this morning, i woke up, fought the urge to snooze (for the second time), had a great hour-long strength and abs session in the gym in my building, and rejoiced that it was Friday. it wasn’t until i zipped out to head to work and turned the corner out of my apartment building and walked past the open door of the firehouse next door, already setting up for the day’s events at 8am, that i realized just what today is.
today marks the 14th commemoration of the World Trade tragedy on 9/11/01, a day that most, if not all of us, remember in vivid detail. i know i can tell you the exact sequence of events in my life that morning, as a junior in college in upstate NY, where our morning class professor came in very distraught and broke the news of this horrific event to a classroom full of blurry-eyed students who had no idea what he was talking about. i remember a girl from my class running out in shock and near-hysteria when he told us, because her dad worked in one of those buildings. i remember going back to my dorm room in a confused daze and talking to my roommate/best friend, whose brother lived and worked in downtown Manhattan and miraculously overslept his alarm that morning to miss a meeting in one of the WTC towers. i remember the shock and the uncertainty and the fear and the subsequent rush to leave campus, as most of our families wanted us home, where they knew we were safe.
but mostly, i remember how proud i was, despite the terrible event, to be a New Yorker — to have grown up in New York, even if i was a couple hours away from NYC — and experience the unity and outpourings of support and love that ensued. i remember us all checking in with our loved ones and friends, and having people from other states reach out to us; i remember long talks about not taking a single day for granted and recognizing we’re not invincible and loving the people we love so hard while we can; i remember prayer meetings and church services dedicated to healing for this city and the countless number of people affected by this event. i remember the fear, yes, but above all else, i remember the sense of belonging; of experiencing humanity at its most vulnerable, broken and on its knees, and still finding a way to lift its collective gazes and choose faith & love in the midst of the unthinkable.
i remember feeling so fortunate, so loved, so protected in my own life. i remember believing — knowing — that prayer really does work, and healing can –and will — happen, even when it seems impossible.
today, i live in this incredible, magical city that underwent that tragedy, and for the past 5 years, i’ve worked directly across the street from where the towers stood. today, there’s a beautiful memorial & park resurrected in that spot, and its become a sacred, special place in the heart of a bustling downtown. my office even has a conference room called the Memorial Room, with a view of this memorial, which has become a special room for our company since we moved to a new building last summer.
there’s a lot to be proud of as a New Yorker. our city truly is one of the most wonderful places on this planet, with so many secrets to discover and adventures to be had. as i sit here at my desk and look out my window at the Statue of Liberty, i’m reminded of how much i have to be thankful for, and how much love New York has received.
i always feel compelled to pray for my city. today, even as i voice my own silent prayers, i can feel others around New York and the United States and this great big world all doing the same.
and i know i will never forget this feeling, either.