Five years later, and I remember what a beautiful day it was, fresh and with a rare clarity. One could see for miles. I arrived at my office early and set to work on a big project.
DH saw the first plane as it flew by Midtown, heading south. He remembers being able to read its markings and thinking, That plane is too low.
I remember the first reports – a small plane crash at the World Trade Center. Then: no, a small plane had crashed into one of the towers, an accident, NYFD was responding. Then confusion: it was a big plane; no, a small plane; no, a big plane; no, two planes; stand by, the Pentagon had been attacked and was burning.
I heard the sirens racing down Broadway, the emergency route. Usually it's one or few, which pass, and the usual noise of traffic resumes. That day there was a constant wailing, fire trucks, ambulances, police vehicles, all heading south.
I remember when the radio went silent and the channel selector began searching, starting at 530 and cycling through 1600, and repeating, and repeating.
DH remembers the dust cloud that rolled through Midtown. I remember its smell.
When I got home, I could see the smoke plume. Ground Zero burned for months.
DH remembers seeing people sitting in the triage center at the Hoboken train terminal, faces vacant. At first he thought they were injured. Then he realized they were in shock.
I gave blood, then went to church. I remember hugging everyone and crying and praying.
Later, I remember a grief counselor saying we need to understand what happened. I remember correcting him: That's far too intellectual. If you lived it, you don't need to understand what happened, you know happened. Your pores know, your lungs know, your gut knows, your heart knows.