Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Memories...

I keep meaning to post an apology for my lack of posts in the last two weeks. I have been extremely busy with work. I haven't even had time to work on Elektra! I get home and fall asleep mostly. Today I am going to take an easy hike at a park by me. Tomorrow a Renaissance Faire out here on Long Island. So I am getting a little playtime in my days.

Anyway, I just saw a poll on asking readers whether or not they will be watching the 9/11 documentaries. I for one will not be watching. I already lived through 9/11 and I do not need to relive it in any way. It's been ten years, but I for one am not ready. Of course this raises the question of where was I during the attacks...

I was 20 years old, going to school at Nassau Community, and living with my boyfriend in Nassau during the week because it was easier for school especially since I was not driving at the time. He would drive me in to school every morning before he went to work and I would take the MTA buses back to the house after wards. On this day I had some extra time between his work schedule and my school schedule so he was driving me to Roosevelt Field Mall. We were listening to Howard Stern on the radio when the attacks happened. We both thought it was a joke because it was Howard Stern and why on earth would this ever happen? After a few minutes we started to realize it wasn't a joke and he dropped me off at the mall. Yes I was that big of a mall rat that I preferred wandering a mall with closed stores to lounging around on campus. Anyway, while wandering the mall I happened by Radio Shack where everyone in the mall was huddled watching the TVs in the window. Well guess what? Howard Stern wasn't being funny. I think I watched about two seconds before I started to well up and walked away. I went into FYE and bought a *cough* the Glitter CD because by chance it came out on the same day and all the employees were jumping at every single sound.

At this time the malls were all being shut down due to panic and possible targets so I decided it was time to go to school. I got down to the bus stop and my mother called in a panic. She is always in a panic, among other things. But she was panicking because I was in Nassau and closer to the epicenter then she was out in Suffolk. Yes I was much closer then her and after the fact the NCC student government spoke about seeing the smoke billowing from the NCC tower on campus. My mother, however, did not like the idea of me going to school. NCC was a military base long before it was a school making it a potential target in my mothers mind. So I called the school and they had canceled all classes. I wound up taking the bus back to my boyfriends house and watching CNN all day long.

Watching CNN all day long was the most damaging thing anyone could do, because all they did was replay the same footage of the towers falling and people running covered in plaster and dust. At the same time, I couldn't turn it off. Like a fly, I was glued to the TV in heartache waiting for any new information or a late April Fools joke, both of which I never got. I just kept seeing and hearing the same things until someone finally suggested we all shut of the news because the imagery could be extremely psychologically damaging on repeat.

WTC was one of my favorite attractions in NYC. In the summer of 1995 my family hosted a foreign exchange student from France for the summer. For their program they had several trips into the city. All of which I attended as well. On one of these trips we all went to the WTC. It was my first time there and I was 14. Prior to this trip I had no idea it was a tourist site. I thought it was just a tall office building like many of the other sky scrapers. It was like being handed a piece of coal and realizing its a diamond. I fell in love with the top of the World Trade Center. I was never a fan of the Empire State Building. I find it crowded and tough to navigate around since the outside area is similar to a large wrap around porch. At the WTC it was a big open space with glass windows ceiling to floor where you could walk to the edge of the floor and look down to the street. It was almost like being on the edge of a construction beam 100 floors in the sky. The adrenaline junkie in me squealed with delight at this. There was one spot where you could stand at the edge in-between the two towers and look down to see the tiny street in-between them. I never took a photo of that, but the image is still etched into my memory. I only took one or two photos there. This was before digital cameras were widely available and affordable so I had to be frugal with my film since I had a limited amount of it.

Since my trip in 1995 I went back quite a few times. It's was hit me very hard that I would never be able to go there again. I found my diamond and lost it.

Back to 2001, went I returned to school the following day (this had been our first week of class) much of the student body had not returned. In the following days the classes started to fill up with stories of lost family members who were either in the towers, police members, or firefighters. I can't even begin to imagine what those students were going through. And now ten years later it still baffles me that some of my younger friends were not of age to understand what was happening that day. That they were never actually in the towers. In a way it's a fabled story with evidence of its existence to them. The older members of their families were affected and they were too young to know. A 16 year-old now was born in 1995 and that 16 year-old would have been only 5 or 6 years old when the towers went down. This just baffles me in the way that I am sure my lack of understanding of the impact of Pearl Harbor does to someone who was alive during the fear of that era. It makes me feel just a little dated realizing the children of 9/11 are not nearly as impacted as I am, nor should they be. It's a strange feeling.

So with all my babbling about how impacted I was by 9/11 (and still am) I would like to think it's pretty clear why I will not be watching documentaries. It's still hard for me to see. I am not ready to see those images again and I am not sure I ever will be being how much of it I saw the day of and in the following days. That is until they banned the images from airing on the news (or I think they did).

I have been to the WTC since the towers fell. I went twice I believe. The first time being the spring following the attacks with my father, his fiance, and the same boyfriend. The second being after my graduation from FIT in the spring of 2005 with my aunt and two cousins. Its a tough area for me to be around but an important one to visit, especially for my family members who are not from NY. I do plan on taking another trip over there sometime soon. I am very interested in seeing the building of the new towers and the memorial. It will never ever be the same, but maybe it can still be my diamond in the future.

View from the top of the World Trade Center 1997

The 1998 NYC Skyline from Liberty Island

Memorial at WTC site spring of 2002

All photos were taken by myself. These are not prints from around the web. If you are interested in seeing more of my photography please check out my picasa albums. These photos are in the pre-2010 album.

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