Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, September 8, 2011, 11:06 AM
So this post is really for my own therapeutic release covering the mechanics of that day and what I took from it.
I’ve been thinking about the upcoming September 11 anniversary quite a bit over the past year with a lot of trepidation. I can’t imagine how it feels to be one of those people who lost a close friend, colleague or loved one but I know people who lost close friends, colleagues or loved ones that day and it’s hard to wrap my mind around what that truly feels like – no, its impossible – and its painful to think about.
On September 11, 2001 I was in our old offices in Midtown on West 45th Street. After an email alert, I saw the CNN footage of the gaping holes in the towers on the TV sets in the appliance store on our block along with throngs of other people. I walked to the end of my street and could see the towers on fire as I looked down Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas. My wife called me sobbing when the first tower fell telling me “now there is only one World Trade Center”. We were trying to call our appraisers out in the field but the cell service was overloaded. We had people in Tribeca but thankfully no one in close proximity. After the next tower fell all the traffic seemed to leave the street and thousands of people were making their way north out of Manhattan. No public transportation was running and all bridges and tunnels were closed to traffic. I rode with my friends Mom who had a car north to Westchester and borrowed his car to get home.
I remember standing in my front yard disheveled talking with a neighbor after we got home who was actually on the phone with someone on a high floor in the towers as the first plane hit and the line went silent. I remember getting so many emails from my friends and colleagues around the US trying to confirm if I was still alive – surreal to be asked it you were still alive. I met someone who was arguably the last person out of the Towers. My son’s classmate lost his Dad in the attack and there were others lost who lived in our town. Over the next year my firm would be engaged to perform appraisals for estate purposes of the victims and we could see first hand how people coped and the damage to their personal lives. Especially tough when you realized they had kids.
Each year as the anniversary approaches, I get hyper-vigilant about the numbers 9/11 but keep it to myself. The bridge I go under on my way home has a sign for it’s 9′11″ clearance and I always seem to look at a clock when it strikes 9:11 and a slew of other examples. This eventually passes until the next anniversary rolls around.
Painful. Yet at the same time I feel we have get to the business of living. I’m proud of how NYC handled it. It’s resolve to move on cemented my love for it and to appreciate what I have.
Ok, back to work.