Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fate on a Fateful Day! Remembering 9/11/2001

I reported to the office instead of heading to a meeting that was scheduled at 2 WTC on September 11, to avoid spending time with an associate who I felt was too clingy. My colleagues and I looked out the window and exchanged niceties of the past evening and talked about the day ahead, sipping our coffee as per usual. It was a beautiful day, sun high in the sky, a breath taking view of the city sky line and the Twin Towers. As we looked out into the city finishing up our coffee, suddenly the mood changed. We gasped…. “Oh my gosh that plane hit the tower!” “What in the world! ….how long have that thing been there,” one of us said. “Didn’t that pilot know or have the flight pattern…” oh no! We were aghast staring wide eyed at the scene in shock.

As we screamed and motioned to others on the floor that a plane crashed in the Twin Towers, we scrambled to tune the radio to learn what was going on. As the news spread through the office and we looked on exasperated….. “Oh, oh no… another plane hit the other Tower.” “What the hell….” 1010 WINS kicked in and John Montone, I believe said, New York is under attack…….. What we saw as a horrific accident was now clear, not an accident but a deliberate act of terrorism. Oh no, it’s no accident... it’s a terror attack on New York City. “Dear God, what’s happening,” someone in the room said as we watched the flames and smoke rise in the sky.

Needless to say shock, panic, awe, grief and fear kicked in. I gasped again, oh my God; my daughter is in school in the city. Now all our attention now turned to reaching out to family and loved ones to check in, spread the news, breathe, strategize ……. the rest is history.

I called my husband, with all the calm I could muster and said, “Two planes just flew into the Twin Towers, I just watched it out the window. You have to go get the kids. I will stay on the phone to reach the school in the city.” At the time the other kids were in the Bronx. I was numb.

I was frantic as I was unable to reach my daughter by cell phone and the school phone was incessantly busy. I couldn’t panic. I had to stay calm to learn what was happening and how I could get to my daughter. My husband went to get the kids in the Bronx while I tried to reach the school in the city. I was back and forth on the phone with my husband asking if I had gotten through to the school. He was also calling the school from his cell phone, with spotty service, and with no luck. I had to keep him calm and distracted from wanting to go downtown to get our first born. Finally I got an answer from the school and was reassured that the school was OK, it was in the 90’s and the children would be kept in the building and cared for until further notice. I hurriedly relayed the information to my husband. Some relief! I could breathe now. My mom got through to me around 11:30 and frantically screamed my name twice and asked where are you, where are the kids, is everyone alright. “Yes, Ma, we’re OK,” I said. I had to be calm for her too. She would be the relay to the rest of the family.

We were glued to the radio in the office listening to all of the damage and devastation in the city. I kept praying, Lord, be merciful…spear and comfort those in harms way. Comfort the parents and the children and grant us peace.

I have mixed emotions about not making the trip to the city that day but not looking beyond but being grateful that I followed the urge to avoid the meeting. I am forever grateful that I was far away from that place, yet sad and dismayed for all those who were in and around the Twin Towers. My constant prayers and well wishes that grace and peace will abide with you, who suffered the unbearable losses on that fateful day. May you find comfort in their memory and grace. As the years go by I am forever grateful for the blessings and divine intervention that kept me away. I am grateful to my colleagues who consoled me that day; those hours of tyranny.

It is my fervent hope that whatever the reason or the purpose I have to fulfill, it will be done and it will make the difference for those who it is intended. My fellow New Yorkers, I embrace you with love and peace, the peace of God that passeth all understanding, may it rest with you and yours forever. And as we commemorate this day, this year and years to come, may the goodness of the universe give you rest.


patty said...

Wow. you were so close. chilling. thanks for sharing your story!

philly5113 said...

Patty, it was truly chilling. I am not in that office anymore but for years each time I looked out into the city at the void, the planes and the flames flash through my head and I remember the fear of it all. My heart goes out to all of the victims and survivors.
Thanks Patty. Such an ugly day in the life....!