This is a re-post from September 11, 2009.
On September 11th 2001 my husband and I were living in NYC. Our daughter was just six months old. At the request of some college friends, I put my experiences on and around Sept. 11th on paper to share with others who lived far away. Below is what I wrote a week or so following September 11th. Reading this evokes such strong memories and emotions for me. I ask that if you read this you give a moment of silence to Stephen Frazer, a guy I never met but who for me still embodies the random, mindless, pointless loss that was September 11th.
If you've seen every bit of TV footage, or read 'till you cried, you'll have to indulge one more New Yorker reflecting on the Tuesday, Sept. 11th attack on the
. World Trade Center
My daughter and I were headed to our pediatrician Tuesday morning when sirens rang out from everywhere. A decade in
has reduced sirens to background noise, like music in a restaurant. But this was an explosion of noise that made me get up, go to my window, look down on the streets and the frenzy of emergency vehicles heading south and wonder, "what the hell just happened?" Manhattan
I didn't turn on the TV until my best friend called. I stared at the screen in disbelief, both Towers already burning. The voice on the phone works just four blocks from the
. She was a little frantic, but thankfully she was in her apartment, worried about her colleagues. World Trade Center
When my friend raised the possibility of collapse I said, "the Towers won't collapse". I said it with absolute certainty, never imagining that 30 minutes later I'd be proven so wrong. When the first tower collapsed, I saw it on TV via an aerial shot from due south. The Channel 2 anchors and I thought it was another huge explosion. Then I saw something through the smoke that I'll never ever forget, the sunlight reflecting off the slanted roof of the Citicorp building on
"It's gone, it's gone, it's gone".That's all the came out of the television.
My husband arrived home just after the first Tower collapsed. He had his first follow-up visit with his doctor since knee surgerywork and was headed back to work when thousands of people started pouring out of the subways and buses. A stranger told him what happened. Grasping for something normal and planned, we headed to our pediatricians' office next door. On the corner of
"You can't see it?",I asked.
"Oh yes you can", my husband answered.
Sure enough, an enormous cloud of smoke loomed downtown and was winding its way up
Meanwhile, at my office on
Now that the frenzy has ended,
In the end it's all about a guy named Stephen Frazer and the thousands of others like him. He's young, handsome, in his thirties.Stephen has a wife named Suzan with a 'z' and a child. He worked at AON in
. I was introduced to Stephen via many flyers posted in my neighborhood. Scarcely a day goes by that I don't run into Stephen, at the bus stop, pasted to a phone booth or on the hospital wall alongside hundreds of others flyers. Suzan with a 'z' leaves her number and begs you to call if you have any information on her beloved Stephen. The flyer has two color pictures on it; in one Stephan is sitting on a couch in a T-shirt and wire rims, in the other he's feeding his baby. He hasn't bothered to change out of his office clothes, something my husband often forgets too. Looking straight at the camera and wearing no glasses, he's holding a baby spoon and smiling the purest, happiest, goofiest new-dad smile you'll ever see. The baby covered with strained carrots (or perhaps sweet potato) will grow up without a single memory of him, and it will take Suzan a lifetime to explain to that baby just how wonderful his/her father was. One day I'm going to take one of his flyers down and put it in my purse, before someone else takes him down and he's lost again. World Trade Center
Years ago I worked a few weeks at the