Once I started to slowly process what was actually happening, my mind jumped back to just 5 months prior when I had the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of NYC with my senior class. Our class picture was taken on the observation deck of one of the towers. I threw my gum off the roof. (Nobody died by the way) We walked in and out of the stores in the mall level below Tower 1. We ate pizza at a little shop around the corner run by a sweet Italian family. I thought of the security guards and all the people on the elevators and in the lobby. Some people that, unknowningly at the time, only had a few months to live. And in that moment, my grief became very real. I grieved as an American. I grieved as a human. And I grieved as a Christian. I was within inches of some of these people. I felt helpless, wanting to rewind the clock back 5 months and warn them. I wanted to yell and scream at them to run! Get out!
Even now, 11 years later, 11 years filled with hurt, fear, loss, anger, change, healing, hope... I still get a lump in my throat thinking about that sweet hispanic lady I chatted with for a brief second as she was sweeping the floor in the mall level. The old Italian man making our pizzas at the pizza place. The cute young blonde girl selling suits at the Bacharach across the street. I don't know what happened to them, and I pray they are living healthy happy lives. But, I know for me, thier faces are forever in my mind and my memory.
I will always remember.