It was a Tuesday, and I had class later that day. I was up already at around 8:30 am, and as was normal at that time, I went to the living room, and turned on the TV, going to the kitchen to start breakfast. Something in the newscast, however, was different; there was none of the usual high-impact, sensasionalist music used by Channel 7 News, instead there was a cable newscaster voice, from Fox News or CNN, I can’t remember. They were talking about something in New York. I went from the kitchen to the living room and sat on the couch, watching the images that would forvere be burnt in my mind. “A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.”
I’d never gone to NYC at that point, so I had no idea what the size, the scale of the Twin Towers was. When they said a plane, I thought a small jet, at best. Even the replay showing the plane hitting the tower didn’t really convey to me the scale of it all. Then they mentioned what kind of plane it was, an American Airlines passenger plane, and the horror dawned on me. It was about 8:50 am at this point, and I went to the room to wake up my girlfriend (now my wife).
“A plane crashed on the World Trade Center,” I said to her, three times before she registered it all. I left her getting up and went back to the living room. It was just after 9:00 am at that moment, and I saw, live on TV, the second plane hit the South Tower. At first I thought that it had been an accident, like pretty much the rest of America, but after seeing the second plane aim and go straight for the tower, the world as I knew it, as we all knew it, ended. I heard a gasp to my side, and turned just in time to hold my girlfriend, whose knees had just given.
For the next hour we sat transfixed, unmoving, watching history unfold in front of us: 9:45 am, a third plane crashes into the Pentagon; 10:05 am, the South Tower, the second tower hit, collapses, and with it us into the floor, crying; 10:10 am, a fourth plane crashes into a field in Pennsylvania.
We left the house shortly after this, my wife dropping me at the university for my class. Along the way we heard that the North Tower had also collapsed; we cried in the car, and we were not alone. The atmosphere in my classroom was one of utter confusion; we shared what info each of us had, and when the news came from the university president that classes were dimissed for the day, I took the bus home, and went back to the TV, where I remained for the rest of the day.
I will never forget that day, that horrible, fateful day, September 11, 2001. Four years later, though I just spent the day like it was just another day, this memory still plays in my head, and I feel a knot in my chest when I think about it. Nothing I can say really makes a difference, so I won’t even try.
May G-d bless and keep all those who perished on that fateful day. Four years later, I still cry for them.