Living in New York City has forever changed my perspective on the 9/11 attacks. There is an indescribable energy and sense of community in this city that you do not fully experience until you build your life here. I can’t even begin to fathom how that energy shifted on September 11, 2001.
“The President announced that Friday was a National Day of Prayer. Our Social Studies class gathered in a circle at 12pm, held hands, and everyone bowed their heads. That was awesome. But the truth is, I’m scared.” – Journal, September 14, 2001
I was reading back through old journal entries from that day and the days and months to follow. I was only thirteen at the time, in the eighth grade, and I was scared for our nation. I visited NYC for the first time with my parents five months later, and we went to ground zero.
“There wasn’t much wreckage left. We got to see all the mementos people left on the fence around the construction site. There was a slightly different smell and feel in the air.” – Journal, February 9, 2002
I moved to NYC last November and finally went to the 9/11 Memorial a few weeks ago. It was an incredibly emotional and sickening experience. In fact, it was too much for me to handle all in one visit, but I look forward to going back sometime soon. What you realize when you live in this city is how close everyone is not only physically but also emotionally. The community here is like a set of dominoes. When one shifts the others follow suit, altering the collective energy. I imagine on September 11, 2001 that as the Twin Towers fell and people fell, NYC fell with it. Not in defeat, never in defeat, but in reverence.
Today is my first 9/11 in NYC. As I reflect on the impact of the attacks that happened fourteen years ago, I’m awe of the resilience and strength of this community, and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be a part of it.