Ten Years Ago: Before and After

I've been debating for awhile if I was going to write something about the ten year anniversary of September 11th. I don't want to share my experience that day for the fact that it is still very difficult to recount. I am very fortunate that at the end of day, all my loved ones were accounted for as was I. But I wanted to share a few thoughts. Not only do I remember everything about that day (from what I wore, which I never wore again, yet refused to throw it out for years), but I remember every detail about the day BEFORE. It's as if a part of me needs to hold on to my pre-9/11 life. My sister was visiting me and I had the day off work. We walked around the city, I took my sister to see Moulin Rouge, and were going to go to Windows on the World (at the top of the World Trade Center) for a cocktail, but it was rainy and foggy so we went back to my apartment, ordered Chinese food and watched Memento. She left the next morning on a United flight that departed around 8am from Newark airport. Fortunately, her flight was diverted and she was safe.

When I think about that specific day, I think about the people I spent it with. I don't think I would've fared as well as I did without being with my co-workers at Scholastic. We had to evacuate the building after the first Tower fell and we just started walking in a group uptown. We made sure everybody had a place to go, we took care of each other. It wasn't until I got home later that night that the weight of what happened sunk it. And I think part of that was because I didn't have anybody else to take care of (typical Cancer). It was time that I took care of myself and made sure that I was okay. I wasn't at the time, but sometimes time is the best healer.

I will not be watching anything on Sunday. I probably won't turn on my TV or go online. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened. I'll always remember. I don't need to watch the footage of what happened that day, I saw it in person and it has never left my mind. I will go to the waterfront at night to see the tribute in lights and remember in my own way.

But the thing that I really wanted to share is the AFTER of that day. What struck me the most was how united we were as a country. I was terrified to go back to work that Friday, but when I started walking to Scholastic, I noticed that all these delis and stores had signs out front that said, "NYPD, FDNY come in and take what you need." I started to feel better, more confident with every step. Then I walked by the memorial that was in Washington Square Park just as I heard something flying overhead, which initially freaked me out. It was a fighter jet, and I thought, "We are going to be okay." I remember last year being so sad thinking about where our country is now. We are so divided. It shouldn't take a horrendous tragedy for people to be kind to each other. For people to want to help their fellow man. We are all human. We are all here. Everybody is allowed to have opinions and just because you're louder doesn't make you right.

So I hope that this weekend, and every day, we remember that we are really all in this together. Be kind to each other. Spread the love. And appreciate each day that you've been given, because it truly is a gift.

Much love, Elizabeth

UPDATE 9/11/12: In reading this a year later, I'm struck by how much the later part of this blog still rings true. I become more disturbed each day with how inconsiderate people can be toward one another, especially if they don't share the same views. And, to not get too political, I'm very unnerved with the outright disdain some people are showing toward women in this election. A lot of lives were lost eleven years ago today because of what America stands for. Let's not have it be in vain. LOVE, RESPECT and PEACE, E

UPDATE 9/11/15: This morning, I walked along the waterfront to reflect. I got back home, and decided to read this post. It's so sad how much animosity we have in this country right now. I wrote the original post when we were at the same point in the 2012 presidential campaign, but we have even more vitriol now (most of it due to one particularly hateful candidate). Regardless of your political leanings, we are all human. Let's try to be more understanding of one another. Love must always win, especially on a day like today. XO

UPDATE 9/11/17: Where do I even begin? Things are even worse now. I've been up since 4am this morning, like many mornings since the election. I can't sleep because I'm frustrated and sad and angry. I've re-read the above and want to clarify something. Everybody is allowed to have opinions, yes, but there is no such thing as a good Nazi. Black lives do matter. LBGQT+ people deserve the exact same rights as straight people. I'm not going to stay quiet when rights of others are being threatened. So many people died sixteen years ago today, and it wasn't so racists and Nazis could take over this country. There have been many times over the past few months that I've wanted to move to another country, but I won't.  This is my country and I love it. I'm one of the good guys. I call my reps every day. I march. I'm an ally for Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants, LGBTQ+, and women. If your "opinion" is one of exclusion and hate, may you discover what is really burning up inside of you and leave the rest of us, and the future of this country, out of it. For the rest who are as scared and tired as I am, do not give up. Resist. Call your reps. And most importantly, VOTE. XO, Elizabeth