September 11, 2010

A Moment of...

I remember the exact moment with crystal clarity. It was a day just like any other. I was at work, driving my shuttle bus for Stony Brook University. The Fall semester had only recently begun and the students were restlessly trying to find their classrooms and get themselves acclimated to such a huge campus. I had been working for a few hours already and was looking forward to my lunch break.

I saw another bus approaching in the oncoming lane and the face behind the wheel was that of a good friend. I heard him beep his horn and motion for me to stop, so I pulled my driver’s window next to his.

"Do you have a radio on your bus?" he asked.

Working AM/FM radios were a rarity in our fleet so I shook my head "No."

"The World Trade Center just collapsed!"

Seldom does one hear a sentence muttered that just defies belief, but this was one of those moments. I raced through the rest of the route and drove back to the driver's trailer as fast as I could. I ran into the building to find all of my coworkers, drivers and management alike, crouched in front of the TV, their faces ashen and eyes full of tears. I took my place among them and glued myself to the screen. The newsreel of the falling towers played over and over again and each time it was like a machete being swung into my chest. I choked back hard on the ball of painful emotions that had lodged itself in my throat, but there was no relief to be had.

Bus service was crippled that day, but no one thought for a moment to complain.

A few days later, I was speaking to one of my neighbors, a professional man with a high-finance job in the city. From his Manhattan office building, he had a perfect view of the World Trade Center. I asked him if he was OK and he said that he was. I didn't really expect any other answer from a person of such strong character. He went on to recount his story. He told about how he stared out of his window and watched the tower go up in flames. He told me how the second airplane collided with the other tower, looking as if the facade of the building had simply swallowed the plane whole. He told me how he looked on in horror as people jumped from the tops of the burning buildings and plummeted to their deaths in the city streets. He told how the towers fell, leaving the Manhattan skyline without its two front teeth.

And then I watched as a strong, professional man with a high-finance job in the city...

broke down...

in tears...

Today, may we honor those who have sacrificed and may we vow to NEVER forget. Love & light…

"Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you
nor forsake you."

~Deuteronomy 31:6