Today marks nine years since the worst Terrorist strike on US soil. Back then, I lived two hours outside New York City in the Hudson Valley that year. Just by chance that day, my husband was at a meeting in New Jersey across the Hudson River within eyesight of the twin towers.
My friend Dorothy called me after the first plane struck and told me to turn on the TV. I remember being glued to the tube just like everyone else. I quickly called my husband to make sure he was leaving his meeting and on his way home. Being raised in a family that traveled the world frequently, I had been exposed to terrorism in Europe, and many other cultures. I had no idea what else was going to happen, and on instinct I wanted him home and away from further possible harm. Then the second tower was struck. My husband was in the parking lot just watching it along with everyone else. The smoke was getting so thick that it was starting to get difficult to see much distinctively anymore. He decided not to chance getting stuck there, and started to head home.
I was raised in the city, the daughter of a San Francisco Fire Chief, so I knew a little about fires. I knew they weren’t going to get this one under control, I mean how could they – it was so catastrophic, high in the buildings and out of control. I knew from personal experience just how high those buildings were. Nine months earlier we celebrated my birthday with an amazing dinner at Windows on the World – the restaurant on the 106th floor of the North Tower. Staring at the TV, I just watched both towers ablaze and wondered about all those people who worked there. And then the unthinkable happened, the towers came down one by one. New York would never be the same.
We received several phone calls that day from my friends and family on the west coast – many who had no idea how far I lived from the city. The next few weeks would prove to be hard locally. Since we lived just a few hours from Manhattan, many of the firemen, policemen and office workers commuted to the city every day from our area. Everyone knew someone who perished that day. It was tough in the five boroughs as well, and a dark time in New York.
The one thing I learned more than ever about New Yorkers however, is that they are tough. You can’t keep them down. Life does go on, we pick up the pieces and move forward – but we never forget.
New York City is an electric place. You have the best of all worlds there and New Yorkers work and play equally hard. The food and arts in the city are amazing. It truly is a city everyone should have on their bucket list. Take in a show, go to a museum, dine in several of the most amazing restaurants, take a stroll in Central Park, experience firsthand the culture of the different neighborhoods, and see the statue of Liberty. The list of possibilities are endless.
And in the next several years, we will start to see the World Trade Center rebuilt. One World Trade Center will be a 90 story building and the first of several buildings among the 16 acre area. Eight of the acres are slated to be a park and will house a September 11 Museum. Part of the museum is set to be open by the 10th anniversary next year as they unveil the Memorial. The first dozen of 400 planned trees were planted last month, and the reflection pools have been lined in granite. Once completed, this complex will again be a symbol of strength for New Yorkers as well as the USA.
So if you haven’t been to New York City, plan a trip. New York has certainly captured the hearts of our nation – what are you waiting for?