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Above the Noise, Not Part of It

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June 18, 2019

September 11

Well, my initial podcast turned out to be a blog….but from time to time I will have a 5 to 10 minute rant that you can listen to. Some things have to be heard and not read, and that will happen from time to time.

My first entry is not going to be a rant on our economy, or on our national security being sold out overseas and at our borders or the other important issues facing us today.

Instead I want to focus on what happened 9 years ago, September 11, 2001. I know people will remember where they were and what they were doing at that time, but I would like to focus on years before that.

You see, I grew up in New Jersey on the Palisades. While my town faced the upper West Side, where Riverside Church and Grant’s tomb was, we all knew the layout of the city. As children, we took countless school trips to the Natural History Museum, went to Children’s   performances at Lincoln Center, and  the  Hayden Planetarium.   We always oohed and aahed at the Empire State Building as we went by in our buses singing “Three Cheers for the Bus Driver:”

As teen-agers and finally having cars to use on dates, there were many trips down to small parks along the Hudson River to see the lights at night. They always amazed me.  In a few years, though, there would be a newcomer to the skyline of the city and it would create a lot of controversy. Someone wanted to completely ruin (in some peoples’ eyes) the magnificent skyline of New York. Twin towers that would completely dwarf the venerable old Empire State Building was considered not only an abomination but almost a desecration of land.

As we watched them rise though, we were astounded at the height and after a while became very proud of them. Having the tallest buildings in the world (at the time) was a new badge of honor. When you stood at the bottom, you couldn’t see the top of the buildings, obscured by the clouds. As soon as the Windows on the World restaurant opened, there was a never ending list for reservations. I never had the privilege of dining there, attending college at the time and not having any money for the finer things in life. Those that went said if it was a clear night the view was amazing, and if it was cloudy it was like sitting in heaven.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing site to see. When I moved to Maryland after college to work for the Federal Government (more on that later), I would drive home for holidays. The funny thing is that even though I was on the New Jersey Turnpike all the way up, and was in my home state, I never truly felt that I was home until I saw Manhattan and the two towers.  It was always an amazing sight. When I was in NJ for one of my brother’s wedding in the 90s, I took a bunch of pictures of the NYC skyline with the Twin Towers in them. I cherish them.

On September 11, 2001 I was in a political meeting in Concord, NH when I received a call from my husband telling me that a plane had crashed into the Towers in New York, We both thought it had been a Cessna that got too close. Then he said wait a minute and came back to tell me that it was a large airliner.

When I got home later and started looking at the footage, I wept and felt a loss that I had never felt. I got in touch with all my family members and was relieved that no one had been in the city. I also checked with friends at the Department of Defense who occasionally worked at the Pentagon; they were safe. It took me a few years to get the courage to find out that I had lost two classmates from high school. Considering where my hometown is situated and that many of us from my town would work in the city, the likelihood was real.

To this day I cannot see the footage, hear the families speak of their loss without feeling that horrible pain of anguish. I knew from that day forward that our lives would never be the same.

I pray for the innocents that lost their lives on that day, for their families and friends to find peace in their hearts and souls.  May we never forget that day.  May the memory of that horror never fade from our memories but make us stronger as a nation.  May God bless America and be her guiding light.

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