All of us have memories of where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was in the shower when my wife told me with obvious distress that “a small plane or maybe a helicopter just crashed into one of the towers.” I knew exactly which “towers” where, over the years, I had had many meetings, including several during a breakfast or lunch. I toweled off, joined her, and we watched the CNN coverage as a jetliner crashed into the second tower. For the next 45 minutes, I could not believe what I was watching, especially when the first and then the second tower collapsed. I was paralyzed and hypnotized by what I watched on television throughout that day.
We tried without success to reach our daughter whose office was about a mile from the World Trade Center. All circuits were tied up until that evening. She contacted us later, as soon as she could, and told us she saw the first jetliner hit just as she emerged from the subway and saw the second hit while watching from her office window. Soon after, all of the buildings in the area were evacuated and she walked home to her apartment on West 85th Street.
I will never forget that terrible morning which I experienced only as an observor, nor can I possibly comprehend the terror of those who were trapped on the upper floors and the grief of their loved ones that continues until this day. To paraphrase Aaron’s prayer,
“May the LORD bless them and keep them; may the LORD make his face to shine upon them and be gracious to them; and may the LORD lift up his countenance upon them and give them peace.”