|September 11 impressed upon us that life is a precious gift. --Senator Bill Frist|
I took a walk today. Under a sky of blue and in the warm autumn mist, I leashed my small dog E and together we walked the Kensico Dam Plaza, the entire time all I could do was think, I remember.
17 Years Ago, I remember...
It was a sunny, feel-good-all over morning where the sun shone brightly and people all around me were innocently going about their daily lives. I sat at my desk, sipping coffee, typing, jotting reminders, answering phones, and working my job as an admin assistant wanting to get an early jump on my work day, while my bosses got settled in their offices. Computers were a new thing in our office back then, and often I clicked on the icon at the bottom of my computer screen to check the news or weather. This was a no-no and I knew that I was breaking the rules, but I did it anyway. And that's when I saw it.
It was a live transmission of a burning building with a gaping hole in it. I blinked. I couldn't believe what it was I was looking at. I thought it was a sick cartoon. I rushed into my boss's office, set his computer up and showed him. Next thing, we are witnessing a plane crashing into a second tower. In a matter of seconds, there was a buzz on the office floor and within a short time, it had rapidly spread throughout the entire building, all 17 floors.
I rushed to my desk to contact my husband and my son. Ed was traveling on business, due to take a United Airlines flight from JFK to Chicago, I wasn't sure if he was already in the air and if he was safe. G, my son, was working as an electrician's apprentice in the World Trade Center. I dialed their cell numbers. Nothing.
At the same time, my other manager rushed into his office. I could hear him dialing his phone. He was frantic. He was trying to reach his daughter who had just graduated college, and after spending the summer in Hong Kong visiting family to celebrate, cut her trip short to start her new job on the 86th floor at the World Trade Center. He said, "Linda, she went in early," determined to make a good impression on her first day of work.
A woman on the 11th floor rushed to her desk, calling to locate her nephew. He worked in the World Trade Center.
All along the corridors, people were dialing their phones.
The list was growing fast.
The circuits were jammed. And the look of panic was everywhere.
The announcement came: All bridges, roads, highways, and airports are closed. Busses have stopped running. Trains, too.
We were dismissed early. But how to get home?
That afternoon, standing in my driveway gazing into the horizon as low-flying fighter jets taking off from Westchester County airport roared overhead, I felt their thunder, and I realized the gravity of what had transpired less than 20 miles south of where I lived.
Today, I remember the victims. I honor their memory. May we never forget. I wish their families, loved ones, friends, and everyone affected a world of prayers, peace, love, and hope.
See you in print,
Linda Della Donna
Setting up for the 9/11 Memorial Services held at Kensico Dam Plaza.