Thursday, April 8, 2010

Remembering 9/11

Just like people were asked where they were when Kennedy was shot, we are asked where we were on Sept. 11, 2001.

It's a day that will forever be remembered. A day that took many lives but also brought America together.

That day I was sitting in my seventh grade English class, just like any regular school day. But in a matter of minutes my world turned upside down. Much of it remains a blur to me.

Knowing that my Dad was supposed to be on a plane to New York City the morning before, to have a meeting roughly around 9 a.m., that morning of Sept. 11, 2001, shook me. But that was not all that was worrying me. My brother had just started his freshmen year at George Washington University, located just behind the White House and was locked into his dorm room.

There I was confused like no other and completely puzzled with what had just happened and my heart was beating like crazy not knowing if my Dad and Brother were ok.

To be quite honest with time that day just faded for me and I never really thought much about it.

Between that day and today I had made many visits to the World Trade Center site - but more to see the progress than to remember the past. But my visit to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center last week brought up old and new memories. It opened my eyes as I shed a few tears.

Having lost my brother just two years ago, I could relate with those who were robbed of a loved one that day.

It was the panoramic collage of faces smiling at me that hit me. There I stood thinking why did these innocent souls have to die? For them it probably did not seem like they were at the wrong place at the wrong time – until it was to late. It could have been me and it could have been you, as scary as it sounds. And that’s what I realized when I listened to the stories.

For $10 I took a two-and-half hour audio tour, around the sixteen acre site where the symbolic twin towers once stood. Sixteen heartbreaking stories brought me a step closer into the lives of those who had been there firsthand.

The voices resonated within me and it seemed like a bad movie playing in front of me. I imagined the“blood curdling screams," the blood dripping from the windows and the enormous grey cloud that filled the air, that September day.

Whether they were a survivor, lost someone dear or were a firefighter who found one of the 2,749 bodies -- they each have a story to tell. A story of loss, survival and or trauma, forever linked to 9/11. 

But what makes this a universal tragedy is that it connected million of hearts all over the world. It united America as half a million volunteers came out and lend a hand. 

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