9/11: A Reflection
I moved to New York City in May of 2000, a naive and very “green” 22 year old. I moved because I wanted to be an actress/singer/opera singer and to do that, I had to live in NYC. I lived with my 2 best friends, in Queens. Now, I know what you might be saying…Queens? Yes. We had a fabulous top floor rent controlled apartment and from my bedroom window, I had a pretty good view of the Manhattan Skyline. Our neighborhood wasn’t what is it now. It was dingy and kind of gritty, a lot of families lived on our street and it was very old-school New York! Living in the city, you grow up fast and I wasn’t an exception. It was the age of Sex and the City and drinking cosmos, wearing Manolo’s and shopping at Pat Fields Lower East Side Store came with the zip code!
The next year was something out of a story book!! While I was auditioning and performing, life was pretty amazing! Living in NYC really does something to your aurora that no other place can. It’s energy is electric..24/7. Everything about it, right down to tiniest light bulb in time square. It’s exactly what a 22 year old girl from Amish Country Pennsylvania was looking for!! I fell in love with the very first time I stepped foot off the Amtrak Train when I was 6 or so. And I never looked back!! I absolutely LOVE New York (I even got married there)!
My friends started a Theatre company and I was lucky enough to be involved in it. Our show opened on September 10th, 2001. We must have stayed up until 6am and then finally tumbled into bed for what we thought was going to be a long, well deserved rest. Around 9am our phones started to ring. We ignored them. but people kept calling. I finally picked up the phone and heard my mom yelling at me to stay inside and to not go anywhere. I remember being an idiot saying, “that’s ridiculous mom, it was just a fluke, I’m sure it’s not a big deal, besides, I have a voice lesson I have to go to and NYC doesn’t shut down for anything.” At that moment, I got out of bed and looked outside and saw the second plane coming down the island and crash into the second tower.
The rest of the story, I’m sure you’ve heard too many times to count. It’s a story that shouldn’t be forgotten and I can recall every single minute of that day and the days following. It’s forever etched in my memory. Everything that I saw, smelled, did and didn’t do. But what I really want to tell you right now it what human kind was like for months following the attacks in New York.
People were kind. People thought about others first. People took the time to ask questions, offer a hand and be there for a complete stranger. People cried for months on the train and strangers comforted them and cried with them. No one cared where you were from, what your bank account looked like, who you loved, what color your skin was or anything else. People just cared. They helped out anyone who needed help, whether it was to pay for their subway pass, help a mom carry the stroller up/down the subway steps, striking up a conversation with a complete stranger, offering a seat to someone on the train, sharing a taxi or just a friendly smile. It didn’t matter, because we were in this together. We would get through it together and we would overcome it together. While I would give anything for this tragedy to never have happened, to bring those back who we lost, I will never forget what we as humans are capable of when we come together and stop thinking of ourselves.
For the past 18 years those moments have stuck with me and while life can get bogged down in the little things and your kids don’t listen or people drive you crazy, I like to think back to that time I experienced a different world. We do not need to wait for another epic event like that to go back to respecting and caring for one another. We can and should do that right now!
We will never forget all of those brave heroes on the planes, in the towers and first responders. We will never stop remembering those bright souls whose lives were taken away from our world way too soon!!
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