Somber | By Courtney Allison Brown
Written on the eighth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
It’s a somber day in New York City today. The streets, busses and subways are always a little quieter on this date every year. I was still four years off from moving to NYC when it happened, still in college in Atlanta, Georgia, but I can still remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I doubt anyone living in the United States ever will forget. You didn’t have to be a New Yorker to be affected by the events that occurred that day.
My personal experience was as follows: My mother called me crying – I remember that distinctly – I was still in bed because I didn’t have classes until 1 p.m. I was very confused at first, because she just kept repeating, “They’re falling… the buildings are falling…”.
I ran into the living room and turned on the television and every news station had coverage of the tragedy unfolding between NYC, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. I sat there mesmerized in shock and awe that this was really happening. After a few hours, I remember receiving a phone call telling me classes were cancelled and that there was a high security alert for Atlanta, since it’s a major city. I just remember thinking about New York City, a city that I was incredibly familiar with, having been born on Long Island and my family all being from the NYC area and having spent a lot of time there, was in such turmoil I couldn’t even fully grasp what was happening. I remember being incredibly scared and just sitting on my couch watching the news until the wee hours of the morning.
I do live in NYC now, as I have for four years, and every year I listen to the sad sighs and murmurs that happen on September 10 from my co-workers (most of which are born and bred New Yorkers who experienced the attacks first hand): “Oh, tomorrow is the 11th,” which is usually followed by some sort of one line personal recollection, such as “I smoked an entire pack of cigarettes while I watched those buildings fall.” With a slow shake of their head, they try and dismiss the image, which I have no doubt will be a fixture in their mind on this date for the rest of their life.
Not only are the subways, streets and busses quieter, but they’re emptier as well. There are still a lot of people who attend memorial services for this date. There is the city one as well as individual community ones. One man that I work with mentioned that every year he goes to the memorial that his community holds for the victims from his neighborhood (I believe two firefighters that perished in the attacks are from there) and he was telling me how much it saddens him that each year that goes by, the number of people who attend get smaller and smaller.
It seems as though the memory is still strong, but people are choosing to grieve or remember in their own ways these days. It’s an elephant in the room; every year the date is remembered by people across the United States, but it’s becoming less and less spoken of and publicly remembered.
Personally, I don’t really speak much of it, but it will always cross my mind when the date September 11 is mentioned. The sadness of this date will always resonate with me, especially while I reside in this great city. It’s amazing that such a big city can be so overwhelmed by sadness. This city, so filled with life, just feels so incredibly sad on this date. To me it is a reminder to tell my loved ones how much I love them one extra time today because you never know what might happen.
About Courtney Allison Brown
Courtney Allison Brown is a graphic designer and post-production producer who also enjoys writing, reading and being artsy crafty. She met her handsome husband in college at the sweet age of 22, moved to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 25, and got married last year at the age of 28. She’s interested in learning how to simplify her life, enjoy herself and experience new things. She contemplates going back to college for a graduate degree at least eight times a year. This concludes her bio, which really doesn’t capture her personality, but does state a lot of facts about her. To learn more about Courtney, send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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