When I was a senior in high school, there was a spoken word piece that played on the radio quite frequently called Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). In it there was a line that said, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”
September 11, 2001 was such a Tuesday.
I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to write about my experiences on 9/11 and my memories of the event. I don’t.
Like the vast majority of Americans, I watched 9/11 on a television screen from the relative comfort and safety of my couch. It doesn’t mean that it affected me any less or that my memories are less valid, but there are people, many of them in this very city, who experienced the terror and the tragedy first hand. Some of them lost friends and loved ones, and I would hate to give the impression that I think my experience can be measured on the same scale.
So, I thought that I would do something a bit different.
First, I’d like to refer you all to The New York Times, which is hosting an interactive project for the 10th Anniversary. You can mark the exact place you were on 9/11 and express in 140 characters how you feel about that day or give a brief summary of what you were doing.
It’s especially interesting to read the thoughts of the people who tagged themselves as being at or near Ground Zero. I was especially moved by the man who said that he was walking to work near the towers when he missed the walk sign. If he hadn’t had to wait for the light to change, who knows?
Secondly, it’s amazing to me that there are 5th graders sitting in class right now who won’t remember a thing about 9/11 except for what they read in history books. Eventually, there will be a generation who “remember” 9/11 like I remember D-Day.
Even more shocking is that there are adults who remember the events incorrectly. Who have forgotten that there was a fourth plane in Pennsylvania or who think bin Laden was an Iraqi. So if you want to brush up, The Times also has an extremely in depth history and profile of the events.
Lastly, I thought I might take this opportunity to introduce you to my hero, Rick Rescorla. Rick was the head of security at Morgan Stanley, the largest tenant of the World Trade Center occupying 22 floors of Tower 2. Thanks to his militant dedication to emergency preparedness and his bravery, 2,687 Morgan Stanley employees survived the attacks.
Sadly, Rick was not among them. He and several members of his security team were killed when they went back inside to find the eight Morgan Stanley employees who were unaccounted for. A winner of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star in Vietnam, it simply wasn’t in his nature to leave a man behind. His remains were never found.
You may leave whatever thoughts that you like in the comments or head over the NYT interactive board and leave your thoughts there.