September 11, 2009
Mornings are inherently unmemorable, even fugitive. We can all remember where we were and what we were doing in the morning on this day in 2001. Over the past eight years, I’ve shared my story verbally dozens of times and this is the first time I’m writing about that beautiful autumn dawn, a day before my 29th birthday.
I had marked my first year working at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in my hometown. The day began like any other with checking e-mail, maybe a coffee was at my side, I can’t recall. The daily routine was shattered with a cell call from my older brother at a quarter after nine that morning. Gasping for air he said, “There’s going to be a war!” He had just witnessed, with his own eyes, the second plane crash into the South Tower. At the time, my brother was working in 1 Liberty Plaza, one of the seven buildings in the WTC complex. He had just narrowly escaped death. My brother knew that the horrific news would shave years off our mother’s life not knowing if her eldest was alive. Shortly thereafter, there was no way of dialling out of Manhattan—all communication lines were jammed. His directions to me were simple: I had to tell my mother that he was safe and out of harm’s way. I asked my boss to drive me to St. George’s church where my mother was teaching kindergarten kids in the basement. I interrupted the class, took my mom aside and let her know that our family was intact.