On 9/11/2001 I was 4 or 5 years old. I was really young but I can still remember that day pretty vividly. It started out like any normal Tuesday, but I was really excited because it was my first day of kindergarten. I remember being disappointed that my mother had an early meeting at work and couldn’t go in late, so that I could have both parents see me off to school. My brother had been born a few months before, so my mom was just getting back to work and that day was her first major meeting after coming back from maternity leave, so she really couldn’t skip.
My mom worked in Lower Manhattan at the time, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center, so she would take the subway or the PATH train to the station right underneath the towers. Her meeting was uptown that day, so she took a different train to a different place. I am terrified of what would have happened had her meeting been cancelled last minute and she had gone to her regular office. Once she got to the office, it had just happened a few minutes ago and news stations were just starting to get coverage, so everyone was crowded around the TV set, just watching openmouthed.
The next thing I remember was about an hour later, as we were playing some getting-to-know-you games, a lot of commotion in the parking lot as parents started arriving to pick up their kids. I was confused: I was never picked up early (even from preschool) and I was in full-day kindergarten, so I wasn’t supposed to be dismissed until 2 PM. My dad was one of the first parents to arrive, because we lived right down the street from the school. I remember being startled that my brother (who was only about 6 months old) was crying, which was bizarre because he was usually a happy baby. I asked my dad what was wrong and bless his heart for trying to be as calm as he did, and he said something bad had happened in the City and he wanted to make sure I was okay. I didn’t know that he wasn’t able to get in contact with my mother.
It took him a couple hours before he heard from my mom, because the phone lines were so jammed and . Once he finally heard her voice, it was the first time I remember seeing my father cry.