I warn you, this is not one of my slaphappy posts.
I’m here, stunned into silence after going to the 9/11 Museum downtown.
A friend asked, what possessed me?
Well, I always wanted to go since, being a survivor of that hellish day, felt I owed it to the fallen.
I’ll begin by saying, it wasn’t like a trip to see the Monets at the Met when you come out charmed and lighthearted.
After spending two hours, I sat outside where the towers once stood, and cried.
The museum itself is huge, with a timeline starting right before the first plane hit, reminding you what a beautiful day it was before it began its devastating decline.
To say I was moved, by what I saw, puts it mildly. Mangled fire engines, a burnt out ambulance…twisted remnants of the towers themselves that look like Richard Serra sculptures. Slabs of concrete, coiled wire…and personal effects like an engagement ring and credit cards, shoes and a wristwatch still dated, 9/11.
Footage of funerals, firefighters and policemen from all over who came to pay their respects while Taps plays in the distance.
Two things really affected me. One was an audio of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania of those who called their loved ones to insure a last good-bye. They warn you before it begins…that the information might be upsetting.
Yet, along with six others sat and listened, grateful, probably for the first time ever, I couldn’t hear very well, rather reading what was said.
A flight attendant calling her husband to say, I love you sweetie…tell the kids I love them. Tell my family. Don’t worry, I’m comfortable, at least for now.
Todd Beamer, who orchestrated the take-over…the Let’s Roll man, called his wife, and if it weren’t for him and the heroes he recruited, that plane would have hit either the White House or the Capitol. The hijackers, not realizing they could be heard on tape, spoke in Arabic, holding out as long as they could knowing if these men got inside the cockpit, their plans would be felled, so they crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.
The last thing one said was…Allah is the greatest.
Throws you, doesn’t it, how they give Allah such a bad name because, guaranteed he’s up there screaming…NO NO..THIS HATRED IS NOT WHAT I INTENDED.
The second remembrance that had me on my knees was…
In Memoriam…the room with photos of all, listed alphabetically, who perished that day, simply placed on four walls. I stood, reading each name, looking tenderly, at each face. What shocked me were children that must of been traveling by plane. We forget, there was an array of people going home…families…never suspecting they’d never get there.
As I made my way around the room, slowly but determined to honor each soul, a lady was quietly weeping.
“I approached her and said, “Did you lose somebody ma’am? Is that why you’re so upset?”
“Everybody. We lost everybody?”
I didn’t pry or ask what she meant. Was she one of the few people from Cantor Fitzgerald, who out of a 1000 workers, mostly those not working that day, survived? Was it a collective…we lost everybody…the way I felt as I read each name?
I put my arms around her and said, it was good we came…it’s important to remember the 2,983 people who died that day, including the 6 from the attack in 1993.
She nodded, holding my hand, then quietly wept some more.