never forget

I had just gotten out of the shower, wrapped my large bright yellow towel around myself and stepped out of the bathroom into the chilly apartment. I had three missed calls on my cell phone.

As I went to check who it was it rang again. A friend from Long Island. I hesitated. I didn’t want to be late for class but I picked up.

He had been on his roof and saw smoke coming from the city – it was a clear day, no clouds. I had to turn on the TV now. What channel? The news, any channel, it doesn’t matter just turn a TV on.

Clutching my towel, I padded into the living room, still tired, and flicked on the TV.  Explosions. Fire. A plane on loop over and over flying into the World Trade Center. And as the footage pans across the city sky, a second plane. Another one. How?

In a stupor, I got ready and went to campus. I didn’t know what else to do. It was a ghost town, people walking across campus dazed or crying, and some unaware. Classes were cancelled.  People walking around, trying over and over to call loved ones on their cell phones. I went back to my apartment, and not long after watched the towers collapse, the Pentagon crashed into, the crash in a field in Pennsylvania.

I don’t remember most of the conversations I had that day. I remember the panic, making phone calls, ensuring high school friends living in the city were okay.

A few weeks later, as I was driving to Long Island to visit my mother, I saw the gaping hole in the skyline, the clouds of dust still hovering, the impromptu memorial in my own town for those who had been lost in the towers.

Every year, there is new footage, new facts, new interviews.  I find myself watching the events of that day from 11 years ago over and over, year after year. And every year, the same disbelief, the same tears, the same fierce patriotism burning.

The firefighters.

The police.

The medical personnel.

The pilots and stewardesses.

The construction workers.

The men and women in the towers, planes, Pentagon.

The military that has given their lives to protect us.

All loved ones to someone.

Thousands of souls lost.

I will never stop praying. I will never feel ashamed for being maudlin on 9/11.

I will never forget.