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.
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?… Well, one plane might have that sort of accident, but not two …. the same day,” I said. “Someone must’ve heard the info wrong.
But, a bit later that morning over the loudspeaker, 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.
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 system, 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 restaurant. 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….”
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.
Our neighbors across the street lost their son who worked in the Twin Towers.
A Grand Ave. coworker lost her first responder firefighter husband, and two of our students lost their fathers.
During lunch period, a fellow teacher told how, ever since 9/11 he was having nightmares about being trapped underground.
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 had terrorist alerts of various colors….
And we have alerts for specific buildings, events, cities. And sometimes it feels a bit reckless or brave to go to Manhattan.
I can’t imagine the experiences of those killed, injured, struck with cancer, and of those who lost loved ones, due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
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
“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb