Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

Today is a day that I always stop and take stock.  It's a day that I will make sure my children always remember.  It's a day that was very real for my generation.  Before I moved into the world of academia, I worked in professional theatre.  I refer to it as my "former life."  It was something I loved doing, but was not conducive to having a family...at least not in the capacity that I worked, as a Stage Manager.  Imagine my excitement at 23 to be told by my boss "We are doing a new show, one that has only ever been showcased...and for financial reasons we are sending you to NYC to rehearse it for 5 weeks."  OMG!!  I was SO excited.  Hello Big Apple! 

I arrived in NYC on Monday, made my way to my kick a$$ apartment the company was putting my assistant and me up in and started to settle in.  Tuesday we got up early, walked through Times Square to work and started setting up the rehearsal space.  AT the time, I was still a smoker and we were outside on a smoke break when a traffic cop told us terrorists had taken over the towers.  What?!?!  This can't be?  Then we heard it.  We staggered across the street and saw the playback on the jumbo-tron of the first plane...then we looked towards the south end of the island.  I will never forget.

I wanted to go home.  I wanted my (then boyfriend) husband to hold me.  I wanted my mom and dad.  I wanted it to be a bad dream.  We were immediately sent "home" and watched the news coverage all day.  What else could we do.  Strange city, no phone service for a few hours, we just sat and watched dumbfounded.  Later that evening, after talking to family and loved ones, we left the apartment to find dinner.  The feeling that was in NYC at that time, in that moment, is the feeling I wish would take hold of this country.  Never have I seen a city...a mass group of strangers pull together the way they did.  It wasn't natives and tourists and visitors...it was Americans.  It was people going out of their way to make others feel safe, feel okay, just feel.  I remember being numb until that point. 

Over the next few weeks we attended vigils, saw the devastation, and tried to heal with a city that was left with a permanent scar.  I was left with a permanent scar.  I look back and even as I write this I can feel the tears stinging my eyes.  I can taste the smoke and ash in the air, I can feel the loss...but I have hope that we can move forward.  To draw strength from this horror.  To give respect and honor to all those that were lost, all those that stepped up as true heroes, and continue the fight today.  To never forget.

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