My friends always tease me about playing hooky from work and my little day time excursions that I like to take. For years it’s been a running joke and will probably always be one. That morning I was sitting outside of the Holland Tunnel trying to make my way into the city, when the world changed. The tunnel was shut down; hundreds of cars had to turn around. You were either diverted to the right, which was Jersey City, or to the left, into Hoboken. It was a traffic nightmare to say the least.
Fumbling through various radio stations I then realized what happened. How could a plane fly into a building? Was I really hearing correct? I fumbled for my phone and tried to reach my friend Judy. She worked in one of the towers. Phone lines were busy. I then tried to reach my friend Rhett, and still received a busy signal. All I could think of as I’m speeding how were the what ifs. What if I took the job with the financial services company in the World Trade Center a few weeks prior? What if my friends weren’t ok? What if this wasn’t some random accident?
By the time I got home, there was an eerie feeling in the air. The disaster that was transpiring and being reported on was something out of a movie. I tried to reach my friends again. The lines were still down. You know that feeling of helplessness? It’s not a good one at all. Then I remembered my view from my office window in Hoboken and how it would forever be changed. Those towers I would stare at when I was lost in thought were gone forever, as well as the landscape of a city and thousands of lives that could never be replaced.
Eventually I was able to get a call through to Judy. She was safe and headed home on the train. I reached Rhett a few hours later. He was safe as well. Both safe physically, but changed forever. There was one person I couldn’t reach. Every year, no matter where I am, and what I’m doing I make sure I call his mother. She says year by year she’s getting stronger, but the wounds are still fresh. Time didn’t heal those and probably won’t. Whether its twelve years, or twenty years from now, never forget those few minutes that changed lives forever.
Where were you on 9/11?