Friday, September 11, 2009

Carnival: Remembering September 11

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As the weeks of September 11 approached, this year, as in the past 8 years, my mind has been filled with the memories of a day the World as we knew it then, has completely changed. We went from a carefree existence into a life struck with terror within just a few moments of time.

Living so close to the City, everyday has it’s own memories that cannot be forgotten, as I remember the loss of so many people that I may have passed everyday never thinking that this may be their last in a world about to change. Like many, I had just arrived at work a few minutes before 9 am, when someone announced they heard that a plane crashed into one of the World Trade Towers. We watched in horror at the burning of the 1st Tower, only to see about 15 minutes later a second plane crash into the 2nd Tower. Working in the Financial Trade business, we knew that many Trade companies we dealt with on a daily basis would be affected by this devastation, never realizing how much more that devastation would take. Unfortunately many brokers that we dealt with on a daily basis were breathing their last breaths, as we held our own breaths watching in horror as each of the buildings started to collapse. We have heard so many stories of the workers who died, and those heroes who gave their lives to try to save some of the others, only to lose their own lives.

That afternoon as the whole world came to a complete standstill, and people talked only in whispers, my friend Paul and I drove to our favorite place along the sound where we would often sit and look out over the water. We sat in silence as we watched the smoke rising miles high in the sky from across the bay spreading across the City. Little did we know that our some of our own friends would be lost, or experience the terror and horror that I hope we may never have to experience. I will tell the story of one of our friends, who miraculously survived, and one who didn’t. Monica, a close friend of ours worked in Tower 2. She was almost out of the building when it starting collapsing. No one there knew what was happening or what was to occur, but Monica was suddenly overcome with a vast cloud of smoke and ash. From that point on she was left in a haze of smoke, dust; not being able to see or hear anyone or anything thing. It was at that moment that she thought of her 2 young boys that she would never see again, as she truly thought she had died. Still thinking she was not alive, Monica continued on through this maze of think smoke, her face, and body completely covered in ash, still not be able to see anything or anyone. With God on her side, one of the firemen found her wondering around in this vast mass of molten ash. It took quite a while before she realized that she had survived this horrible tragedy. The next morning many of us went to Mass to pray for the thousands who never made it out of the towers alive. There sitting alone in the Church was an elderly woman crying. Her daughter had been in Tower 1, and as of yet had not heard from her. To this day they have not found any remains of her daughter, and the tears now lives within the heart of her mother. Another friend, Mary, whose husband John was VP of Aon, did not survive the fires that consumed the top floors of Tower 1. They have 2 daughters, one of whom was born with developmental disabilities, (who I worked with for a few years) were a very close and strong family. I didn’t know if Barbara would understand, but I remember at the funeral, she and her sister stood bravely thanking people for coming, and wondering if I myself could have been that strong. In total, we lost 111 people from just our area. The town erected a beautiful monument called “The Rising”. It consists of 111 silver beams reaching up to the sky, each one engraved with the name of a person lost to a senseless tragedy, and at the base are 111 marble stones each etched with the name of the deceased and a small remembrance written in dedication by each family. So for me September 2001 was just not a day which I remember once a year, but as I see the faces of my friend who survived, and the faces of the young girls (the youngest in her last year of college), I relive that horror within myself on a daily basis.

Above is a picture of the memorial “The Rising” and two quilt squares I did in memory of September 11.

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