I live on Staten Island, in a sea of FDNY firefighters, New York police officers– these men and women are the backbone of our community here. I also live pretty close to the Staten island ferry, the vehicle so many Staten islanders take each morning to get to lower Manhattan.
It feels hard to breathe on days like this. It feels fresh and raw. Perhaps because I live on Staten Island where I personally have friends and neighbors whose relatives were killed that day. Yes they were killed, just for going to their job. It was the most beautiful of days- the skies were so crisply blue- free of clouds. It felt like one of those days where anything was possible. And if you'd ever been to the World Trade Center– which I'd always felt was this city onto itself-it was just another day to get your business done. I remember riding those elevators, when I worked in downtown Manhattan, always marveling at the scope and sheer resilience of mankind- able to create two massive structures. I was always so busy in meetings on the lower floors that despite my desire to lunch or dinner at the famed restaurant in the sky- Windows on the world- located at the top of the World trade center I never made it.
I've been watching these memorials each year since the attacks… and it never feels real. It didn't feel real that day. We thought it was an accident when the first plane was hit. We thought many things. I was home watching the news, my now 11 year old daughter was in her baby swing- I was trying to get her to sleep when the special news report came on. It doesn't feel just to have an elderly women reading her son's name on the podium. A son who was killed, in the most vicious and merciless of ways. Every single person killed on that day was someone's child, someone's father, someone's sibling, someone's uncle, someone's spouse….it seems like the evil that existed that day -that fueled and perpetrated these terrorist attacks-is unfathomable.
That it could exist–there will never be justice, there will never be comfort and 11 years later the pain remains… and those selfless FDNY and police officers and emergency rescue workers who, thought nothing of their own safety and ran into these buildings over and over again- their heroism is unparalleled and I can only hope they are all here with us- in some way- and can bear witness to the fact that their lives their sacrifice will never be forgotten.