I will never forget September 11, 2001 . It was a Tuesday morning . I was on my way to work thinking about my son’s birthday, which would be the following day, as well as the busy day ahead. Shortly before 9am EST the radio announcer stated that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, which was alarming in and of it’s own merit , however , this was swiftly followed by a second news report that another plane had flown into the second tower .
I rushed into the office and turned on my employers television where I was horrified by the images that I saw. As the rest of the staff filtered in we all watched absolutely transfixed by the events unfolding in front of us .
I will insert here that I do reside in the NYC area and that later that morning as the towers fell we stood out on the main street where the sky was full of ash , smoke and scent. Gray skies indeed.
This was a day of great panic as I had a child in school in PA where another plane had gone down. At that time, I was not familiar with the proximity of that location to where my child was . I had friends and family working at the Pentagon and in the WTC. My uncle was a NYC firefighter , out on disability from work related injuries at that time. I have to admit that I prayed he would not feel the obligation to go into Manhattan that day.
All the entire staff wanted to do was go home, as the majority of us were mothers and it was a place and time where we wanted to be with our families, because that day none of us were aware of what exactly was transpiring. There was pandemonium , in general.
I think about my Muslim co -worker and the guts she must have had to tough it out that . I give her a great deal of credit . We reside in a very white and often judgmental area and I know that she was subjected to looks and comments based solely on where she came from .
I told our employer that no patients would show up that day ( we generally saw about 40 people on a Tuesday ) and I was relatively certain that dental appointments would not be forefront in anyone’s mind. We had one patient show up that day , and she was a mother whose son was a first responder . She just wanted to be with other people . We ended up being at work until 7pm that night .
There were many people in our area who perished that day, including several of our patients .There were many others who would be affected . Months later, a patient was speaking to me ( I am the type of person that people feel they can open up and tell me any and everything …and you can) about how he worked across the street and how he witnessed many people jumping to their death out of the WTC. These images were etched in his mind and it was evident that the trauma was deep inside of him . Although I would that job of 20+ years in 2004 I still think about that man every year on this date and wonder if he is okay.
I don’t believe that many of us will ever forget the images, the fear or the uncertainty of that day. We all changed forever in many ways. There was a void in the skyline and in our hearts but New Yorker’s are resilient and strong