9/11 10 yrs later

Yesterday marked the 10th year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City. This devastating action was a result of failure in understanding religion, culture and most of humanity!

This attack was 10 years ago. I was asked today many times, as  I am sure most people in New York were – ” Where were you on September 11th, 2011?

I moved to New York City 4 days before the towers went down.  I had just graduated College and this was my big move to the Big Apple to make it as a dancer. I hit the pavement running, I had dance gigs lined up and was dancing for some pretty awesome pop stars. So life in NYC  was working out.

I was living in a small room in Astoria, Queens.  The morning of Sept 11, I had a job interview at the World Trade Center. It was for an admin position at one of the offices in the WTC.  My job interview was not until 10am. Matt was living in Westchester County at the time and I had stayed over the night before. I will never forget waking up that morning to seeing what was on the news. We went to a local diner and stared at the tv screens for hours. Sipping on coffee and hardly saying a word. Across the bay we could see the island of Manhattan and watched helplessly as flames poured out of this severly wounded city. There were images of people jumpng out of the buildings on television, ash covered men and women running through the streets. It was devastating. I felt this incredible need to help but there was nothing I could do.

My mom was calling me from Florida and begging me to come back home.

2 days later, my friend Meredith and I decided to go down to St. Vincents in Greenwich Village to help with the recovery efforts. You could not see a thing and  I could feel the particles in the air. I will never forget the smell. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. The was debris in the air. Just pieces of ash floating about in the smoky fog. Nearby there was a parking garage and Meredith and I watched for hours as trucks were unloading filled body bags into the parking garage. I had my camera but didn’t take one photograph.

Those days and weeks after Sept 11, 2001 New York City displayed the best of humanity. People from all walks of life came together to help strangers to volunteer and the arts were everywhere. I was part of many dance and music concerts in the weeks and months after. Art heals and this was one medium for people to process what had just happened.

The city built back up, the people got back to their routines but we were all changed and we smiled a bit more when we saw one another on the subways, we helped each other and comforted those who lost family and friends in the attacks. The churches were packed. The hipsters were in church alongside the firemen and the old Italian widows in black. We were all trying to process what we were feeling and took comfort in our faith.

10 years later, I have a 6 year old. Lily has no idea about these attacks. Once when we were in Greenwich Village in NYC we came across the chain link fence that was covered with tiles decorated by people  from all over the country. It’s called “TILES FOR AMERICA”  . Lily asked about the tiles and I explained to her what has happened on Sept 11, 2001. Yesterday she remembered the tiles and said, ” this is what you had told me about long ago, maybe we can make some art for all the people who lost their parents.”

I did not show Lily any of the 9/11 images on television. I’m afraid the reality of this being so REAL might very easily make her feel anxious and unsafe about her everyday life.

Our town held a 9/11 memorial last night. It took a year to plan and was hosted by the fire department. There was a parade with all our volunteer firemen and ambulance corps.

Matt said the opening prayer at the 9/11 memorial. I was the proud wifey in the crowd!
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is a fellow neighbor,  followed Matt and spoke about the best in people. He talked about how 9/11 brought out the best and the worst in humanity. He thanked the first responders and reflected on their bravery in risking their life and health to do their job – help others.
Senator Greg Ball also spoke on the bravery of the first responders.
Rep. Nan Hayworth gave a speech that made me cringe. She was the only speaker who spoke about the death of Bin Laden and how ‘ we got him” – this was received by a cheering crowd. Revenge is not the answer and during this touching memorial we do not need to focus on revenge. I understood her need to bring it up but maybe she could have used a better choice of words.
A beautiful monument to remember 9/11 was revealed and afterwards the Fire Department hosted a BBQ for the community.
The band was great! Retired Yankee player – Bernie Williams was on the guitar.
Lily met some of her little 6 year old friends and had the best time all evening. I watched her play, completely carefree with not one concern in her mind. She had no idea of this day and the massive impact it has had on most of our lives. I can’t help but think of children who were her age and lost a parent or both during the attacks in 2001. What a terrible thing to survive through.
Looking at this picture – I am really thankful to all our armed forces, first responders and all who make this country safe for us and our kids. They are the reason why Lily could spend her day carefree and dancing with her friends.
My friend STEVE GILL was interviewed by the National Post about his 9/11 experience. He was a first hand witness to the attacks. Please take a second to read this beautiful article about his reflections – http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/09/steve-gill-saw-god-in-the-destruction-of-911/
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