From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
September 11, 2017
On each anniversary of September 11, 2001, 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?!” 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.
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….”
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 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….
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.
My young grandson and younger granddaughter, along with all children, can only imagine the world before 9/11/2001 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.
With gratitude to the first responders and other 9/11 heroes – and with hope – I can never forget. – Ann
“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
– Chinese Proverb
UPDATE July 30, 2019: Head of the executive branch signed bi-partisan 9/11 Victim Compensation bill: “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.”
9/11 Over the Years: PHOTO GALLERY