18 Miles East of WTC

Date Submitted: 09/22/2010
Author Info: Joseph (Massapequa Park - USA) 
Occupation: Education/Training
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: Yes

What a beautiful morning. I mean the sky was so blue, I was teaching elementary school after teaching at the high school level for a few years, my daughter was going to be 6 months old in 2 days, and I was still drinking my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. I remember thinking life is good.

I actually hadn’t started to teach yet since I push into the regular teacher’s classrooms. I was working on preparing my schedule when a custodian came into my office and said “a plane crashed into the WTC”. I said “man, don’t kid around about something like that” and he said “I’m not kidding”.

We both went to an office with a TV and watched the horror play out. I tried calling my wife at home but couldn’t get through. I remember slamming the phone down in anger. All I thought about was my daughter and wife. I called my mom and she was crying. Parents were picking up their children from school.

It turns out my wife and daughter went for a walk through a nature preserve near our home. Weird, that they left for a walk and by the time they returned, life had changed so much.

Many of my students lost parents that day. For weeks after you would be driving and then come to a halt as funerals would pass by…you knew it was 9-11 related…many times there were NYC fire trucks with flags flying,and we lived on Long Island. Never got mad about the delay, no one did, we would just sit quietly in respect.

Many streets where I work and in my hometown have street signs dedicated to those that lived on that street but were killed on 9-11.

I remember when I was younger and in the military we would drive home from NC and I couldn’t wait until I saw the Towers…that meant I was “Home”. I think about taking my niece to the top of the towers a few years eariler and walking on the roof.

I will never forget how I would give my daughter a bottle at night in the days and months after, rocking in the chair in her room, with tears quietly rolling down my face, think how other fathers did the same thing with their own children who were killed that day.

I’m angry that I have to explain this day to my daughter who is now 9 years 6 months old.


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