I watched the last half of this movie today. As I got sucked into it, the memories of that day ... September 11th, 2001 ... started coming back.
Senior year ... Binghamton University ... A typical Tuesday morning.
It must have been 8:50 or so and my roommate knocked on the door, "Avram, a plane has hit the world trade center towers." Why is he waking me up I thought to myself, probably just an accident anyways. A few minutes later, I got out of bed and walked to the TV in our lounge. My jaw dropped. No. No, this can't be happening. A few minutes later, another plane hit the second tower. I don't remember much of what I said as I sat down watching this unfold. One tower collapsed. The other followed. It was the most incredible special effects I had ever witnessed in a movie, a movie I wish I had never needed to see.
A few minutes later, I ran to my room and called my dad. I couldn't reach him, the lines were down. I had no idea where his office was in relation to the towers. Was he ... No ... Please no ... Was I going to hear his voice again? I called my mom. Same issue I had with my dad's number. I was getting scared but I saw a friend on AOL Instant Messenger who I knew worked in the city. "Are you ok?," I asked not really interested in her answer. "Ok," she responded, "Are you?" "Yes, I'm at school and I need a favor - can you call my mom and ask her if my dad is ok?" "Sure," and then I waited. I just wanted to hear his voice.
The phone rang. "Hey son, dad is ok. He saw it from his office, and he's fine, don't worry." I breathed deeply, told her how much I loved her and told her I would call everyone and let them know the news. Sister, check. Nonna, check. Gramps, check. Answer all the e-mails from concerned friends, check. The day was over, but I think everyone who experienced what I experienced, or who sadly experienced much worse, would have the day etched in their memory forever.
The movie bought out a lot tears. A few quotes near the end stood out ...
"Hang in there, don't give up"
... Doesn't need much explaining, right? To quote Booker T. Washington, "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."
"Did I love you enough?"
This line really hit me. Not because I thought it was something I needed asking, but because it's something that has been on mind a lot lately for some reason. If G-d forbid your loved one goes suddenly, will they know how much you loved them? I remember once my dad told me, "You will one day not bear the pain that I did and still do, of not having told my Dad z”l how much I loved him and respected him." Tell your loved ones how much you care ... Show them too ... Life's too short and uncertain to miss out on the many opportunities we get to do so.
"9/11 showed us what human beings are capable of. The evil, yeah, sure. But it also brought out the goodness we forgot could exist. People taking care of each other for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It's important for us to talk about that good, to remember."
To the many heroes that day, I salute you. Thank you.
To the 2,976 souls who never returned home that day - may your dear souls rest in peace.