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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9-11-01 Never Forget - How Could You Anyway?

I keep the phrase: "9-11, Never Forget"  on my blog, at the top, 365 days a year.  

But really, who really, if they were alive then, could ever forget? Even children who don't remember now learn about it in school and know it is a world changing day and event, never to be forgotten.

I lived in NYC that day and my nerve endings tingle as I write this. I remember each second of that day down to brushing my teeth hours before the first plane hit. It is like my brain went it to hyper-recording mode. I can tell you hundreds of stories from that day and the days following. Stories about people who died, people who lived, people who missed their regular train and got to work late, those whose children were sick and they couldn't go to work that day. 

I  know people who missed their plane;  and a man who lost his wife and daughter on a plane  and they had only just made it on with a stand-by fare.  On and on the stories flow. All about people I know or knew.  I can fill a book just with stories about people in my life who had incredible horror stories or incredible fateful salvation stories. And I don't know that many people! There were no in between stories that day.  It just seemed like everyone  had stories like this. It was such an odd, spiritual connection to everyone you spoke with. Everyone had these stories to tell.

I still miss my  friend  "Moh" from the newspaper kiosk from whom I bought my newspaper from for fourteen years.   He helped out many  of the homeless people in the  neighborhood and always had a smile and a kind word. Each morning we would joke and laugh about how I would have married him if he didn't have so many "God-damned wives at home".  Sometimes I  would buy a lottery ticket and he would say, "You buy me divorces when you win." I never saw him after 9/11. His kiosk was boarded up, he was gone. I still don't know what to think of this.

Each day, as people surfaced from their apartments and I would start to see regular faces again at the gym, at Starbucks, and walking the dog,  it became an endless recording of   "Did you hear...?" It became unbearable to see these living faces, knowing I was going to learn about more who were not going to show up. In my gym alone, one hundred members died. In my apartment building, thirty! I went to Memorial Services in NJ and Connecticut and all over the City. All with just photographs. Few remains were found early on.

I wish I could calm the nerve endings that tingle with the words 9-11. But it is as fresh a wound as 12 years ago. I did not lose a husband, child, parent or sibling.  I lost several friends  but none of my dearest friends. Its not that my life  changed in a catastrophic way it's that the world did. I mourn for life pre-9-11. The naivete that we lived in the best country in the world. I mourn for the days when I trusted my government even if they seemed dim-witted. I mourn for 2010.

Today, I live 22 miles north of the City. I mourn for living in the City, pre 9/11,  but I just couldn't stay.  I smelled that death smoke from my apartment for weeks and it was killing me. So  I started looking for houses  where I could live with my mother who had advancing Alzheimer's. I did stay to finish school but I couldn't take  the bomb scares and the bag checks that went on for a year after 9-11. And   I couldn't live with the fear of living with a big target on my back. 

I am still torn whether I should have stuck it out. I miss so much of the amazing things of The City. But I think after ten years up here I have lost my "edge". I would  never survive another 9/11. Oh, but guess what I learned after I bought my house? I'm just down river from Indian Point, Nuclear Power Plant. 

Just Tattoo that target right on my back!

Specacularly graphic and heart wrenching photos on this website. I will not post them so you can look at your own choosing