FamilyNew YorkThoughts

9/11 The Day That Never Ends

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It’s really hard to imagine that 15 years have gone by.  I could still remember the chaos, terror and confusion of that day.  I could still smell the rancid air if I think about it.  We all know where we were on 9/11 and if you were from NY, you saw the carnage right before your eyes.

I was teaching that day.  I remember my school being put on lock down and for some reason I had the only cell phone that would work.  My cell phone carrier was not out of the trade center like most were.   Some of my students were crying because their parents worked in the towers. I didn’t know at that moment 260 people from my community wouldn’t be coming home.  Living only eight miles from the city, it was normal to have a career in Manhattan.

When they finally realized there weren’t terrorists driving through the streets, they released us from school.  The journalist in me rushed down to the water’s edge and I started taking photos.  Photos of a skyline that would never be the same.  All I saw was smoke in the air where two towers once stood.  I was utterly sick and frightened. img_4956

I went into the city with a few friends and started filming.  15 years later, I still haven’t watched my footage.  I remember the walls of the missing, pockets of people singing New York themed songs like Frank Sinatra’s classic New York, New York.  It was crazy.  Utter devastation.

When we worked our way down to Ground Zero, I remember seeing firemen crying.  A vision I could never get out of my mind.  At that moment we didn’t know how many died, but they did.  The smell of burning metal lasted for months.

I had airline tickets for that Friday, Newark to San Francisco, a flight path I knew all to well because I was dating someone on and off in the bay area.  I was sick to my stomach when I found out that one of the planes that crashed was Newark to San Francisco.  What if the terrorists chose that Friday?  From that very moment I had an induced fear of flying.

We found out as the days went on the names of those who perished.

I didn’t know Jackie would lose her husband.

I didn’t know I wouldn’t see Jeff again.

I didn’t know my students would lose their parents.

I didn’t know Rob on my softball team was gone.

I didn’t know Chris would lose his brother or Christina would lose her uncle.

I didn’t know I would attend ten plus funerals and have nightmares for years to come.  260 innocent souls taken from our community.  It was a very somber and scary time.  Everywhere you looked, The American flag would be blowing in the wind.  The flag took on a new meaning that day. The flag symbolized unity, that we can’t fall and won’t be taken down. Seeing the flag everywhere meant we stood together as a city and as a nation.  During the following weeks I witnessed so many people come together to cheer on the human race.

Mayor Giuliani said to go to the city and spend money.  “Go out to eat, the city needs your help.”  After attending benefit after benefit, we listened to his plea.  I went to Asia De Cuba, a trendy hot spot on Madison Avenue.  Who knew I would meet my husband that night.  Who knew my future of creating four children was standing right in front of me.

I went on to marrying Bobby and becoming a military wife.  9/11 never ended for me because he had to serve in the war in Operation Enduring Freedom.  I was in for the long hall with the effects of 9/11.  I had to brave up and deal with the fact that my husband was going head on with those responsible for that solemn day.

Bobby went into Afghanistan with the marines as a Navy Dentist.  I never thought he was going to be put in harm’s way, but he was.  He acted like a medic when needed and went into the villages with the marines facing this horror head on.  I remember on one of his missions he recovered weapons and an 9/11 American flag.

I have come to accept that 9/11 will never leave us.  It’s hard to believe that 15 years have gone by.  When you live through something like this and when your husband fights in the war, it’s a day that never ends.  I am happy to say the nightmares have slowly dissipated, and my fear has lessened even though we still exist in uncertainty.  Like my fellow New Yorker’s, I continue on with my faith, praying and moving forward with a little more strength and a little more resilience.  9/11 will always be etched in my chapters, but I won’t let it define who I am.  All we can do is educate, honor and remember.  One things for certain, I’ll Never Forget!

Where were you that day?  Comment below…

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4 comments

  1. I don’t know how you wrote this blog, I can barely read it. I’ve never watched the footage you took that day either, but I have a copy of it in my basement.

    I still struggle on this day. 😢

    Do you remember the flag you Corrinne and I made?

    Heavy thoughts, still so painful. What a loss to our city and my heart goes out to everyone who lost someone during these horrible attacks.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      caroline…. i still have the flag we made…. its in a box somewhere… I love you… We were there together during that time… I will never forget… we drank, we smoked our nerves were shot.. hugs my friend

  2. Wow thank you for sharing that story. Anything regarding 9/11 turns me into a mess, it breaks my heart like none other, and it never gets easier when the years go by. I can’t forget and will never forget because it’s impossible, the feelings are no less today than it was when I found out it happened – I was in college getting ready for class listening to the Today Show when I saw it. I didn’t understand what terrorism was, in my living experience that wasn’t a common thing as it is today. I love New York and every time I go back I think about those beautiful souls who left this world too early.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      Thanks for sharing this…. you are so so sweet!! xoxoxo

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