It’s September 11th, 2018 and it’s a Tuesday. A day I wake up, look across the street to the 1 WTC building not far from my home and try to just continue. For some this is a day of remembrance, for others a day of pain and torment. For me, it’s Tuesday.
On Sept 11th, 2001 I worked at a publishing company located on Staten Island. I was listening to the Howard Stern show on my way as I drove along the Staten Island Expressway to the office. I heard between the laughs came a mention “Wow there was an accident at the World Trade Center.” My car had been driving in the opposite direction of Manhattan and I just started to notice smoke in the air in my rear windshield.
This was supposed to be just a normal day. I had just leased a new Nissan Sentra a few days before and was due to pick it up from the dealership later in the day. I had plans to call a girl I liked a lot later on and eventually wanted to meet up with my friend for a beer. None of that happened the way I expected.
By the time I walk into the office, the entire staff was huddled around the TV in the lobby. No one said a word as we watched the second plane smash into the Tower. A scream then filled the room along with a cry from a woman who I had never seen emote once prior to this day. Tears and phone calls were all anyone seemed to be involved with at the moment. The owner of the company I worked for sent us all home since the office building became a place the FBI had set up camp. We got back our offices a few days later, but we now knew who was on the 4th floor of the building that everyone was so secretive about before Sept 11th.
I got in my car to drive home. I watched more smoke billow into the air as I drove closer and closer in the direction of Manhattan. I started smelling the familiar scent of “burning” in the air since I had the windows open in the car. That morning was especially beautiful… the sky was a crystal blue and the air was slightly cool and crisp. It was the part of the year where you start thinking about baseball playoffs and the start of the NFL season. But all I could think about was, “Holy crap… doesn’t Marc that I went to Tottenville High School with work at the Trade Center?” I immediately grabbed my cell phone while driving and tried to call him. “All circuits are busy, please try your call again later.” I tried calling home to my Dad, same exact message.
I pulled up to our house and our neighbors all were sitting on their stoops, confused. I opened the door and walked in, my Dad was watching the footage on TV. I collapsed in front of the door and just said, “they killed so many people” and then started crying . My Dad was an ex-Marine and was prone to very direct responses, “Bush is gonna kill these fuckers.”
Later in the day, I saw my friend who I originally had planned to have a beer with. We went to the hospital and tried to give blood. They were at capacity. I called the girl who i had a crush on, I told her about how scary it was. How we could see the smoke from our house. The call was originally supposed to be about seeing each other, as we did just a few weeks before. Now we weren’t sure what was going on in the world. No one was really sure.
The new car? Well the person from the car dealership called me, he told me he couldn’t find his girlfriend and he needed to get back to me about the car. It was stuck in Brooklyn anyway after all the bridges and tunnels were closed by the City. I would pick it up on the 13th, but to a different sales person… my salesman took a few days off.
Some people I lived next door to didn’t come home, but their kids went on to graduate from High School that coming June. Those kids of my neighbors continued to grow and learn more about this world that took their family away. Marc that worked at the WTC was fine too, he didn’t go to work that day.
Life moved on after September 11th. Wars were started, lives were lost. Families were destroyed, new hope was born from it. To me, I try to think of this day as a Tuesday. Not because I want to forget what happened to the people but to forget the violence of this day. The sheer amount of death that happened on the soil of NYC, PA as well as other countries as a product of 9/11 cannot be understated. Between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we saw countless numbers of lives ended for very little benefit. To me, it’s a day in September now. It’s the day that Raybeez died in 1997, it’s the day I have to walk my dog, it’s a day I have to work. It’s just Tuesday now.