I was thrilled to see 7th Ave.! It is appropriately called Fashion Avenue. I was amazed at all of the designer boutiques, and Macy's! I should have interned there instead of Houston! We saw Times Square and all of its glory. Got to see a Broadway show, Little Mermaid. It was wonderful. All of the actors were wearing Heeley's to make it look like they were flowing smoothly in the water. Had pizza. Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park and everything else. The one place we did not make it to was Ground Zero.
We went all the way up to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building! It was amazing! First you take an elevator to the 80th floor. Then another to the 86th floor. This is a view point. If you paid extra you can take another elevator to the 102 floor. It is summer, and so there were a lot of people there. The elevators had a bit of a wait. While on the 80th floor they announced that we could take the stairs if we wanted to, to get to the 86th faster. Having no kids with us and being somewhat in shape, we opted for the stairs. Please bear with me as I go on a tangent at this point.
I remember September 11, 2001. We were living in Houston and I was pregnant with John. I don't remember how I heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, but Mark and I were soon glued to the television like everyone else. I remember calling my parents because of the time difference and telling them to turn on the television. I felt sadness, horror, anger, confusion, compassion, love and panic as I sat and watched the events that followed. I could not manage to pull myself away from the television to go shower for the day. It felt surreal. I thought it might even be a sick joke. This is America! This does not happen here! I watched the second plane fly into the next tower. It felt like it was in slow motion. Did I really see that happen? Oh my gosh! What is happening? What about the people in the building and in the plane? What about their families? I don't want Mark to travel anymore! This can not be happening! I am pregnant with my first child. In an instant my world as I knew it changed. What were we going to be facing now? What about my child? Is this the beginning of WW3? Who would do such a thing? And why?
I worried about the people. To be honest, I really did not know much about the World Trade Center. So as the news was giving us information about how many floors and people were inside, I began to feel like I was in a daze. I hope everyone is leaving the building. Show me pictures of people leaving so I know they are safe! I remember asking Mark if the building was going to fall down. He reassured me that they were built of steel and very strong. It had been bombed before and it is still standing. Okay, I thought. I would still feel better if I could see everyone exiting the building. Then it happened. The first tower fell. Right in front of my eyes. Only the sound of gasps and cry's to God came from our mouth and those of the news reporters. Then the second one fell. What is happening here? Are any of us safe anymore? What are we supposed to do? What can I do for those people? Oh my gosh! I hope everyone got out. They had to of evacuated everyone. Surely they all got out.
America was still and quiet that day. There was an eerie feeling every where and with everyone. Who do you trust? As time progressed first hand accounts were published and broadcast on the news. People dazed, confused and covered in a white powder were shown walking on the streets of New York. It was all so surreal.
I write this for two reasons. First, I have never written my feelings or memories of that day, and I feel like I need to. Second, because it all came flooding back to me as I walked up those 6 flights of stairs in the Empire State Building. Concrete, dull, no windows and thin air. I was getting dizzy, starting to find myself having trouble breathing, and wondering if we were there yet as I felt the burn in my thighs with each step. I fought back the tears as I thought of the thousands of people who were in the stairwells of the World Trade Centers on 9/11. A lot of them really did not know what was happening. Then to be in such tight quarters with other people going at their own pace, what kind of confusion did that cause?
I mourned on 9/11 and for a while after. I did not have any ties to people or places there, so I was able to continue with the ins and outs of life fairly quickly. But now, after being there and seeing the sights and the amount of buildings and people in such a small area, I have a greater love and admiration for those that not only lost their lives or a loved one, but for everyone. One of my favorite songs is "I am Proud to be an American". I get choked up every time I hear that song. I have always had a deep love and respect for this wonderful land that we live in. I now have a greater testimony of freedom and brotherly love. I fought back the tears a few more times that day as I toured. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to visit New York and see the sights. I am thankful that I was born in such a wonderful land with freedom that I take for granted. I am thankful and grateful for those who have and do fight for this great land.
It was a wonderful day in New York with my best friend. It was nice to rest my head on his shoulder as we took the train back to New Jersey that night. And so for now, good bye New York, and try to get some sleep.