Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember that day crystal clear. I was driving to work, from Philly to Secaucus, NJ. I recall thinking how gorgeous the day was already, even at 8am - not a cloud in the sky, brilliant sunshine. “Today is a good day to play hooky,” I thought to myself, listening to music on the radio, cruising up the NJ Turnpike.

“We interrupt this broadcast to bring you ABC News.”

I remember hearing Peter Jennings' voice out of nowhere.

He said a small commuter plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.

Wow. As tall as those buildings are, a plane would have to be flying pretty low in order to do that. What a tragic mistake I thought to myself as I said a little prayer for anyone who might have been hurt on the plane.

Wait…what’s that? It’s NOT a commuter plane, but a commercial airline. That seemed odd to me, as most of those planes don’t even really fly over NYC airspace that low. All I could fathom was that it must’ve been some inexperienced pilot. Still…a tragic mistake.

As I listened to the details of the story, the announcer suddenly says that a second plane has now hit the second tower. At that moment, I knew this was something else. My cell phone began ringing incessantly.

“Where are you, are you almost at work? Are you hearing what’s happening?”

That was my boyfriend at the time. The next call was from my boss asking me how close I was to work, telling me to take my time, but to be prepared to be busy when I got there.

The next call was from my mother. “What’s this about a plane crashing? Is that near you?”

I noticed traffic had slowed down quite a bit. I usually could speed at about 80 mph in the mornings until I got to my exit, but I noticed cars were driving slower and traffic was backing up. I was weaving in and out of traffic as I saw cars pulling over to the side of the road and passengers were getting out of their cars. I was just about at exit #16, and I heard on the radio that they closed all the tunnels and bridges. Commuters couldn’t get in or out of the city. While maneuvering through traffic, I realized people had gotten out of their cars to look at the smoky NY skyline.

I inched my car up enough to get an unobstructed view of the billowing smoke coming from both towers, and tears instantly started rolling down my cheeks. Am I really seeing this? Just as I processed that thought, I watched one of the towers fall with my very own eyes...crumbling to the ground. The building just disappeared.

By this point I made my way off the exit, into MSNBC’s parking lot and walked to my desk through the newsroom where people were crying, phones were ringing, directors were callings for different shots of the Towers, concerned coworkers were calling friends and family, and some were simply staring in disbelief. I got to my desk, turned on my tv and sat stunned. It was like I was watching a terrible movie...because after all, this can’t be real.

It was real. I went to work that Tuesday and literally didn’t go back home to Philly until Friday. The job put me up in a hotel, I wore my gym clothes for 3 days, and worked around the clock doing whatever was needed to help cover the story of the 9/11 attacks. Eight years later, that memory is still as vivid as the day it all happened.

Today, I remember those who lost their lives that day, those who were injured, who were brave helping others, and those who survived. We hear stories of heroism, sacrifice and unity. We saw a nation come together. Today, I honor and remember that which is so spellbinding that bonds the human spirit.

It’s so easy to take our blessing for granted. We wake up without sometimes even realizing that God saw fit to breathe life into us today. We should greet each day knowing that life itself, unfolding in its perfect pattern, is a gift – and tomorrow is not promised to you.

While we remember those who lost their lives that day - if you are a survivor, if you got up late that day and never made it to work at the WTC and you were spared - know that God’s grace is upon you. There is Divine favor surrounding and protecting you - protecting all of us. Take each moment for what it is – a unique experience to be engaged fully. Walk in harmony amid the dissonant hustle of the world, and know that time is precious.

While it may seem that those who lost their lives were victims of an unjust universe or an uncaring God, the grief we feel can be a life-transforming invitation to grow and live a more meaningful life. God’s care is all around us, and his Kingdom is within. We are all one. And as we did that day, we should all come together in remembrance – each of us- and respond to the call to love that this tragedy represents. Those who are no longer with us are lifted up in His grace, and as gravity ignites the stars that shine, their light shines always in God’s glory.



Anonymous said...

first bitches.gosh i've been waiting to say that

Brooke said...

And yet we have no idea who you are :-) No worries though!

Annamaria said...

First & foremost I am taking out my taser for whoever anonymous is...

Secondly 9.11.01 is a day that none of us will forget. We will all remember where we was, what we was doing, and how we handled the rest of the day.

Also watching the news this morning with Sophia something Ray Kelly said stuck out. He said we need to remember 9.11.01 because it can very well likely happen again. As a matter of fact he was sure it would. I thought it was funny cause I am always calling ground zero a giant bullseye. We keep fixing & they keep trying to destroy.. Between both attacks countless people died & were injured. And the threat to the US has not gone away. SO not only do I want to say Rest In Peace all those that were lost on 9.11 but god bless anyone who lost anyone on 9.11. I also want to say may all my blog buddies stay safe & blessed & to my baby that works across from ground zero stay safe & may you always make it home to me & your 3 beautiful kids. We love you.

P.S.- Brooke excellent blog you made a sister cry...

Anonymous said...

Yea it feels good to be first.

I'd like to send lots of love to the family members who have lost love ones on this 8th Anniversary of 9/11. Wow It's been 8 years and still no progress on a new structure for the site. My family was very lucky to have 3 survivors from that tragic day, we are very great full.We NEVER FORGOT.

The Buddhist Church of NY is presenting their WTC annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony tonight at Pier#40 located at West Houston and the Hudson River from 6-8pm.It's free and a wonderful way for people to pay their respect.

it's Stephanie AKA Barriodiva

Brooke said...

Thanks Annamaria and thank you Stephanie for the info!

The Cable Guy said...

Wow Brooke. Excellent blog today. I was moved, and you are so right. Tell those you love how you feel about them all the time, because tomorrow isn't promised. If I haven't told you lately, I love you and wish happiness on all reading this today.

DMoe said...

Excellent way to convey the things you saw that fateful day. I'll never forget the events, the people, and the mark left upon this country as a result of what happened.


Brooke said...

awwww thanks! :-)

The Cable Guy said...

B, you don't love me back? :)

Brooke said...

Of course!

iriegal said...

Thank you for such a poignant recollection. I was speaking to my ex husband on the phone. I was facing the television at the time. I remember him saying, "Your city is on fire?? I am like what? (I am from NYC).

It was then I was watching the news an saw the 2nd plane slam into the tower. I simply dropped the phone.

The next day I learned my sister was on her way to the Port of Authority building, but forgot her purse and had to turn home.

An hour late the train she was on was the one that was crushed when the towers collapsed.

A day I will never forget, that changed the world forever.

Tony said...

I was on a brand new U.S Navy warship, so new that she had never been tried in real combat, she had been tested but never tried. IT normally takes days to get a ship ready to leave the ship yard. On September 11, 2001 we left that shipyard in less than 8 hours. I remember thinking that we were going to war this time right on ouru own doorsteps and I was scared, not because I thought I was going to die but because I thought that if we were under attack and we didn't do what we were supposed to do America would be lost. We took station just off the coast of Boston and waited radar was on high and what weapons we had were ready. Most of you didn't know that the U.S was completely surrounded by the Military that day....under the water, on the surface of the water and in the air. No attack could've come in from outside of the country on that day, but, we were too late.......I lost a friend that day in the Pentagon and I had lost one a few months earlier when some other terrorists blew up the USS Cole......It change the world and out way of viewing it forever......

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