Never Forget.

I totally forgot. I forgot to start checking television listings, and missed the season premiere of Supernatural. I forgot to check the weather and got caught in a nasty not-quite tornado that turned my umbrella inside out and soaked me while I was walking at lunch on Friday. But most importantly, when I composed an unfortunately named post about something as mundane as playing a gig after work on Thursday night, I forgot to write something about 911.

This isn't to say of course that I forgot the attacks themselves; I'll never forget. I'll never forget the initial erroneous report of a small plane crash interrupting Howard Stern as he speculated about terrorist involvement. I'll never forget the mood in my office as we gathered around radios or televisions, as we found it impossible to concentrate on work. I tried; I couldn't. The world was upside down. It was unreal. And when that first tower fell, it was like hell on Earth. People were frantic. One coworker couldn't get in touch with his mother, who worked in the area. She was later okay. Another couldn't reach her husband; he turned out to be among the soot-covered bystanders who made their way across the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. I had buddies working at Nickelodeon at the time; with the city's public transportation and bridges closed they had to stay with coworkers and couldn't get home to their families that night. I had a cousin who worked across the water in Long Island City who saw it all happen. It was a nightmare.

We were allowed to go home early that day, to be with loved ones. Our antenna at home was useless for all but one or two channels that broadcast from locations other than the towers. A day or two passed, and my ex-girlfriend sent me an e-mail. As people sifted through the wreckage, thousands were unaccounted for, and names were posted online by desperate families. She recognized one of the names. Maria, a former coworker of ours, was looking for Jon, her husband. We had danced at their wedding. In the time since we'd last seen them, they'd had a child, and another was a month away from being born. They never found him. I attended a memorial with no body, only memories and a few items that were precious to him, including his copy of Lord of the Rings. He had seemed like a good guy at the wedding, and his wife had been like a big sister to me, helping train me at my first job out of college, but seeing that book made me feel a real sense of kinship and loss.

Life returned to normal for some sooner than others. I'll never forget the difference between East and West coast programming, and the somber tone that lasted longer for shows like Conan O'Brien's. I'll never forget how Rudy Giuliani held his city together, and provided strength when we needed it. I remember his SNL appearance at the end of a rough few weeks, the first indications that we weren't going to forget, but we would go on. new Yorkers were united. Gone was the rudeness and the ignoring of each other. Nowhere in sight was there looting. We were united.

It was a different time, and it's hard to believe that was 8 years ago. I may be writing about it a day late, but I haven't forgotten, and it's been on my mind, both the innocent workers in those buildings and heroic firefighters who saved who they could and made the ultimate sacrifice.

We must never forget.


Blogger Lorna said...

You do write well.

9/13/2009 9:36 PM  

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