On September 11th, 2001
- written about 8 years ago
That morning my boyfriend, a NYPD officer, dropped me off at work at P.S.11, where I was an Assistant teacher. Shortly after my students arrived I left to retrieve something from another floor. A colleague told me a plane crashed. Then someone said "you need to see turn on the T.V." I heard someone else say "the WTC is gone." I went upstairs and shared the news with the other teachers in my room. I left the room again to call my boyfriend since no one's cell phones were working. He was desperately awaiting my call. He was being called to duty. He told me we were in a state of emergency, and that I should try to make it to my mother's place in Spanish Harlem and not come home. He promised to call me. Parents began streaming in, tears falling from their eyes as the tightly hugged their small children and took them home. The children in my special education class sensed our anxiety and sadness and began to pepper us with questions. "What was happening?" "Why were the parents coming so early?" "Was it a half-day?" I simply said the train was out of service, which was true because I didn't want to frighten the kids. Another co-worker walked through the streets we were overwhelmed by the eerie sight of the empty streets, people running, and the radios blaring very war-like minute by minute news. "A plane hit the Pentagon." "The Pentagon has been struck." Acrid smoke and dust filled the air. It was terrifying. Someone was attacking us. After work, my co-workers and I departed, trying to figure out the best route back home. There were no cars. No taxis. Sirens filled the air. Signs posted everywhere begged us to donate blood. I walked down 23rd Street. All of the pedestrians by the Flatiron building stood gawking south; one said "That's where the WTC USED to be." I felt a raw gush of emotion. A couple of blocks down, soldiers wearing camouflage stood in the middle of the street holding the biggest guns I have ever seen in my life. Missile launchers? I stood transfixed. My pager went off; my sister was calling me. I stood on line to use the nearest phone. Strangers were hugging one another; others were taking pictures of the armed soldiers. I finally caught a bus going uptown. The ride from 23rd St. to 122nd St. took three hours. A lady on the bus told me I had beautiful eyelashes, were they real? I thought it such an odd comment/compliment but weirdly it made me feel good, as if everything was normal. At my mother's place I began to worry. I had not heard from my boyfriend for a couple of hours. I was on the phone to the Red Cross when he called; he was at Ground Zero. He was running when the last building fell. He was okay. He would call me back. At 2 a.m. he was relieved of duty and came to my mother's home to get me. We drove down the deserted streets; we were allowed to leave the borough when he flashed his badge. At home, our machine was filled with messages from family, ex-girlfriends and concerned friends. The next day school was closed. I was glued to the T.V.; I watched the news all day long. It was a day I will never forget. The memories are as etched into my head. The remnants of what used to be a symbol of the grandeur of NYC are now gone.