9/11/09 My Time At Ground Zero

**This is a true story, I have only told it to a handful. It seems an appropriate day to share it.


We all shared in September 11, 2001, This is about one I shared with family of four, at ground zero on 9/11/09.

As far as I know I did not lose anyone on that day. But it has had a hold on me that frankly I cannot explain or shake. I had been traveling through New England and planned on visiting a friend in New York on the way back to Austin. As I planned my way back I noticed the day I would arrive in NY was 9/11.

I parked my truck and rode the train into the city from Stamford CT.

I would arrive at Grand Central Station

I saw some policeman, approached them, nervous about asking the question “How do I get to the World Trade Center site?” They kindly told me and I was on my way. I got to my stop. It was raining, raining hard. I looked to my right and I saw a view I had seen on TV a thousand times. It was the fence surrounding the WTC site. I walked towards it. I reached the fence but couldn’t see in. I wondered if the memorial was over yet.

t was. When I looked to my left dozens of black clad people were walking towards me. I looked into every pair of eyes that I could as I passed through them. Some met my eyes, other strained downward. The ones I crossed eyes with each had their stories and you could instantly tell how far each had walked towards their personal healing. Many still had tears to shed. There were those with wide open eyes with nothing behind them. Their eyes looked like abandoned homes, ransacked by vandals. Then there were the kind eyes with a nod and reluctant smile,

I made my way into an office building, then up, I passed through a glass door and found myself on a bridge that went between buildings, and to my right I looked down and saw this enormous crater and a scaffolding going down the middle. I spent some moments there. Before leaving a took a picture with my iPhone. It’s the only picture I would take. I went down to the lobby, then outside. I wanted to see more of Ground Zero, but I wasn’t sure what was possible or how to gain access. I just felt driven to try.

I was standing on the curb when I saw a family of four walking down the street, towards me. They seem to walk with purpose and confidence of direction. I dropped in behind them. We crossed the street and walked along the orange fencing towards a group of police men. The older man went first, never slowing down. The police man nodded and left he eyes about chest level for just a second. We each walked though the fence .Upon entering the depth of my awareness grew, If it is possible for your soul to vibrate, then mine did. I realized I was on Ground Zero. My legs got wobbly as I walked across the giant wooden platform that went between what used to be the two towers. Now they were these perfectly square deep caverns. I was overwhelmed at what I was feeling and imagining. I looked around and with each minute there, I knew more and more that my ability to ever describe it, would be less and less.

I found conviction in my legs again and I was able to move forward. I saw that memorial pool that survivors would place photographs, and roses into, I had seen it on TV so often. The workers were there with wheelbarrows gently removing the items. I wanted to take one, but felt it was not mine to have. I then saw the family I followed in standing across the pool from me. They were speaking together, softly, heavily. Then I saw an orange lanyard with a large id badge on it. I looked to the other members, they too had the same badges. My eyes went up from their badges to their crying eyes, then back down to the pool and the workers.They were family members, I wasn’t supposed to be there. But still, for whatever reason I was allowed to be there. They had dark skin and I believe African accents. They were beautiful, and broken. We forget how many other countries lost loved ones that day. My eyes connected with who I had imagined to be the father. I put both hands over my heart and then lowered my head into a slight bow. How I do not know, but he returned a smile that I will see the rest of my life. I then left, my eyes full of tears that would not fall.

Published in: on September 11, 2012 at 4:01 AM  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What a powerful story. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking and so atmospheric that I felt like I was right there with you.

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