9/11 + 10

Ten years later, you still know exactly where you were.

Who you were with.

Who you knew who might be in danger.

I moved here on September 1, 2001. The morning of September 11, I was living in an East Hampton rental with no TV. A friend instant messaged me saying a plane had hit the WTC. I assumed it was a small Cessna, until my phone started to ring like crazy.

Jill was editing a TV spot. When she got back home to Montauk there was great surf, but she couldn’t bear the thought of enjoying it while so many people were suffering. Unable to face a scarred Manhattan, Jill didn’t venture into the city for six months. A few days later I returned for meetings and was devastated as the Jitney headed towards the tunnel, Ground Zero was still smoldering and my “true South” was gone. I felt lost. Haunted by the people searching for their loved ones. And my thriving work as a freelance writer was gone indefinitely.

September 11, 2001 changed history. It also changed this place we call home. Quaint villages became year-round communities. City slickers gave up Manhattan for a different life. School enrollments expanded. New businesses grew. The Internet was in place. The impetus was there.

Ten years later, life has changed. blumenfeld + fleming wasn’t even a dream then and is now a nine-and-a-half year old reality. I met our first client on the beach the day after the towers went down. I doubt we’d have spoken if it hadn’t been for 9-11. On September 11, we both were grateful to be here. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

What do you remember? How has your life changed?

2 thoughts on “9/11 + 10

  1. Hard to believe ten years has passed. Memories still feel fresh, but I like your outlook. What has changed for the better because of 9-11? Still, so sad for all the families affected.

  2. Aubrey was asked to write about his recollections for his Paper.

    9/11/2001…Monday morning on the IRT..crowded as usually, I was reading the New York Times as I had just gotten on the train at Christopher Street at 7th Avenue in lower Manhattan.. There was a delay at Wall Street..sitting still for about 5 minutes longer than usual. People getting on the train at Wall Street were talking about an accident that had happened downtown at the World Trade Center..they had no details? It was about 8:55 AM.

    As the train resumed it’s path, we passed underground, by the Word Trade Center, and continued through the tunnel under the Hudson River to Brooklyn Heights. My office was at 2 Court Street, 1Oth Floor, CIDR. As Director of Development, my office view through two picture windows overlooked the New York Harbor vista including Ellis Island, Miss Liberty and the Twin Towers.

    As I exited the elevator and walked to my office, our Russian accountant, Maya, was screaming ” Look ! Look! A plane bumped into the building…terrible accident” in heavily accented English . Red flames and black smoke billowed from the top of North Tower. At about 9:03 AM we were staring in disbelief when suddenly we spotted another plane … we watched this lost plane as it turned and flew directly into the South Tower…a huge fire ball of red and orange ..a violent explosion that was silent to us on the opposite side of the harbor..the north tower was still burning. Suddenly Maya and I were now surrounded by 10 fellow workers. Someone had turned the TV in my office to CNN. We were all asking “Why is this happening?” What was thought to be a horrible accident was suddenly a heinous act of violence..but committed by whom? The CNN voices fed our imaginations. The small dark specks that we watched dancing through the air were reported as people jumping to their deaths. We were horrified but we were also mesmerized and we could not stop watching the surreal pictures as they morphed before our eyes.

    As we concentrated our gaze on the billowing black smoke the south tower imploded. It descended in slow motion like a documentary on buildings being razed to make way for progress. The smoke and dust rose up into the sky as the steel tower disappeared. As we watched, CNN was confirming that the building had actually collapsed. About 10 minutes later it all happened again. Two magnificent monuments to man’s genius and ingenuity were now erased into rubble and dust and anguished twisted ribbons of steel.

    By 3:00 PM I walked home with a colleague over the Brooklyn Bridge and back into devestated Manhattan. Surrounded by New York citizens, strangers.. frightened and paranoid ..They cried as they walked…trying to make sense of it..talking about revenge and reprisal … but the fear was palpable.. whispering about the rumors of terrorism…gas in the subways and poison in the water.

    The following months in New York City were swept by a flash flood of emotion…overflowing with stories of tragedy, heroism, miraculous escapes and suffocating loss. Missing…everything we ever knew as safe and sane was erased. Missing… thousands of people who painfully and needlessly died…missing…empty…gone forever. I was there. A witness. I saw it and smelled itand felt it and I will never forget it.. I will never forget 9/11.

    How do we create tolerance from these memories? How do we create Hope?

    Aubrey de Souza
    Orange, CA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top