I Never Forget

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As part of my son’s homework assignment last night, he was to ask me a series of questions regarding September 11, 2001.


I don’t care how many years it has been, I recall it all like it was yesterday and still think about it all of the time.

I often think about September 10, 2001 before it all happened. When life was innocent.

When I went to Roosevelt Field mall during my lunch break looking for a birthday gift for my mother since her birthday was the next day, September 11th. Happy Birthday mom!

When going to the mall and going through life was a bit more carefree.

When you didn’t really look around you in the mall, consider where the emergency exits were, when you didn’t think about terrorists or taking your shoes off in the airport or worry that your peanut butter would somehow count for a liquid on an airplane.

It was the year of my engagement, two months before my wedding day and just a few weeks before the invitations would be sent out and my bridal shower would occur.

I remember driving to work the morning of September 11th in the gorgeous morning sunshine with the sunroof open and taking note of the bright blue sky and crisp morning Autumn-like air.

I remember being at my desk before 9:00 am (I was always early) and a coworker of mine running in asking if anyone else had heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trader Center.

I remember calling my fiancé (funny to use that term now but that’s what my now ex-husband was) on his cell phone while he was driving to work and he answered shouting about what he was witnessing from the Long Island Expressway just outside of Manhattan.

My coworkers and I gathered around the office to listen to the radio and watch news coverage on one small television.

We were sent home for the day before 11:00 am.

I remember eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple for lunch as I watched the horrific news coverage in the den at my parents house where I still lived at the time while talking to my best friend Heather on the phone since she was also sent home for the day from work down in the Florida. Her uncle worked in the Pentagon but he was okay.

I remember trying to call friends and family in the city to see that they were okay.

I think back now to the difference in technology. We didn’t have text or cameras built into our phones, the internet didn’t serve us as it does now nor did we have a thing called social media to keep us informed and connected.

I had a Startac phone with no caller id, nothing smart about it other than dialing and offering me call waiting.

I remember baking chocolate chip cookies and subbing the oil with applesauce and eating the batter raw with my cousin Amy, who was stranded at my house because the bridges and tunnels were shut down and she couldn’t get home to the city.

I remember going to get my mother a birthday cake that night from TCBY, the only store opened in the area.

I remember barely sleeping at night for days if not weeks because of the news coverage of people looking for their missing loved ones.

I remember being afraid to leave the house in the dark, especially in the morning before work when I would normally go to the gym.

Instead of going to the gym each morning, I spent my time on the treadmill (running so much slower than I do now even though I was only 23 and now I am 36!) in my parent’s basement where I felt safe.

I remember hearing about friends of mine who lost their parents, relatives and close friends as well as those close to me who survived.

I remember canceling my lavish honeymoon and changing the destination completely because we were afraid to fly and be too far from home not sure of what the heck would be going on in the world.

I never forget how afraid I was to go to my aunt’s house in the city a week after the tragedy for the Jewish Holidays. I was afraid to go over the bridge and afraid to get out of the car.

I remember the smell of lower Manhattan a month after September 11th when I had no choice but to head there for a meeting. The burning smell which lingered on for so long was so strong still at that point and it was a reminder of what we were living through.

I recall the one year anniversary of September 11th being almost as upsetting somehow as the actual day.

One of my co-workers brought in munchkins (not to celebrate but more as an emotional eating session) where we sat for a while and lots of us cried.

As the years keep passing, I don’t forget.

On September 11, 2003, I was nine months pregnant and picking up the keys to our first house which we closed on days earlier. I recall watching the 9/11 news coverage all morning while I continued to pack before going to meet my realtor.

On September 11, 2006, I watched the news coverage as I tried to get my son ready for his first day of preschool. Which was a total disaster of a day – he cried the entire four hours of school and I cried listening to him cry as I sat in the preschool office unable to leave the building. Neither of us were too good at separation back then.

And, as I type this, I realize that two years ago today I left my job in event planning to go off on my own to explore a career for myself by going back to school to further explore a new direction in health, fitness and freelance writing.

It really couldn’t have been a happier time and major turning point in my life yet at the same time, I didn’t forget and will never forget.

september 11

No questions today but thoughts are always welcome.

What I Recall 9/11/01

I was 23 back on September 11, 2001…. A soon-to-be bride, already working a full year out of college….A lot of life has occurred for me over the last 12 years. Yet, every September 11, I am brought back to that day and that year as if it were yesterday.

I recall driving to work on a beautiful and crisp New York morning. I remember wearing a white long-sleeved V-neck shirt and my favorite dark denim Lucky Brand jeans. Was I really allowed to wear jeans to work on a Tuesday? See, I even remember it was Tuesday.

I recall talking to my fiancé (now ex-husband) on my drive to work via my old-fashioned bulky cell phone as I  drove to work like any other morning.

I actually remember driving and thinking how blue and clear the sky appeared.

I recall sitting at my desk well before 9:00 am. I have always been early by nature. If I am on time, I am late.

A co-worker came into my office asking if we heard about some plane crash at the World Trade Center.

No, we hadn’t.

I immediately dialed my then fiancé, who was still driving to work.

Before I could utter a word, he said, “Can you believe what is happening, I see the whole thing from the expressway…”

And you all know the rest.

We all hung around the office, glued to radios, a television and making phone calls. I don’t think we utilized the internet for info back then as we do now. Although I do remember checking my wedding registry all day long at work so I could be wrong.

Eventually in the next hour or so our office closed for the day and I headed home.

Home was still my parent’s house as I wasn’t to be married for 2 more months.

I recall being afraid to drive with my sunroof open. Why? I don’t know. I just remember thinking the sky could fall on me.

I spent the day on the couch in the den talking on the phone to my best friend Heather, both watching the news coverage from separate states in complete disbelief.

I recall eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple for lunch. I never forget a meal.

The bridges and tunnels were all shut down, you couldn’t get into the city and you couldn’t get out. My cousin Amy, who lived in Manhattan, was working out here on the island that day and was stuck so she headed on over to our house.

We went to TCBY to pick up a birthday cake for my mother, who yes, shares her birthday with this tragic day. Happy Birthday mom!

I recall driving to TCBY and noticing that no one was on the road and most stores were closed. Perhaps TCBY stayed open under the assumption that people like to comfort themselves with sugar?

Amy and I also baked cookies that night where I subbed applesauce for the butter. See, even back then I was attempting the healthy alternatives in baking.

I don’t think the cookies ever made it to the oven, pretty sure we ate the dough raw while watching the news.

It was a bad night – no one really slept and I remember being up by 5:00 am on the treadmill running intervals (much slower than I run now) while watching the news.

For weeks, if not months after that tragic day, I was afraid to leave the house in the dark. When I first went to Manhattan a few weeks later for Rosh Hashanah, I was afraid to get out of the car.

I am pretty sure I walked around afraid for a while.

I think about the tragedy of that day all of the time and absolutely every time I am in the city.

Our innocence was robbed that day and life was never quite the same.

But we can’t live in fear. I tell my son this all of the time because I do not want him to be afraid to live his life.

Sometimes I have to tell myself the same thing. Over and over. And over.

I was extremely fortunate to not lose a loved one that day but plenty of people I know did. Plenty of people were far more affected that day than me and my heart goes out to them not just today, but every day.







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