By: Shawn Davis
When ten years pass it shouldn’t feel like such a short amount of time but that’s what happens on a day like today. We all know what happened so I’ll try my best not to touch on the heinous details. As it has been documented, the morning of September 11, 2011 was a beautiful, sunny day with no clouds in sight.
I woke up relatively late that morning as I spent the previous evening (and early hours of the morning) playing video games. Since I decided to take the semester off – a few weeks prior – I didn’t really have anything planned for the day. I turned on the television and then went to brush my teeth. After I was done, my cousin, Moon, asked if I saw what happened on the news. I said “no” and he continued with “a plane just hit the Twin Towers.” I placed my things on my bed and returned to his room where we watched the coverage – then the second plane struck. I vividly remember asking him if we were watching a “movie trailer or something” and he looked at me while shaking his head.
It was real!
“What the fuck is going on?” I said. Silence. How could my cousin respond? How could I? How could anyone for that matter?
I started to worry about my sister, Darlene, and friend, April, because they went to school in lower Manhattan– in close proximity to the World Trade Center. As I dressed to leave the house, my boy Justin came to see if I was aware of what the hell was going on. We both walked through our neighborhood and the atmosphere was solemn and crestfallen as everyone was disheveled. Some locals were going back-and-forth to the rooftops of the 20-story buildings that populate the housing development giving their own reports of what was happening across the river.
There was a weird solidarity as people I didn’t speak to – for several reasons – stopped me to exchange pounds (or give me a five, if you don’t know what a “pound” is) and chat about what was happening to Manhattan and our country, for that matter. I remember some of the seniors expressing their concerns that planes would hit other states and landmarks where massive amounts of lives could be taken. Surreal…it was.
Back at my apartment, my sister left me a voicemail on my answering machine (Remember those?) telling me to come to the house as she was watching television and she, April and Vanna – someone very dear to me – were all safe. As I got to her place, we hugged tightly for over a minute and then sat to see what else was going on. It was soon confirmed that two other planes went down at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, respectively.
I remember like it was yesterday. It was TEN YEARS AGO.
Later that evening, I was relieved once I knew that all the people in my circle were fine. My brother/best-friend/other half (you get the point), Brian, actually was on the train earlier that day going into the city…for an appointment in lower Manhattan. He was on the train when the attacks began, and the conductor was instructed not to cross the Williamsburg Bridge so all the passengers were told to exit the station. There were fears that our bridges were targets as well – and they were legitimate.
Everyone wanted to help in some way and Mayor Giuliani pleaded with the public – in the outer boroughs, mostly – to stay away from Manhattan until they could get things under control in the area. It made complete sense as an influx of people at a disaster site, without a line of command, would do nothing but cause confusion.
I was in my apartment, watching television and I was restless. My thought was to play a video game or something but I didn’t want to so I went down to see what Justin was doing. He was watching tv because he felt like “there was nothing else to do but watch.” Footage was shown of a man – above where the plane entered one of the towers – who made the choice to jump, fully aware that a rescue was too dangerous even for the rescue contingent on-site. The camera showed him looking down and then turning his head back into the building before looking down once more…and jumping; the camera panned down and the clip was interrupted by the news anchor. I was done. I went back to my place.
As an American, I hope that our country has learned that war really has no boundaries. I hope that the intelligence community quits their bureaucratic posturing, bickering and thirst for credit to focus on SHARING all relevant information between agencies to make sure this never happens again. We possessed detailed information on the hijackers and their connection to Bin Laden and then sat on it while the terrorists made a mockery of our defenses. I hope something like this never happens again. It cannot happen again.
I’m so sorry for anyone that lost a cherished one a decade ago and also anyone that was lost in the World Trade bombing in ’93. A deep “thank you” to all the first responders, police, iron-workers and other laborers on the scene, and infinite gratitude to all those in the military and the fire department. You guys are superheroes!
U-S-A, the home of the BRAVE.