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Ten years on - remembering 9/11 World Trade attacks

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9/11 - Attacks on the World Trade Center
Where was I ten years ago?

I had just gotten engaged.  Just turned 30.  I had a man I loved, a job I loved and all was well with the world.

I was probably kind of smug that September morning as I sauntered out the door thinking about how lucky I was.  What a beautiful day it was.  Then, what a shame it was that a small Cessna hit one of the Towers.  That's what the doorman told me.  A small Cessna.  Terrible, I thought.  Surely someone must have died. No way you could survive a crash into the World Trade Center.  

I got on the subway.  People were talking. Sad. Tragic.  Little plane.  Big tower.  Awful.

I got off the subway.  Smoke. Screaming.  Running.  Big planes.  Two towers.  Run!
And so I did.  I ran with my faithful, fluffy golden retriever Murphy, who I routinely "snuck" onto the subway and into my office at 19th and Broadway.   It wasn't "downtown" per se.  I wasn't that close.  I watched the tragedy unfold on TV, relatively safe and completely spellbound in a conference room, about a mile north of the horror.

Surrounded by co-workers who were truly friends, I watched the towers fall, the Pentagon get hit.   The reporters stunned.  The world shocked.  The city suddenly silent.  Eerie.  Smoky.  Sad.  So sad.

Murphy: a comforting, fluffy furball
Like so many others, Murphy and I walked to Grand Central and took a MetroNorth train out of the city.  We were headed to Des' apartment in Westchester.  I ran to the man I now call my husband and the place I now call home.  I was on a packed train full of frightened masses.  Men were crying.  People were covered in dust, soot, and who knows what else.  Murphy seemed to give them comfort.  I know I was glad to have him with me, to have his soft fur to silence my sobs.

It was unthinkable.  We were under attack.  New York City.  The US of A.  It was unthinkable.  I had to go back.  No sooner did I get off the train then I wanted to go back.  To the city. To home.  To help.  

We went the next morning.  We brought old sweatshirts, socks, t-shirts with us.  That's what they said to do.  They said they needed volunteers at the triage center they set up at Chelsea Piers.  They said they needed clean, comfortable clothes.  We brought them.  We went to help. 

But there was no one there.  They were in the rubble.  The pile.  They called it "The Pile."  It used to be the World Trade Center.  They used to be people's parents, friends, children, loves.  They were gone.  It was incomprehensible.

I remember thinking "I hope the world never forgets.  I hope we don't forget the people who lost their lives, the people who saved lives and those who died trying." I also recall that in the weeks that followed, the world was a kinder, gentler place in many ways.  People bonded, especially in New York but far beyond as well.  Families got closer.  Relationships grew stronger.  People seemed to be nicer, to remember what matters most -- family, friendship, civility, respect.  

In the aftermath of 9/11, these values seemed to thrive.  As we mark  the ten-year anniversary of one of the most horrid days in our nation's history, I hope we will remember.  I hope we truly honor those we lost and those who are still among us.  

I haven't quite figured out how to explain all this to our kids but I know I'm going to hold them tighter, hug them closer and when the tears inevitably well up, I just may bury them in some fluffy fur, just as I did ten years ago.  

Granted, that fur now belongs to Finnegan since Murphy has departed to the great dog park in the sky but, I suppose in some ways, that's fitting.  Life goes on.  And it's up to us to ensure that as it does, we remember and we pay our respects.

Finn: Not as fluffy but just as sweet

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