Remembering September 11th

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On this day 18 years ago I was living on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I was in college for dance and was still drowning in grief from my father’s unexpected death 10 months prior. The morning of September 11th my roommate came into my room and shook me awake, “a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center!” We were in shock. Total disbelief. We couldn’t get a signal to our TV so we went to the apartment next door and watched the events unfold. We watched the 2nd plane hit the tower on live TV.

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While 18 years have passed, I still have some very vivid memories from that day and the weeks that followed. That morning we walked up to 2nd Avenue and looked South and saw a giant cloud of black smoke. I heard and saw fighter jets flying overhead. For a while, we feared the island might be under attack. Later that day, I saw people who had walked miles from the WTC to the Upper East Side with black/grey soot on their faces and clothes. That evening, I went to our neighborhood bar (no one wanted to be home) and met a man who worked at the WTC. He was running late to work that day. He should have been at his desk when the plane hit. All of his co-workers were lost that day. That week, I stood in line for hours to give blood. The city was covered with missing person posters. I remember walking past the fire houses and seeing flowers and signs of remembrance for the lost heroes. I remember how quiet the normally loud streets were. No one honked. People looked each other in the eye. The tragic loss of that day brought the city together in a way that was palpable. We were all in pain. We were all buried in our grief. We stood together. We knew we were stronger together. We cried. We had nightmares for months. I will never forget. Never.

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Today I send love to those who lost loved ones. Today I give myself a hug too, as this tragedy is a larger reminder of all that I had lost that year. My sweet Father. I remember feeling like the whole world was grieving with me. Today we must continue to fight for PEACE & LOVE. Always Remember. 

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Elizabeth Marberry