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Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years...

By Thornton Crowe

I remembered coming into WTC station in the mornings and coming out of the towers. Looking up, you could almost swear those towers were swaying in the wind. It made you dizzy to look up to the top but fascinating to see the majestic twins from 110 floors below.

The Sphere before 9/11/2001
The huge brass sphere would bounce the morning and afternoon sunlight and reflect off the pool that surround it like some weird aura of light.

When I first moved to New York City, I was in awe of everything about the city. In fact, I remembered getting my directions mixed up coming out of subways but knew if I always looked for the World Trade Centers, I could acclimate myself, knowing they were always South. I took it all for granted. I never thought in a million years anything could destroy those two rather dull looking grey towers or any of the surrounding buildings.

When the second plane hit 9:04AM EST
And here we are... It's hard to believe it was fifteen years ago this morning - a hot sunny Tuesday morning - people still commuting. As some of you read this, in real time that day, the towers were about to make their descent, becoming an instant grave for 2,606 people.

Though I was a couple hundred miles away, I can't help remembering the phone ringing early in the morning. My dad told me to turn on the news and stay calm.  By this point, the first plane had already hit the World Trade Centers.

Watching in horror, I remembered 1993 when I was living in the New York City area. A bomb had blown up in the garage of the World Trade Centers. So to see the second plane hit and then minutes later both towers collapsing to the ground left me stunned for more than just a day. The panic to get in touch with friends that still lived and worked on Wall Street began as cellphones and landlines didn't even ring on the New York City end. It was dialing out into the void, hoping a call would connect with someone on the other end.

It wasn't until much later that night that I even got in touch with people in I knew in the North Jersey area. It was a horrific fifteen hour period - not knowing whether or not my friends and colleagues were alright or if they were even still alive. I lost two friends that day. They worked in the building across the street. And while I hadn't talked to them in a good two years, I was saddened that they were no longer a phone call away anymore.

I don't know too many people from that area whom didn't have that same experience or worse as a result from 9/11.

The Sphere among the ruins 9/21/2001
It's still hard to believe they're gone, even when I went up there in 2002 for business, the smell of smoke still permeated the air. It was an odd smell, describable. There was something very different about it or perhaps it was mind knowing that so many people lost their lives - their ashes scattered to the winds around New York. Either way, it was a smell that was ever present when I stayed their for business two years later.

It's not there now. The city - like the world, renews itself but the memory doesn't fade.

I still expect to see those two plain rectangular buildings when I come around the Exit 14 to get off at the Holland Tunnel - and it's always shocking to see there not there. They were a part of New York City for a long time. Even though they weren't there as long as the Chrysler or the Empire State or even the Flatiron, they were so much a part of the city's landscape, their iconic structures are ingrained in most people's minds. It's sad to see now - even with that new Freedom Tower, it's just not the same.

New York City will never truly be the same, no matter how resilient the city or its people are -- 9/11 is like an indelible moment neither distance nor time can erase the memory. I don't know one adult alive who can't tell me where as they watched the towers get hit and then fall into ruins. It's a moment in a lifetime, nothing can fade - an imprint in our country's history like Pearl Harbor - or so it would seem...

A year after the tragedy, the city put two lone lights coming up from the ground, showing the footprint of where they were - I remembered it being the saddest thing to see those two lone lights shining heavenward and knowing what used to be in their place.

Nothing can replace that day in my memory. Perhaps because it was so personal to me - as I didn't just see the area from a bird's eye view or as a tourist. I was once a part of those people working there. However, for the life of me, I can't imagine anyone watching that day could ever remember the reactions of anchors and news people as they watched in horror. To this day, I still can't bring myself to sit through the footage too long because that day, no channel on cable, ran anything but the footage all day long.

The Infamous Cross made of Steel Beams
Have we gone back to the pre-9/11 mentality so much that we would advocate so many unvetted refugees come into the country against all the warnings and advice of every intelligence agency here and abroad - saying the same like-minded people who perpetrated 9/11 are infiltrating this group?

Have we really forgotten all that we lost that day? All that everyone lost that day?

It wasn't just buildings - heck, we lose them all the time to natural disasters and pathways to newer structures - but the people - yes, the 2,606 people we lost that day are irreplaceable. Yet, how can we ever memorialize them - the men and women who just went to work, going about their regular scheduled Tuesday morning - never to come home to their families and friends again, when we just let people who want to do the same to us into the country they wish to destroy?

How PC was 9/11/2001? Was it worth the cost we paid - or the people's lives who were lost - blameless victims of a hatred they didn't know existed?

What's left of World Trade Centers Building 1 & 2


Anonymous said...

Thank you Thornton for sharing. Every one who lived in America on 9/11 has a story to share. I read them all so I'll never forget. I don't think the middle class has ever forgotten but our country's leader show us daily, they prefer to keep us in turmoil. It is well past time for all of us to reunite and love the USA again. IMO Democrats and Hillary Clinton will divide us even further.

Ed Fleming said...

I have some very fond memories of the twin towers enjoying lunches and diners at the Windows of the World. It was a fabulous place and every now and then I look at the book of matches and think of what was once was.

Anonymous said...

That day for me will never be forgotten...the company I worked for lost over 10 clients..who dropped their cars off to us for service and never returned....I remember the panic we all felt as we were only several miles away ...the smoke from the towers was instantly present...I remember driving forty miles home to my family when it was decided we needed to get home...I remember listening to our only client who made it out alive...with a broken ankle....that day was also the day my wife and I found out we were going to have a the middle of all this horror....15 yrs later I can still remember driving home seeing no airplanes in the air....wondering..

Anonymous said...

It seems like yesterday to me , I'll never forget , I was 58 years old and tried to re-enlist , of course I was too old. I still remember any and all that happened on the day . The muslim community celebrated in Jersey and else where. At that time I began my hatred towards the muslims and all of Islam. It hold true to today , but even worse . I'm now 73 and ready willing and very able. This was an act of war . 2nd infantry division recon 11b and 11h.

Anonymous said...

I think it was an engineered event set up by several of the world's intelligence agencies plus the US military. There were missiles used in the attack.
A lot of lies were told to us by the US media.

Most people still know very little about the events of that dreadful day.
Rest in peace to those who perished.
Good luck to those who helped rescue.

Anonymous said...

The truth always comes out no matter what. It will come in this situation sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

6 comments about the down fall of our nation , shame on you guys. What a bunch of so called patriots .

Anonymous said...

I know far more than you....missles....yep keep dreaming..