I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about what to say on this 10th anniversary of 9/11. Nothing I came up with seemed nearly eloquent or thoughtful enough.
Catherine was 5 when our world was suddenly changed forever. She remembers being afraid during lockdown at the International School at Dundee in Riverside, not fooled by her teacher’s calm, storytime demeanor.
Several miles away in The Advocate newsroom in Stamford, I was one of a handful of people at work, proofreading Food stories for the next day’s edition. We stopped working briefly to look at the TV coverage of the first plane, but like so many others, figured it was simply an awful accident. I conjured old reports about the small plane that ran into the Empire State Building years ago and went back to work.
Of course, news of the second plane changed everything. The Food pages quickly became leftovers. One of my colleagues arrived in a state of panic: Her husband worked at the World Trade Center. She couldn’t reach him and feared the worst. Another colleague and I took her home; she was in no condition to drive. Thankfully, he was fine. His morning meeting had been moved back by 30 minutes and he had gone across the street to get a cup of coffee.
In Features, we didn’t cover the breaking news in the same way the folks across the newsroom did, but we helped to create a platform for community discussion, reaction, outreach and attempt at understanding. Among other things, we published hundreds of poems, pictures and essays by school kids in the days and weeks following the tragedy.
All these years later, Catherine asks questions I cannot answer:
How could people do that to each other?
In attempting to shape answers, we talk about the hope and unity that emerged from that horrible day, about how important it is for us to remember and to make sure that we honor the sacrifices of so many that day by focusing on those positive things.
Yesterday, she and Basil went to Ground Zero, where she took the picture above of the many ribbons of remembrance tied to the fence near the Trade Center site.
It says more than I could ever convey about that terrible day and its aftermath.