Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sept 11

Photo I took from the Circle Line "half-circle" cruise a long time ago - this was either when we came to my cousin David's wedding (he and Jeannie met when they were both attending med school here in the city and that's actually how I ended up here, I was living with my folks in England but turned out to be entirely too law-abiding to go out and find myself an under-the-table job as friends had suggested I could do - a good friend who'd moved to the city and was loving it suggested I go on an interview while I was here, and although the first job was a bit of a disaster, it at least got me here) or when my parents came to visit me after I'd moved here. Have to get a better scan sometime but I'm so glad I do have this picture - love the way the towers and the Brooklyn Bridge echo each other.

Over on Facebook, I have been doing the "five days of gratitude" thing, I'd been challenged on Friday and although I initially told Luseana that I was going to start on Monday, I realized later that if I started on Friday, that would put Day 5 on the day that will probably always be the one day of the year when I feel the most grateful, both for surviving and for being able to actually be of some small use to others for the rest of the day after John Krevey got a ferry service going with one of the tour boat companies that would sometimes use Pier 63 as a departure point for parties. I had worked at the World Trade Center, I'd been laid off that June with a generous severance package, I was a partner at Manhattan Kayak Company, the economy at that point was strong enough that I was confident of getting another desk job when I needed to, so I'd spent the summer being a kayak guide on a technology officer's salary (sweet deal, yes) - I was back at the WTC that day because both the severance package and the guiding work were going to run out in October and it was time to start looking again and part of my severance package was an outplacement workshop - I just happened to pick the one on September 11th, but I was still on the ground when the first plane hit and managed to escape on what had to have been the last train out, moments after the second plane hit. I was in exactly the wrong place that morning, but I was very fortunate in all other respects and I will always be grateful for that. 

Here was the story of the day as I'd written it for my family, that night.

In the past, I've usually gone down for a walk around the area, but I've brought my paddling gear today and I think that this time, I'm going to go do my reflecting out on Jamaica Bay. 


Tillerman said...

I guess none of us will forget exactly where we were that day. I was in NJ a few miles outside NYC but was more concerned about my sons as the news of the day came in as one was in VA quite close to the Pentagon and one was in PA. Fortunately neither was in any real danger but it was a worrying day.

And then the images of the towers falling. Is that the worst human disaster ever watched by billions of people on live TV?

I am grateful that none of my six grandchildren saw those awful images or will remember what it was like on Sep 11 2001. The eldest is about as far removed in time from it as I am from Hiroshima. It's something they will only learn about in history lessons and TV documentaries.

But my generation grew up to abhor nuclear weapons and to push back against what we saw as unnecessary foreign wars. Maybe my grandchildren's generation will have some new ideas on how to deal with the evils that could lead to 911.

bonnie said...

I hope they do, we're not doing well with it now. It was a terrible day but so many more have died in the conflicts that followed. Seems like it will never end. Wishing wisdom to the youth of today - may they grow up and demand better.

Baydog said...

Where did the ferries go in New Jersey? You may have helped my sister escape...You are truly one of the lucky ones

Baydog said...

........and what are the chances that my sister, who lived in Katmandu for a few years and just happened to be back in the states, was interviewing in NYC that particular day?

Tillerman said...

I asked Emily (now 8) when she got home from school if she knew what had happened on 911 or Sep 11 in 2001. She had no idea.

The innocence of the young! Long may it last.

I am still very hopeful that her generation (in all countries) will see the world with new eyes and come up with fundamental solutions to what ails the world today that most of our generation is too blind to see.

bonnie said...

Baydog - Our boats were going to Hoboken. I ran into somebody once at a party who had definitely left Manhattan via our pier - unfortunately they hadn't quite worked out logistics for getting the people the rest of the way home, they were bussing them somewhere -- maybe it was the Meadowlands -- but once they got there it was a pretty long wait before further transportation was worked out. Everything was just so messed up.

Tillerman, I hope so too.

bonnie said...

And yes, Baydog, of all days, what a day to end up in Manhattan!

Tillerman said...

Will we (at least those of us young enough) still be telling our 911 stories to anyone willing to listen 40 years from now?

I suspect we will. The world changed for ever on that day.

bonnie said...

Or was it Weehawken our boats were going to? It's getting to where it really was kind of a long time ago, isn't it?

Funny thing is, I haven't been in the least inclined to talk to anyone at work about it - it's only on social media where I feel like I have to go with the ritual. Social media is kind of strange that way. Maybe someday I won't feel as compelled to share all the details. I am changing part of my usual 9/11 routine tonight - instead of going down to the site, I'm going paddling, and that feels good.