You’d think after 15 years that this day would have gotten easier. For me and most everyone I know, the answer is no. It hasn’t. We remember. We mourn. We honor. We think about the innocent men, women and children who were killed that day on the American Airlines Flight 11 and Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 175 and Flight 193, at the Pentagon, and at the Twin Towers. We thank the brave men and women who helped and the many who lost their lives helping. Always.
I remember the day clearly, unfortunately like it was yesterday. I still grieve this day. At the time, I was teaching up in East Harlem at P.S.50. Around 9 AM (I was on a prep), we got an announcement saying that something happened and we were NOT to mention it to our students). That of course, made me want to figure out what happened. This was before I had a smartphone and no one watched streaming live video on a computer. I think I either turned on a radio or someone had a TV (my memory is a little fuzzy on that). My blood went cold, my younger brother worked right around the corner from the twin towers. I was able to get my mother on the phone, but not my brother. My mother didn’t know where he was. Luckily she reached him some time after that and he was okay. He had been running late that day when he heard Howard Stern saying there was a fire and he didn’t go in (he lived on 28th Street and 2nd Ave at the time).
During that day, we heard that several of our students lost parents in the Twin Towers. A few days later I heard that one of my friends from college, firefighter, John Tipping the third, lost his life. One of the adult children of my mother’s friends had worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. I had a good friend who was a first responder and he later died from complications from a lung disease.
John Tipping II for your sacrifice and so many of your brother firefighters, police officers and brave Americans who lost their lives. John was my neighbor Sophomore year at SUNY Oneonta and a great guy. He and his roommate used to live in our suite in MacDuff Hall, because they had no furniture and we kept our place stocked with food. We’d come home and find Johnny on our couch. While I hadn’t spoken to him since college, I’ll always remember his goofy laugh.
And thank you to my good friend Bill Foronjy, Jr. whose 30th birthday actually fell on 9/11 and was a first responder (and army), who ran up from Virginia to help with recovery efforts. Bill passed away on December 17, 2007 from a serious lung condition (Sarcoidosis) and left behind a wonderful wife. I think of Bill (we met at SUNY Oneonta in May of 1990 and he was someone that I used to be very close to) constantly and will always miss him. Always. It doesn’t get easier, but we can honor and remember.
9/11 – 15 Years Later. Has it Gotten Easier for Us?