If you would have told me ten years ago I would witness a world shattering event I would have asked you what drugs you were on. But what started as just another day on campus turned into a day that many still cannot believe happened. Yet many of us remember it as if it were yesterday.
I was still in Brooklyn College and had gone into the disabilities office to drop off paperwork to request transportation for that weekend. Someone mumbled something about a plane hitting The World Trade Center and my reaction as a TV major was to ask which station reported it. When I was told it was Howard Stern I simply shrugged it off as another of his stunts. Little did I know how wrong I was.
Joe, a friend at the time, and I began making our way to the Whitehead building to relax a but before class and when we got to the building the security guard informed us another plane bad hit. Joe and I looked at each other with the same expression, this was bigger than we thought. We rushed to the elevator and up to the third floor where the TV department was and they already had TVs in the hallway showing the tragedies unfolding in front of us. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing that we rushed across the street to SUBO and up to the top floor to see from the roof what was unfolding.
The doors were locked so we shared a window with a professor that was there with his camera taking still photos. He told us we were witnessing history, and it was still just beginning. We rushed back across the street to Whitehead to witness what none of us expected to see. The first tower began to fall and all the group of us in the hall could do was stand there stunned. No horror movie screams or shrieks of terror, just silence. Then the second tower fell and we all knew that campus was the wrong place to be.
Having a pager and cell phone was worthless. As we stepped into the Quad where the entire campus was struggling to get through to others with random signals my instincts reminded me to get to a landline. I then rushed back to the disability office and used a landline phone and finally got my mother on the phone. My father, who worked at the MTA Hudson Pier depot, was alright watching everything from the job and that mom was on her way to get me and then we’d pick up my brother from High School.
I met mom at the municipal parking lot near campus, now a Target, and was more afraid at the point than when the attack happened because the streets were quiet. No people, no buses, random cars and nothing but black sky where I would normally look to see the skyline of the city.
What was normally a 30-minute ride from my brothers high school became half that. Once home I through a tape in my VCR and pressed record and scrounged for other tapes knowing this had to be recorded. I sat and watched the coverage all day and way into the night. Wondering what the future will be.
Ten years later we’ve had fights over what should happen at the site, terror threats come and go, and the rebuilding has begun with the memorial in place. I’ve miss placed my hours of tapes from that day and perhaps it’s for a reason. Unlike the rest of the country, I don’t need the media hype to remind me once a year of what happened. I’m a New Yorker, I LIVED IT! I didn’t not lose a loved one but know people who did, I watched buildings I was in as a child collapse like toys, and I drive by the site regularly and remember everytime I go past that area of what happened.
The day will always be remembered and those lost as well. Let’s all agree that over the next ten years we stop referring to the site as Ground Zero as it’s now a memorial and business buildings, let’s stop the month long media hyping and let’s ALL remember how we all came together as a country to help those who needed us the most on that date and still need us today when this date returns to remind them of how their lives and the world changed. Remember all year long, not just when it’s good for ratings or politics.