé had her office in the Towers. Many frantic calls determined she was safe, but we also knew thousands would never return home again.
Now it is history. The World Trade Center is being rebuilt, the memory is now less painful and somehow life has gone on to reach some level of normality.
Today, I simply remember the feeling of helplessness 9/11 brought to all of us who watched. Are we any better for all the pain of that day? I don’t know, but I think we are all a little more aware of how small and dangerous our world can be.
In a park across from the WTC is a church called St. Paul’s, which is surrounded by trees, some of which have been there since George Washington was inaugurated on the steps of the church. They stand and peacefully watch the world change. The towers are gone, but the trees still stand. How great it would be if we could learn to live peaceably like the trees.
- 9/11 anniversary: new tower rises above New York (theweek.co.uk)