Monday, September 12, 2011


Well, it's finally 9/12.  I made it through another day of 9/11 memorials and tributes.  Newspapers, magazines and televisions were dedicated to coverage of that horrific tragedy ten years ago.  Truth be told, I didn't watch any of it.  

Even ten years later, I can't watch a movie about the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. I tried my hardest to ignore 9/11.  I marked the day with a simple Facebook post to my old New York roommate.  "You're in my thoughts today."  Then I shut off my computer and went to a local fair with my wife.  Instead of watching coverage of the memorial,  I filled up on hot dogs and soda and toured booths selling hand made items that were destined for closets and future tag sales.   

It's not that I don't appreciate what happened.  Just the opposite. On September 11, 2001, I was working for a litigation clinic in New York.  My sister Jennifer worked for RCA records in Times Square.The night before I had attended a rooftop fundraiser not far from the towers. I don't have any stories of missing planes or subways.  I didn't work in the Towers.  But like most Americans, the events of 9/11 had a profound impact on me.  Many "what ifs" crossed through my mind.  What if I stayed with a friend that night in the city?  What if I accepted that internship in the Twin Towers?  What if I stayed at New York Law School instead of transferring to Pace?  I was a graduate of both Pace University and Manhattanville College.  Some of my friends and acquaintances lost their lives in the Towers.  Why was I so lucky?  

I will never forget that horrific day.  That cell phone call from my sister asking if I heard what was going on as firetruck after firetruck flew by her car to impending death.  I remember my roommate Pat coming home after hours of searching for him. He was covered from head to toe in dust.  His office was across the street from the Towers.  All the windows were blown out.  I remember watching the coverage with my roommate Nicole who managed to make it home earlier from Manhattan.  I couldn't help wondering how they dealt with the tragedy.  After all, they were there. I remember a phone call from my grandmother from Poland asking if I was OK.  I remember a once bustling metropolis becoming a ghost town with soldiers and barricades standing guard at Grand Central Station.   I remember countless people searching for loved ones with seemingly thousands of photos pinned on walls.  "Have you seen my dad?"   "Searching for my wife.  Please call."

I will never forget 9/11, but sometimes I wish I could.  


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Adrian. It was very good, very personal. Moving.
I was in about the 3rd grade the first time I heard someone hated America. I knew about foreign enemies, the Nazis, "the Japs," but John Wayne helped my dad defeat them.
It happened when a new boy transferred into my Catholic Elementary. Like a few other classmates, he was an immigrant. The others were from Europe or South America. He came from the mid-East. Lebanon, I think. After some long forgotten class discussion, he explained to me how his uncles back home hated America. I was shocked, after all, I said: "We're the good guys!" Then he said something I didn't quite get, something about Israel.
All those decades later, come 9/11, what surprised me, was that so many were so shocked. Didn't they know the world can be an evil, violent place? And that some people hate us? Haven't they heard of the Holocaust? The Cold War? The Killing Fields?

Anonymous said...

You don't need help remembering 9/11. Neither do I. But your post reminds me of all those politicians who must wear a flag pin on their lapel. I don't need one, I wear the flag in my heart.

Ellen T. Wright said...

For those of us who have traveled abroad in places where Americans are not liked or even blatantly hated, 9/11 was no surprise-it was expected. The surprise for us was that it took so long in coming. I fully expected it 25 years sooner. I suppose these people needed the cellphone technology to pull it off-I don't know. The jet aircraft have certainly been there. Crowded places and government buildings have always been there.

What WAS breathtaking was the speed of the media coverage and the scope of the attacks. My computer screen was live with the scene within minutes of the first hit and recorded the second. THAT was unbelievable and unforgetable.

Yes-people hate us. They have for a long, long time. Having walked the streets of countries and seen the stares of people over their machine guns, you have no idea of how good it is to see that flag at our embassy or to get home.

The song says our flag "still stands for freedom, and they can't take that away." Well-yes, they can-if we aren't careful. And they want to do exactly that.

Olliers said...

I remember getting my hair cut when all of the TV stations switched over to Breaking News of the Twin Towers. It was the most shocking and surreal thing I have, and probably will ever, see and although I had no relatives or friends to worry about that day, it deeply affected me emotionally. I still think about it from time to time with sadness and regret for all of the people that were lost.