Today marks the 8th anniversary of the tragic event that took place on 9/11/01. None of us will ever forget that day. It will be in the history books along with events like Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the first walk on the moon and many more. Each of us has our own story to tell about that day. Many of us probably knows someone who lost a loved one that day.
I would like to tell my story.
Sept. 11, 2001 started like any other day. I got up and went to work. I remember that the weather was beautiful that day. The skies so blue. I was at my desk on the phone with my boss, when a coworker said that a small plane just hit one of the towers. Knowing that my father sometimes had to go to the towers, I called him at work. Thankfully, he was working at the Lincoln Tunnel that day.
My father answered the phone and one of the first words out of his mouth were 'We're under attack'. I couldn't understand what he meant. He watched in horror as the first plane hit. He told me that it wasn't a small plane, as was first reported. While we were on the phone I heard 'Holy Shit'. He said a plane just hit the 2nd tower. He had to go. We didn't really have a close relationship, but I managed to tell him that I loved him.
I emailed my sisters and my mother letting them know that my father was ok and was at the tunnel. I guess an hour later (not 100% sure of the time) I called him again. This time, one of the secretaries answered the phone. I told her who I was. She told me that my father had gone over to the Towers to help with rescue and to bring generators over, as he did in 93. So, I emailed my family to let them know where he was.
I remember hearing that the Pentagon was hit and that a plane went down in Pennsylvania. But I will never forget when that first tower fell. I sat in front of a TV at my office watching it. Life was in slow motion. I feared for my father's life. Then the 2nd tower fell. I remember just crying, clinging to my middle sister (we worked together). Our father was there. He was in that rubble. He was dead.
I asked my mother to call my Grandmother's house. Thankfully, my uncle was there at the time. She told him that my father was at the towers when they collapsed. We wanted him to know because we knew that we were going to have to tell my Grandmother that she just lost her eldest son.
I couldn't bring myself to leave the office. If my father had survived, I thought that he would call me at work. I know my co-workers were thinking that I was just fooling myself into believing he was OK. But I just couldn't leave…. What if he needed me? Clearly he would call me at work since that's where I was when we last spoke.
Hours went by, but I can't remember exactly how many. It was probably only 3, but it felt like forever. My desk phone rang. It was my mother. My uncle had called her to tell her that he got a phone call from my father! He was alive!!! He got held up at the tunnel and never made it to what was now Ground Zero.
Because my father works for the Port Authority of NY/NJ, he lost many friends and co-workers that day. As a nation, we grieved for the losses, but I know that my family celebrated what was 'returned' to us.
My family got a 2nd chance that day. Since then, my sisters & I have established wonderful relationships with our dad. There is not a day that goes by that we don't tell each other that we love one another. God gave us our father that day. The father we were meant to have.
I will always remember the men & women who lost their lives that day. Many of them died as heroes. Their families are continuously in my thoughts and prayers - especially Joe Navas, PAPD, William McGinn, FDNY & Jeremy Glick, Flight 93.