Twenty years ago, I emerged from the IRT #2 subway line at Fulton Street to what could only be described as a perfect day, blue skies, not a cloud to be seen except it wasn’t a perfect day; it was a day of unbelievable horror. I remember standing on Fulton Street, staring at the towers only a few blocks away, smoldering. I remember running when the first tower collapsed and a dust cloud came roaring down Fulton Street. I remember standing on the FDR Drive only a short time later watching the second tower collapse and with tears in my eyes, turning to a colleague who also had tears in their eyes and muttering the words, my God, how many people do you think were in that building. Evil and hatred took so many from us that day, but for those of us who lived through the horror of that day, we also remember how we all came together for each other. Black or white, male or female, it didn’t matter; religious or sexual orientation was irrelevant. It was the best of humanity showing itself in the face of those who knew only hatred. It was as if we were saying; even if we didn’t realize it, hate could not define us. We are all in this together. We are all one people. Today on the 20th anniversary of that horrible day, let us remember how we bonded together, how for one moment we understood we are all human. Let us hope one day that moment can be every moment.
As a New Yorker who worked blocks away from the WTC, I will never forget that day 19 years ago. A day that started out so beautiful, not a cloud in the sky and quickly turned so tragic. The sadness in my heart that day for the countless innocent lives so tragically taken from us remains to this day.
The respect I had that day for the hundreds of first responders who without a second thought rushed into the danger to rescue others and paid the ultimate price with their lives remains today. It has been said “Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the power they are graced with.” The first responders that day were heroes
The pride I had for my fellow New Yorkers and their response to the worst day in its history remains to this day. We truly were New York Strong, shaken but not broken we have risen from the ashes of that tragic day.
19 years later and still the hate that took so many from us remains, some may say it is even greater. Let us never forget 9/11/2001 and pray that as a people we will one day vanquish that hate and truly be able to say it will never happen again.