Photo taken Sept. 10, 2001 at 11:15am by Joseph Amello.
I moved to NYC on the 2nd of Sept. 2001. The morning of Sept. 11th I was in the lobby of my dorm when the woman at the security desk said ‘Watch this with me.’ Together we saw the 2nd plane fly into the World Trade Center.
In shock, I walked from 55th to 71st as sirens zoomed downtown. In the elevator I heard about the Pentagon. We used to joke that if the Pentagon got hit we’d all be dead because we lived so close. That’s when it all really hit me.
Walking back, strangers were hugging in the streets. At the dorm we took shots - they didn’t help. Military tanks closed the streets. I’ll never forget the smell of burnt flesh, the continuous sirens, the smoke. I wish I could say I did something heroic that day but I didn’t.
I ended up at a friend’s in Brooklyn. When my phone finally came back on it was an ex who sobbed that he thought I was dead. Another freshman who was certified Search & Rescue went down to help. Because he was so thin they had him crawling into small spaces others couldn’t reach. For months he came into our room in the middle of the night distraught from nightmares. (Last I heard he had serious lung problems, I don’t know if he’s still alive.) The Red Cross set up medical facilities for survivors - they went unused. Missing person posters plastered the city, remaining up long past hope. The next time I babysit, the 5yo was crashing planes into building blocks asking me why they did it.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Amongst the grief, sadness, anger, and fear that engulfed the city, there was also the profound awareness that we were united by the tragedy. There was a deep sense of love for each other, our fellow humans, everyone trying their best to survive and figure out how to live with something so horrific.
I’m really struggling to put into words the respect I have for those on the front line that day, my heartbreak for the families of those who died, those impacted to this day, and the love I have for the people of NYC. I will never forget. 🕯🕯🕯💔
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