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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 remembered

Poignant recollection from a dear friend:

This is written in memory and honor of the 3000 plus victims of the disaster on 9/11/01.

I worked for an insurance company back in those days.

Every day I'd drive up the Jersey turnpike and see those twin towers and recall, how I met my (soon to be ex) spouse in that building. The New York skyline was within spitting distance. One of my insurance accounts was in the twin towers.

On that fine fall day, everything seemed to be holding its breath, waiting, waiting for something to happen. The sunlight had that unique golden hue that seems peculiar to the east coast.

The twin towers were something else, I used to court clients in windows of the world, the restaurant at the top of the tower. We could see the curvature of the earth from the comfort of the towers, drink fine wine, and feel the winds blowing against its side of the building as it gently moved like a leviathan.

When I went fishing off the north Jersey coast, the towers were a landmark, and a beacon we could always draw a line of sight on those proud monuments for navigation.

I went to work on the 11th of September just like always. A run up the turnpike, listen to NPR, and cuss the drivers who couldn't do 70 mph. I thought about my business pending for that day, and my fun weekend I just had fishing-- the ocean seemed to sparkle and the bluefish seemed to bite on anything thrown at them.

A stop at the bagel shop for coffee and a bagel with lox. Then the office, a ride up the elevator, warm up my computer and check my phone mail.

It was around 8:40 in the morning. I was on the phone with Keiko. She worked for a Japanese trading company, my client in the WTC. I heard some chatter in an adjacent cubical about some planes getting hijacked, but ignored it.

"Hi Keiko. How are doing this fine fall morning? Are you ready to review the August loss runs?" She replied that she was fighting a cold. tThen she said, "Hang on, something's happening. Wait."

Next thing, I heard some screams in the background. I hear Keiko say, "OH SHIT!", and the line went dead.

I tried to call back, but the phone was busy, I tried for a few minutes till I realized that my co-workers were all around a TV set that was saying something about a plane hitting the WTC.

OH MY GOD! Keiko was on the 98th floor.

We watch in mute horror as the second plane hits the second tower. WHAT IS GOING ON? CLEARLY SOMEONE HAS DECLARED WAR AGAINST US.

I left work early that day, and drove home in tears. My spouse was out of contact from me for the next 5 days.

Driving to and from work for the next week or so, what was left of the WTC was a smoking funeral pyre, sending a plainly visible plume of smoke into the fall skies of New York.

While we count the dead as victims, we often fail to think of those who survived the tragic events and horror of those days in September of 2001. They too are victims, and are deserving of our daily thoughts and prayers.

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