On the way to the mall, there they were. Looking out of the window from the third floor of middle school, there they were. There was something majestic about the steel towers that reflected off the water while shining brightly over New York Harbor.
I never really thought about them not being. However, that changed 10 years ago as I stepped out of the shower and the images from New York showed smoke billowing out of one of the towers. I was frozen solid as the world tried to figure out exactly what was happening. As I continued to watch the TV, glued to the floor I wanted to believe that this was just some awful movie unfolding before my eyes.
But how and why would someone pull such a joke on one of America’s landmarks?
I think about that day and the Towers often, more so when I go home to New Jersey. Before September 11, 2001, I would smile and giggle when flying into any one of the three New Jersey/New York City airports as people clamored to try and get a view of the beautiful Statute of Liberty, Twin Towers and New York City skyline for a picture. For me, I didn’t need to see them, I just was glad to know they were there. In a weird way, they brought a sense of calmness over me as a child’s security blanket brings to them.
But now as I fly home things are different. Lady Liberty continues to stand with an arm stretched in the sky lighting the way to freedom, but the towers are no longer there. It seems weird to drive around my hometown and look up to not see them there. I know why they aren’t there, but I can’t help but to look for them hoping for just one more glance.
As we approach another anniversary of that fateful day 10 years ago, I often wonder what it was like in my New Jersey hometown. Did students jump up to see what they could from the window or were they glued to TVs like I was thousands of miles away?