From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
September 11, 2017
- On each anniversary of September 11, 2011, but not only on each anniversary, I remember the events of that day and how they’ve changed our world.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we were a week or so into the new school year at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore, Long Island. Except for our class computers suddenly losing internet access early that morning, it began as an ordinary Tuesday.
Merrick, New York, USA. Sept. 11, 2012. LYLA WILLIAMS, 3, and KATE OLLENDIKE, 2, help place 500 luminary bags (votive candle in each bag will be lit at dark) in front of 215 Wenshaw Park homes, by Wenshaw Park Civic Association, Long Island, to raise funds for Twin Towers Orphan Fund. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
Then, as students passed from one class to another, a few of my writing students came in announcing news they’d heard on the radio in art class: “Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers!”
“What?!” I said. “Well… one plane might have that sort of accident, but not two – the same day. Someone must’ve heard the info wrong.”
But, over the loudspeaker later that morning, our principal, Fino Celano, gave us the news – calmly, solemnly – of the terrorist attacks on Manhattan’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon… then the plane crash in the Pennsylvania field. No one had heard the info wrong.
East Meadow, NY, USA. March 31, 2012. At fundraiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer – battling cancer after months of recovery efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11 2001 Twin Towers attack – are, L-R, in front row: son TERRENCE, daughter TAYLOR , wife CARYN, and, in back row: RAY PFEIFER, and Congressman PETE KING, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
When I got home from school that afternoon, the tile floors our construction workers had ripped up from the kitchen and surrounding rooms the day before were more scattered than stacked. We were replacing our radiant in-floor heating, and the ground floor looked “like a bomb went off” – though I felt guilty even having that thought.
So the night of September 11, 2001, my husband Len, my older daughter Sue and I ate dinner at a local cafe.
Throughout the meal we watched the news coverage of the attacks on the TV up in the corner, and whispered “Nightmare… surreal… oh my god….”
Manhattan, NY, USA. March 17, 2009. Marching in St. Patrick’s Day Parade, FDNY firefighter LUKE ALLEN displays on his hat a photo of his older brother firefighter RICHARD D. ALLEN, one of 343 FDNY firefighters killed responding to terrorist attacks on Twin Towers Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2009 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
My younger daughter Laurie was at college in Westchester. During one of our calls later that week, I told her I wanted to get her a cell phone, especially because of her trips between college and home.
Though she didn’t think she needed one, by the end of the call she understood that her mom really needed her to have one.
Merrick, New York, USA. Sept. 11, 2011. Removing American Flag to reveal monument made with steel from World Trade Center, at Merrick Post #1282 American Legion 10th Anniversary of 9/11 ceremony, are (L-R) Rabbi PAUL KIRCHNER; Father ERIC FASANO; Adjutant ROBERT TOM RIORDAN, PCC; and North Merrick Fire Dept. Ex. Chief HENRY HINRICHS at Merrick Veterans Memorial Park. (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
Our neighbors across the street lost their son who worked in the Twin Towers.
A Grand Avenue coworker lost her first responder firefighter husband, and two of our students lost their fathers.
During lunch period, a fellow teacher told us how ever since 9/11 he was having nightmares about being trapped underground.
And American flags multiplied everywhere, and so did patience and kindness. I didn’t notice a car horn honking for at least a year.
And we also had color-coded terrorism threat advisories….
Manhattan, NY, USA. January 9, 2012. Movie poster EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is displayed lit at night over Penn Station subway entrance with Empire State Building in background. Fictional movie is set at time of 9/11 terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in NYC. (© 2012 Ann E Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
Since 2001 our country and many others continue to have terror threat alerts — for events, buildings, airlines & metros, cities….
And I do feel a bit reckless, a tiny bit brave, heading to Manhattan when a terror alert’s been issued.
Bellmore, New York, USA. Sept. 10, 2011. North Bellmore Fire Department 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and unveiling of two pieces of steel from World Trade Center added to existing 9/11 monument. (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
My young grandson and younger granddaughter, along with all children, can only imagine the world before 2001 through images and stories that grow older as they do.
And I can barely begin to imagine the feelings and pain of those killed, injured, struck with cancer, and of those who lost loved ones, due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
But with gratitude to the first responders and other 9/11 heroes, and with hope, I will never forget.
click to view slideshow: 9/11 Over the Years
East Meadow, NY, USA. Sept. 10, 2017. Four birds fly over Twin Towers steel sculpture at Eisenhower Park 9/11 Monument. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)
“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb