September 11, 2012

What I will never forget...

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Everyone has a 9/11 story.   I am going to tell you mine.  I have to say, the day did not start out great for me.  Everyone talks about what a beautiful morning it was, a seemingly perfect day...but a cloud had already set over our family even before the terrorists pricked our heart.

My dear Pop Pop, Dad's dad, had suffered from a stroke that summer and was in an assisted living down in his Florida town.  I was headed to class at Towson that morning, and before I left I looked at the Caller ID in our kitchen and saw that the assisted living had called, followed by a funeral home.  That wasn't a good sign.  Mom was upstairs, Dad was at work, I can't remember where Jonathan was...but I felt my world get small.  I called Mom down and she called to confirm what we already knew, Pop Pop had passed away. 

Pop was the sweetest, most selfless man ever.  He brought Notre Dame into our family, but I never saw him scream at the TV like Dad, Jonathan & Uncle Pat.  Every time he called me on the phone  he would say, "Geronimo!!!" like we used to do when he would take me to the playground as a kid on push me, or what I would scream as I jumped into their pool in Florida.  I miss him.

Anyways, that morning Mom called Dad at work to break the news to him and I decided to skip class, obviously.  We turned on the TV to distract ourselves, and there it was...smoke pouring out of the 1st tower that was hit.  My heart burst.  Why was one of the Twin Towers in my favorite city on fire...on top?  The news wasn't saying anything about terrorism yet, they were all trying to speculate what had happened exactly.  Then....BAM.  A plane hit the 2nd tower.  Then we realized a plane had hit the 1st one too.  It was all so fast and confusing.   Then the 3rd plane hit, and the 4th...and I remember we thought the world was ending.  My one Uncle works in NYC, the other worked in DC, we couldn't get a hold of either of them.  What a mess. 

That day was awful.  Grieving about Pop, grieving for the world, grieving for my beloved NYC.  Those towers being hit and eventually coming down felt like 2 old friends passing away.  All my trips to NYC since I was 10 included those towers.  I loved going to the top to observe the amazing views of the city.  Mom and I would always buy our Broadway tickets at the TKS counter in the lobby.  We used the subway to and from there as a launching point for exploration.  I loved shopping at the GAP in the mall underneath.  The first time I have ever eaten sushi was the restaurant on top.  The city STILL doesn't look right to me because they are gone.

It's nothing to what some others have gone through.  Like I said, everyone has a story and that is mine.  It may not seem tragic, but to me, it was a sad day.  I know for so many people in NYC, DC and PA, it was the worse day of their lives.  It was close for me. 

I love NYC.  I love the people who tried to save it, and who gave their lives to do so.  I love that our country was brought closer together, and I love that we got some of the bad guys.  I'll never forget. 

I'll leave you with a pic of me, taken when I was about 15, on top of the observation tower of one of the WTC.  I loved it there!!

Oh and also...PopPop, I miss you like crazy!