Many of us may be functioning and saying it is put behind us, but the fears from the moments and days immediately following that tragedy are not far below the surface for us..
We were living in Franklin Square and guess about 20 miles or so from ground zero. When we went out of the house there was the smoke to the west. Within an hour or two we heard sirens of emeregency vehicles on the main road 1 block from our house. The sirens were constant for hours so we went to go see what was happening. They were emergency vehicles coming in from eastern Long Island (more than 60 miles away) to be staged at Belmont race track. Fire trucks, fire chief cars, ambulances and rescue equipment
(Belmont is just over the border from Queens, NY and since all fire and rescue vehicles from Queens and Brooklyn were in the city, the other equipment was going to be held in reserve if needed.)
As days went by we heard stories of survivors. One such story was while I was having my nails done by a lady who told me her husband worked on the top floor. He pushed himself into the elevator before the building collapsed. When he got to the bottom, the doors of the building were being closed not to let anyone onto the subway - and yet again he forced his way out and had to pull the doors of the subway car open to get onto the last train out of that station.
Everyone on his floor was lost and he was suffering with "why was I spared"? So not only did the families of those who were killed suffer so are the survivors and their families.
7 members of our church - St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church were lost. The actual church only holds 400 so speakers were set up int the school auditorium and many speakers outside on the street. The street in front of the church was packed with people in all sorts of uniforms fire - police- military and regular folks, like us, just there to pay our respects.
2 firetrucks with their high ladders extended formed a point from which a huge American flag flew. When the casket was carried from the church it was placed on the back of the fire truck for it's trip to the cemetery. We were told that traffic stopped all along the way as the truck passed.
After everyone came out of the church, the NYC Police helicopters flew over with the missing man formation. There were 2 trumpeters echoing each other, playing taps.
We were at all 7 funerals and Mayor Guilanni and the police chief was at each and every one. Even now writing this it brings back tears to my eyes!!!
So to get back to today and the feeling those folks must of had being in those high rises, and never experiencing an earthquake and still being 'shell shocked" so to speak!
One thing to keep in mind too is that Manhattan is an island. The only way off of it is by train /subway, tunnel or bridge. I don't know about you but none of those options are very inviting to me in these type emergency situations.
One last thing I need to share too - Some folks went into an dollar store in our small town and the owners/staff/family were all cheering - celebrating while they were watching the replay. I don't mean to judge all dollar store owners, but
just sayin' that one group was happy!!
As we get closer to the 10th anniversary of the day that impacted our lives we need to remember a few things - one the fear of the unknown and what would happen next - if anything. Our kids think we are over exaggerating being cautious / aware, but on the other hand - why not? What does it hurt to be prepared?
And lets also remember those few days/ weeks afterward and how we were all united as one people suffering for all the lives lost, the damage to families and our nation. No matter what event we went to - everyone stood and sang God Bless America with pride and conviction. And of all that has been said and will be said that is a very profound memory to come away with.