Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years After

I can't believe it's been 9 years since we were attacked on American soil.  Nestor and I stood at the windows in our little apartment on 10th and Hudson St. and watched the unimaginable.  I remember the sheer terror and panic I felt.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing...there in front of me...not on TV but in front of my face!!!!  I kept saying, through the black smoke, as the first tower went down "it's not there anymore.  OH MY GOD IT'S FALLEN DOWN!!!"  We didn't know what to do with ourselves.

We took our dogs, Blackie and Elvis out for a walk.  Everyone was walking around in a haze.  There were throngs of people walking up Hudson Street covered in black soot -- dazed and confused, silent, crying, weeping.  They looked like the walking dead.  No traffic, just Emergency Service Vehicles.  Nestor was desperately trying to look for his sister, Evelyn, who worked in the American Express building adjacent to the Twin Towers.  We found out later that she had come directly to our apartment, but in her confusion couldn't find our correct apartment buzzer, so she went around the corner to the PATH station and got the last PATH train back to NJ where she lives.  But Evelyn didn't reach us for some time later and until then we were panicked to know what had happened to her. 

We lived on 10th Street where the 6th Precinct is located.  You couldn't even get onto our block without a photo ID with your address on it.  For weeks, vehicles couldn't get in below 14th Street, including groceries, papers, everything.  There was price gauging on milk (altho in NYC, how can you really tell), the gyms were closed, we just sat in our apartment with the TV on, day and night.  It was so somber and dark where we lived.  The black soot kept settling on the window sills. 

Time ticked by so slowly.  One day we decided to go for a walk and head east.  The strangest thing happened -- the farther east we went, the livelier things became.  By the time we hit Alphabet City -- life was happening.  The outdoor cafes and bars were spilling over with chatter and laughter.  Sounds of dishes and cutlery, cars, traffic....LIFE.  We had been living in a war zone in the West Village -- literally.  It felt so good to get out, have a drink, some food and actually smile again. 

Those were such black days -- for the entire nation.  I am grateful that I was there to see it firsthand.    As horrific as it was, it was an event that I will sadly hold in my heart forever. 

In the weeks after, there were hundreds of people camped out on the West Side Highway with food and water for workers in Emergency Service Vehicles.  We all learned to look at Policemen and Firemen in the eye as we walked by them on the streets and give them a solid "hello" and "thank you."  Seeing the out pouring of love and support to our nation's first responders -- firefighters, police, EMS and all the other people that pitched in their efforts -- they are our heroes. And of course, remembering all the people we lost 9 years ago...who will never be forgotten.


Nestor Serrano said...

So articulate. So smart. So sweet and so sad. You and I were at a fundraiser last night and, sure, it was for a good cause, but how can you have a total of 10 speakers before, what had to be 1,000 people for what must have been 2 hours and not one mention of what happened nine years ago. Sad. Can you imagine "The Annual 9/11 Ford Sales Event!!" or "The following programing has been brought to you by "The Annual Macy's 9/11 Parade".

Let me take this moment to publicly say how proud I am of you for (among other things) devoting yourself to this blog as you have. It must be nice for folks to drop in and feel updated as, I'm sure, it must be therapeutic for others. You are a kind and good person who has a gift of sharing that goodness and this blog, for now, is your venue.

I love you.

Jodi Michelle Cutler said...

God, between the both of you...
much love to your family..(yes, I am sitting here bawling.)