It is a day I will always remember -- 11 September 2001. I reached the main floor of my house from my upstairs bedroom, getting prepared to go to work. My father is attentively sitting in front of the tv, with the volume turned up, in the living room. Immediately, he tells me concernedly that the World Trade Center had just been hit by an commercial airplane. I join him in watching the television. Both of us are quiet -- shocked at what we are seeing. All the tv channels were covering the tragic events, as they unfolded, not knowing more were to come. The surreal scene of one of the WTC tower ablaze, lit up like a matchstick, is shown over and over again. The second WTC tower is soon to be hit. I pause, sit down, and try to get some semblance of what is unfolding.
After about an hour of watching the coverage, stunned and uncertain, I head off to work. No work was to be performed that day. It would be a day of talking to various people at work concerning the day's events and many of us sitting in front of our computer continually checking for any new news or updates. We hear later on the hit on the Pentagon and the fourth airliner crashing in a farm field in Pennsylvania. It is yet not known if these were the last of the attacks.
The day before, I had dropped off my two sisters and a sister's friend at SeaTac Airport. Along with a brother and his wife, they are headed to London for the start of a three-week guided bus tour of Western Europe. My concern was that there was not going to be commercial flights to the US for an extended period of time, way beyond their 3-week stay in Europe. I get assurance later that day that they are in London, aware of what has happened back in the US. They are a bit shaken also, but they are all fine. Their tour is to continue as scheduled.
Except for the early morning, most of the day is a blur. I remember the stir of all the people at work. The constant news chatter in television is to remain, not only that entire inauspicious day, but for several days more. The whole day is like an out-of-body experience. I wonder all day if this was really happening or just a dream. It was not a dream; it did happen. Although the United States has faced terrorist attacks before, this well coordinated set of attacks had been the boldest. Our nation will never be the same. The events of 9/11 forever changed the nation and its people. These tragic events also revealed the character and resolve of our nation -- countless examples of heroism, people stepping up to provide assistance and support, and the entire nation coming together as one.
I visited New York City last month. I went to see the grounds where the World Trade Center group of buildings once stood. Even on a rainy, late Sunday afternoon, construction was actively ongoing at Ground Zero.
In Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan near New York City's financial district, the sculpture "The Sphere" and a nearby eternal flame serve as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. The Sphere once stood in the middle of a plaza in the area between the WTC towers. The sculpture had been damaged by debris from the planes that were crashed into the buildings and from the collapsing skyscrapers.