For some reason, I always feel obligated to watch coverage of that horrible, horrible day. I'm not sure why...most people don't. I remember in the months after it happened, I would watch absolutely every special that came on television, and then one night, my mom and I watched a program and I sat there and cried my heart out. My mother told me, "Don't watch any more of these shows! Look how upset they make you!"
But I wanted to be upset.
I didn't know anybody that died that day...just friends and relatives of friends and relatives.
I remember the day it happened.
It was the first time I ever drove on my own. I had a terrible fear of driving that I was forced to overcome when I began commuting to college. That morning was my first time behind the wheel all by myself.
It was the most beautiful, perfect day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.
I was so relieved when I made it to campus all in one piece...I had conquered one of my greatest fears.
My professor told us to just go to the student center and watch what was happening on television.
I heard people speculating.
"A plane hit the World Trade Center?"
"Did anybody die?"
"Of course people died."
We were watching the TV as the second plane hit.
I went home.
I drove about five miles an hour.
I was never shaking more in my entire life.
When I called my mom from home (this was before I even had a cellphone), the first thing she said to me was, "Everyone is okay."
I wasn't sure how she had gotten into touch with "everyone"...I couldn't even tell you which of our friends and relatives worked in the World Trade Center...but I didn't question it...because at that moment, all I needed was to hear that everyone was okay.
But everyone wasn't okay...and nothing was okay...and nothing was ever going to be okay ever again.
It was the first time I ever felt grateful that my father wasn't alive because he wouldn't have to see what was happening to the city he loved so much.
I can't believe it's already been eight years...but, at the same time, I can't remember what the world was like before this happened.