Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Eleven years ago today it was a beautiful Tuesday morning, much like today.  I was getting ready to meet my friend Missa in Genetics lab and I was running a bit late (per usual) when my phone started ringing off the hook.  It was my mom.  I ignored the first call, since I was trying to get out the door, but when the phone persisted I picked up.

My mom's voice was panic-stricken, "We're under attack.  Do you have to work today?  Don't go.  Don't go downtown today.  Don't go anywhere!  Stay on campus until we know what's going on."

"What are you talking about?"

She was frantic, "turn on the TV! A plane flew into the World Trade Center!"

At first I thought she meant Baltimore's World Trade Center, since she had told me not to go downtown.  I turned on the TV expecting to see that a small Cessna or something similar had hit the building downtown.

Obviously that is not what I saw.  I tuned in just after the second plane had hit, and like every other American I was glued to the TV from that moment on, watching in horror as the buildings crumbled, wishing and hoping that what I was witnessing wasn't really happening.  Wanting more than anything to have super power abilities and to be able to hold those buildings back up.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur.  I remember walking over to Loyola's campus.  Many of my friends there were from the NY/NJ area, and I just felt like I needed to be there, with them.  Many had family members working in the city, and spent hours on the phone, dialing and re-dialing desperate to get through, but hearing only a busy signal.

It was awful.

Last year, on the 10th anniversary, it seemed like you couldn't turn on the TV for a second without watching that replay of the buildings falling.  I hate watching it again and again.  It seems so unfair to the families of the people who lost their lives that day.  I would hate to watch the moment one of my loved ones perished.

But just because I don't ever want to re-live that day or that moment, doesn't mean I don't want to remember it.

Last year I wrote this blog post about how I explained 9/11 to Sadira.  She was curious.  She's not the kind of child that is satisfied with the answer, "I'll tell you when you're older."  I have to find a way to age-appropriately explain these tough things to her.  Because even though she wasn't alive when it happened, I want her to remember that it happened.

In February of this year, my friend Sandi and I took Sadie and her daughter Olivia to New York, and we got to visit the new 9/11 Memorial for the first time.  It was breathtaking, heartbreaking, and serene all at the same time.  And I wrote this blog post, aptly titled "remembering."

Last weekend, when Sadie and I trucked downtown for the Grand Prix, we watched from the Observation Deck on the top of the World Trade Center, Baltimore.  The very building I thought my mother was talking about when she called me shortly after the South Tower in NYC was struck.

In the front of the building is a large marble slab.  Atop the marble sits a large piece of one of the towers.  Twisted and mangled, it serves as physical evidence of what happened.  A means to remember.

Etched into the slab is a timeline of the events of 9/11/01.

And when you arrive to the 27th floor, observation level, there is a memorial to all of the Marylanders who lost their lives on 9/11/01.

When I think of 9/11 my heart aches for New York.  It's a city I love, have spent much time in, and the loss of life and devastation was immeasurable.  But I'm glad we have this Memorial here in Baltimore, at our own World Trade Center.  Something to remind us that this tragedy affects every single American, regardless of what state, city, suburb they live in.

It's important for us to remember. 

And it's important for my state to honor to 68 people who called Maryland home, and to let their families know, we will remember.


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