We Were All New Yorkers

INto Harlem

On September 11, 2001 I was living in Los Angeles with my daughter who was 8 years old at the time.   My alarm is NPR’s Morning Edition,  and I awoke to news that the first plane had hit the first tower.   Stunned, I did my best to stay calm and not scare my daughter with what had just happened.  In my mind, I was in a bit of a panic.  I worked in downtown LA at a homeless shelter.  Would that area be targeted?  Is every major city at risk?  My concern led me to stay home from work that day – I was not going to take the chance of putting myself in harm’s way.  I called in sick.  My daughter’s school was going to be open as usual, and I thought it would be better for her to be in her normal routine while I stayed home and processed the horrific events as they unfolded that day.  I had to wrap my head around this dark reality and I had to somehow explain this to her.  But first, I had to contact all my friends and family in New York and make sure they were okay.  The only thing was, I felt like each and every person I saw on the television; all the victims, all the heroic first responders, anyone there, was my family.  From my living room in Los Angeles that day, I was a New Yorker.  Those of us who were removed physically from the three sights:  World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93 crossing over Pennsylvania were there with the thousands of people suffering from these terrible tragedies.  Never before had I felt so connected to America.

Now, ten years later, both my daughter and I are New Yorkers – living and working in this incredible city.  Who would have known that would be the case on this 10th anniversary?  I can only say that I’m proud to walk the streets of New York, to participate in the fabulous culture and everyday life here and to witness the humanity that is shared among this city’s people.  The  Ground Zero Memorial and Museum is an honorable reminder that almost brings comfort in the water’s flow.  The memorial opens tomorrow, September 12th to the public.  The museum will open in 2012.

My heart is heavy.  I continually pray for the enlightenment of all those lost on that day.  I truly hope they are in a state of absolute bliss.  I pray for their families and friends.  It’s rare to run into someone who didn’t have a connection somehow to someone lost that day.  With a sense of unity and support I send my love out to this beautiful city of New York, and to those in Washington D.C., and to those who lost family and friends on United Airlines flight 93.  Let’s continue to look out for each other.  Life is fragile and precious.  Like all of you, I will never forget.

Ground Zero Memorial from the Architect\’s Perspective


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