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Wed Sep 11, 2019, 10:41 PM

A 9/11 Letter From New York City

A 9/11 Letter From New York City

Many who were in the city on 9/11 haven't recovered, but some adapted to or disassociated from the day.

Images, sounds, smells, emotions, loss, fear, and confusion never stop haunting, yet they became part of the background hum. No matter how much a New Yorker who lived through it might say it's behind them well, it's not. The memories come back in all forms.

Oddly, things that weren't funny at the time come to mind. A local television station called "11 Alive" lost its transmitter and the TV signal was stuck on their standard "technical difficulties" still frame. Which was a picture of the trade centers (that looked like an 11) with the perky "11 Alive" logo flying over them. Okay, in hindsight, that's pretty damn funny.

Other images are horrific. There were people covered with gray ash, walking up the street like zombies to get home, since there was no other form of transportation or any place to clean off the ashes. Most of them had a long road ahead. And, it seems, within hours, homemade fliers of missing loved ones went up everywhere. Just everywhere. Those flyers conveyed three kinds of sorrow. We all knew the people behind those faces were lost forever. We knew the survivors were in denial. We knew that we were all in denial.

And after walking by an overwhelming number of those missing people fliers, you could take a left on 9th Avenue and see ambulances from all over the country lined up, for at least a mile, waiting for something to do. As one ambulance driver said to his wife in North Carolina, "This is worse than I thought. There's no one to rescue." And then he clarified: "There's nobody left."

Near a sports complex that converted into a temporary morgue (that remained empty), there was an oversized garage door with well-wishes from all over the world taped to it. While looking at it, and smelling that endless plume of smoke coming from half a mile downtown, a very tall West Indian social worker walked up to the wall with a tiny British girl. The girl wanted to add something to the garage wall. The social worker lifted her, and the little girl taped up a drawing she made. It was a big heart, drawn with markers, and inside of the heart, the girl had written: "Mummy. I love you. Wherever you had to go."

Several us watching wandered up to the social worker and young girl, quietly. We were crying like babies, but all might agree we thought we were hiding the tears. There was a silent group hug that lasted a full minute. Then we separated and walked on. Not a single word was spoken.

Those silent hugs broke out everywhere. At stores (that didn't have much stock), on street corners, near playgrounds that were locked shut, in areas so covered with ash it seemed like film noir. There was no reason and every reason for those hugs.

As spiteful and hateful as New Yorkers pretend to be, we know that we're not. We understand that this is our city, and our city is this country's engine. And that no one fucks with our city and sees us cry.

Today, that little girl at the garage door is probably getting close to 30. Let's hope, whoever she is, wherever she is, she's still bravely holding on to love and finding occasional expressions of human compassion that will comfort her in a world that changed the day she taped a drawing on a garage.

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Reply A 9/11 Letter From New York City (Original post)
bondwooley Wednesday OP
smirkymonkey Wednesday #1
bondwooley Wednesday #2
spanone Wednesday #3
bondwooley Wednesday #5
canetoad Wednesday #4
bondwooley Wednesday #6
Nevermypresident Thursday #7
bondwooley Thursday #11
BigmanPigman Thursday #8
bondwooley Thursday #12
BigmanPigman Thursday #15
Lady_Chat Thursday #9
bondwooley Thursday #13
Raine Thursday #10
bondwooley Thursday #14

Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:21 PM

1. K&R

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:29 PM

2. Hey, thanks for that.

Peace.

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:32 PM

3. K&R...👍🏼

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Response to spanone (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:48 PM

5. Much appreciate that you took time to read it.

Be well, friend.

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:36 PM

4. Thank you.

K&R

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Response to canetoad (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:50 PM

6. Thanks.

Days like these, you want to share your feelings, even if they're old and still not lined up neatly on a shelf.

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:47 AM

7. Powerful. Thank You.

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Response to Nevermypresident (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 10:17 AM

11. Thank you

I hope that people will continue to remember the smaller things that are overshadowed by the magnitude of the attack on the towers.

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 03:15 AM

8. And I thought I was all cried out for the day.

I proudly wore my I❤NY button and lit a candle like I do every year. Too many very sad stories from that day.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 12:12 PM

12. The worst thing we can probably do get numb to it. Keep the candle burning. n/t

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Response to bondwooley (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:14 PM

15. It is like the Pearl Harbor for my life time.

When I taught First Grade I always told my kids about Dec. 7th and 9/11. Other teachers didn't do that but I made sure it was a yearly "history lesson" for my classes.

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 03:51 AM

9. Thank you for this letter. I will always love this city with my whole heart and soul.

Your letter touched my heart. Reminds me of all the feelings and memories we try to keep bottled up and not talk about, and we tell ourselves we have moved on, but not really. It comes back, whether you want it to or not.

When I hear people say: "Never Forget", I think how could we possibly? I don't mean it, in terms of revenge, like some do, but in the experience itself. The feeling of helplessness, wanting to do something to help, anything, to stop the horror unfolding before you, but it was out of your control. You just stood and watched and cried with the people around you.

And you're right it wasn't for one day, that it felt like the whole world seemed to turn upside down, it went on for a very long time. And for some who saw some truly horrific things, which I will not mention, it never stopped.

For the longest time, I felt like I was walking through a fog. I felt numb. What sticks out in my mind, were the long lines at St. Vincent's Hospital, people standing there waiting to give blood. Wanting to help. And Rays Pizza , with all those photos of the "missing", and hoping against hope people would be found. My mind knew better, but my heart didn't. All gone.

I loved Windows on the World. Was up there twice, the staff was so friendly, such nice people. I use to wonder if some of the servers were okay, then I realized, I really didn't want to know.

Eventually, I found out I lost a very close friend on 9/11. Through the years, you try and remember all the good times we shared, and were planning to do. But when 9/11 comes around, there is nothing good to remember about how it ended in such a horrible manner, and it's hard not to think about that. For the longest time, after 9/11, you would always run into people who lost someone too, or knew of someone else that you knew who had died. So many people, it was overwhelming at times. So much sadness for so many people.

It's strange isn't it, that you can look up in the sky and miss those towers right along with the people who use to be in them.

But one thing for sure, I am so very proud of this city and how it lived through a nightmare and never quit,it took strength, it took courage, it took a lot, it took time, but we got through. No matter where I go, I will always remember that, and this city will always be my heart.

I'm so glad you wrote that beautiful letter, it gave me a chance to vent too, and I needed that. Thank you so much. Take care.

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Response to Lady_Chat (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 12:21 PM

13. I felt every word of that...

and it was just a wonderful thing to read this morning -- heartbreaking yet comforting that others still know what it all felt like. They speak of the "true meaning of Christmas" ... never have figured that out. But I feel in my marrow the true meaning of 9/11.

Oh, St. Vincent's.

Let's not forget the flip side! For a couple of days, the whole country loved New York for the first time since the Big Bang!

Our neurons and synapses will never sort out that day, week, month, or living before and after. I still look for the towers when getting out of the subway, to orient myself to north and south. But they're gone.

Ahh, all we can do is ask one kid, before we die, to remember and pass along what went on in the underbelly of that made for tv event.

❤️

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Response to bondwooley (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 04:30 AM

10. Thank you

for posting that. very touching.

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Response to Raine (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 12:25 PM

14. Thank you for reading - and caring. nt

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