13 year anniversary …

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Today is the 13th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I have been living in California now for 20 years but I was born and grew up on Long Island in New York and lived in Manhattan for 6 years … Growing up the Twin Towers were just part of our life, you could see them from the Wantagh Parkway on the drive to and from Jones Beach … living in NYC they were my landmark for which way I was facing when coming out of the subway … now a resident of California I had stayed at the Soho Grand with a clear view of the towers out of my hotel window in the summer of 2001 …

I can remember that day and where we were when we learned of what was happening … my husband and I were sleeping … our phone rang around 5:55 AM PDT… it was my mother … why was she calling so freakin’ early … and then we heard her message … we shot up out of bed and turned our television on …. started watching the news and as we watched, we like everyone else, saw the second plane hit the south tower of the WTC …

Here we were in bed sitting there in shock … we had originally planned to be in Boston during that week but in the end decided to put our money into sod for the backyard of our home that we had bought the year before.

For days we were like zombies keeping the news channel on hungry for more information wanting to comprehend what was happening in our world … My sister still living on Long Island and my mother having moved to Maryland the year before was having a hard time reaching her … our friend and neighbor had a dry cleaners in one of the towers in the mall area … my mom was desperately trying to reach his wife …

We were really only observers here from the West Coast … at that time I worked for Coach Handbags and like other companies in NY employees were sent home and the offices stayed closed for a few days … I did not have work here on the West as there were credible threats at Malls where I would be … so we were home and to break away from the news we spent full days in our yard prepping then rolling it out with sod … the physical work was soothing … the days outside a way to stop hearing the news and re-watching the images … at night we would fall into bed … our insomnia from the days before from the news now at bay from the physicalness of laying out the sod …

My husband and I returned to the East Coast in October of that year to celebrate our anniversary … landing into JFK was surreal … the skyline forever changed … meeting up with friends in NYC we made our way to an artists loft in the Village where amateur photos of the day were on display, the walls of Penn Station were lined with ‘missing person’ flyers, the streets of the city where walls were plywood still had flyers too … it was heartbreaking to see all this up close after being so far away …

At home we went out right away to get an American Flag to stand with our fellow Americans and wear our pride outside … an American Flag still hangs outside our home since 9/11 in memory of that day and those who lost their lives on that day and those who serve our country! In fact this year I replaced our weathered flag with a new one before the anniversary.

We had learned of classmates and distant family who were lost on that terrible day … we mourn with those who lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, partners, family, friends …

Our girls now 8 and 6 years old are still too young to fully comprehend the events of that day, but we talk about how thankful we are for first responders and the risks they take every day to protect us no matter the circumstances.

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