Friday, September 11, 2009
Still the Greatest
I had just started high school and was walking into my honors biology class for my first major test. The windows here open and we had a view of the towers. Someone (I can't remember who) caught the first glimpse, stood up, and walked silently over to the window. The rest of us followed as the smoke billowed into the air and began to cover the cloudless sky.
As we stood there the second plane flew in and crashed into the second tower. We saw it hit and the smoke continue to collect. To this day I can't describe the feeling of that moment. Confusion, sadness, anger. I don't know how long we stood at that window but I remember watching the first building fall as if it were a stack of blocks.
The vice principal came into the room and asked if anyone had family working in New York. My friend silently walked from the window and left with him. Her aunt worked in the South tower but had been running late for work and was now stuck in traffic in one of the tunnels.
As the day went on every classroom had the news on. If there was no tv then the class was moved to a nearby room that had one. Every twenty minutes or so names of students were called over the loudspeaker to report to the office. Parents were coming in by the dozen to pick up their kids.
We had the next day off from school and by that morning my own town was covered in a smog. Dust from the debris carried over across the river into the small ghost town. Everyone was affected on that day but it was different here. Watching it not on the tv, but from the window of Mr. Degnan's bio class.
I see that skyline everyday on my way home and while it's still the greatest city in the world, it just isn't the same without them.