New York September 22, 2001
At the time of the September 11 attacks I was living in Boston, MA. A friend and I drove down one weekend to spend the day. It was the most surreal experience of my life. The area around the WTC for several blocks was closed to all traffic and there were thousands and thousands of people walking through the streets moving into areas where they could get a look at the devastation. What made this experience more surreal than the atrocity that had taken place was the quietness of that area. All those people waking around in NY and it was quiet, eerily quiet. No horns honking, no loud voices, nothing. When people spoke it was in soft tones. There were many pictures that could have been taken but I didn't. People breaking down and being comforted by others. I was only there for myself, not hired to do a job. I found it difficult to invade into peoples very private moments such as these. Even in the face of such sadness and devastation street vendors managed to find a way to make a few dollars selling American flags and photos of the skyline of NY with the Twin Towers. Flyers were posted everywhere with those where were missing. They were taped to light poles, bus stops, cars, you name it. Places were set up in Union Station for people to post as well.
Looking back on this day I don't think it would have felt as real to me if I had not gone that day to NY. Seeing the footage on television was impactful but somehow it still leaves one disconnected. It's not the same as having actually been there to see it for yourself and to feel the anguish and sadness of the people in that city. I do believe that in the midst of it all it brought the people of NY closer together. I felt it when I was there that weekend and I had a chance to visit sometime after that and the closeness was still present.
My deepest condolences to those who lost loves on September 11, 2001.