Where were you?
|Things that once were…|
I was at work. In fact, I had taken a break and was visiting a favorite site – Cooking Light Message Boards. Someone posted that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers.
I thought maybe it was one of those traffic choppers or small planes. I never thought of an airliner among those buildings. And I never thought of it being done deliberately.
The news came in, worse and worse. Strikes at the Pentagon, a plane downed in Pennsylvania in an act of true heroism…
A dear friend worked near the WTC: she was safe, thank God, but it scarred her for a long time.
The images that came out of that day – the rescue workers going up the stairs as the people came streaming down. The rescuers, the protectors. The heroes.
I will say now that I never watched the footage of the plane hitting the tower. I somehow missed it that first day and the next two. I wasn’t avoiding it. The timing was wrong. And then someone posted it, and I saw the plane take a turn, head toward the tower – I switched off the video. I did not need to see it, and I did not need to see the film of the tower going down. Not that I am squeamish: my line of work – what I do to put bread on the table – has given me a very strong stomach.
No, I didn’t want to give those villains any further…what? credit for their villainy? Fear? I stopped puzzling about it.
Some years later I went to New York on business. I had not realized what a hole the absence of The Towers left in the sky. They had always been a sort of beacon for me. My first time in NYC, decades ago, I had gotten lost in a snowstorm. I needed to find the WTC so that I could go into the subway there. But I couldn’t read the street signs (covered with snow). A passer-by, hearing that I was lost and looking for the Towers, smiled and pointed. And there they were against the winter sky, welcoming me.
That presence was gone. I was disoriented. I paused at The Battery – you can see the Statue of Liberty there – and strolled through the park. And I came upon a battered hunk of bronze that looked somehow familiar.
It was the globe that sat in the plaza at the World Trade Center. I had passed it many times. Battered, broken… How strange to see it.
Where were you?