Remembering the victims of September 11

Posted By | September 9, 2002 12:00 am

Blaine Parrish
Being from a small town like Sparta, I’m sure my perspective of New York is quite different than those who have spent most all their lives there. I remember well my first impression of such a vast city, which was going over the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the skyline for the first time, while hearing ‘welcome to the jungle’ on the radio…..the lady standing in the harbor with a torch held high and proud. She seemed to glow, welcome…..and the Twin Towers, reaching for and seemingly touching the sky, dwarfing everything around them. What a monument to the American dream! I remember watching clouds collide with these structures and be ripped apart as they passed.
Two years have passed and boarding a train approximately 30 minutes upriver on the Hudson, I began to wonder about what it would be like to see the skyline without the Twin Towers. I thought of the people that died there or possibly in hospitals, still suffering after 11 months. I wondered how many people rode the trains into the city just like we were doing, but never returned home.
Lives snuffed out because of what we take for granted so often….freedom. Those who would destroy our way of life….the American dream.
We arrived at Grand Central Station and there we came face to face with a wall of the missing. There were names on the floor and building that were working in the morning of the attack.
Then we took the subway ride to Ground Zero, or at least as close as possible, due to tunnels being destroyed. Coming up the stairs out of the subway, almost instantly you could taste cement…just a reminder that something devastating had happened here. Walking a couple of blocks, the streets were lined with shirts, firemen’s helmets and signatures from all over the world. What a chilling sight and then the area where the Trade Centers stood only 11 months ago to the day.
All that remained was a 16-acre hole, six to seven stories deep into the ground. Most of us watched CNN as the towers fell, but it could never relay the vastness of destruction, and death, and pain that took place there.
But, we all lost something on 9-11….a bit of the security blanket wrapped around us. As a friend that we stayed with just outside the city said, 9-11 has made New Yorkers, as well as others all over the U.S., realize we are not invincible. We will not always be here. We have no promise of tomorrow. Life is now. It’s reality like this that makes you change priorities.
Tell those you love, that you do. Hug your kids, husbands or wives a lot more. Make some great memories, for who knows when that’s all you have left of those you love….just as many are doing this month…the Towers…the passengers of the hijacked planes……the Pentagon.

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