11 September 2010

9/11: Seeing it again

We saw it all again today, just as we saw it in 2001, via FoxNews.

The first plane, the second plane, the ash-covered crowds running through the streets, the thick smoke billowing through Manhattan, the fall of the towers, the Pentagon hit and the Shanksville crash.

At around 3pm on September 11, 2001, we had just returned from a Tel Aviv-area funeral to the mourners' Ramat Gan home. There's seven-hour time difference between New York and Tel Aviv.

It was a normal shiva call - as if these can be considered normal - until the son's teenagers came running out of a bedroom, shouting, "Something's happened in New York. Turn on the television." He resisted - television is not part of the mourning ritual - but the kids insisted.

Everyone in the room saw the plane slam into the second tower. An entire houseful of people sat there in stunned silence as we watched those tragic events continue to unfold.

I remember asking if it wasn't a movie, that the special effects were really good. We soon realized it was not a movie scene. If it only had been.

We all tried to reach family and friends in New York. The lines were continuously busy, as was to be expected, but we finally got through to a few people. Everyone we called was okay, but some had harrowing stories.

My niece had gone to school in Brooklyn Heights. Her father, who worked in Wall Street, walked across the bridge to pick her up. They walked back again and nearly all the way to their Upper West Side home. From the windows of the school, the students - some of whose parents worked and perished in the World Trade Center - watched the events as they happened.

Others told us of ferry trips - termed escapes - to New Jersey and Staten Island later that day.

Our daughter - then in Barcelona - had ducked into a bar to see what all the commotion was about. The patrons offered their sympathies. Little did they know - only a few years later - that Madrid would be the site of what Spain calls its own 9/11.

Many more stories would not be told for days.

None will be forgotten.

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