Nine years ago today I woke up to a stunningly beautiful September morning in Connecticut. It was sunny, clear and crisp and fall was in the air. Summer was trying to hang on, and I was looking forward to the day since Anne and I would have the office to ourselves. Our colleagues were on the road in Washington and Pennsylvania, and I’d be spending the day pulling things together to join them in the capitol the next day.
Just a couple hours later the whole day changed, and the whole world changed with it. September 11th rocked me to the core. It took years for me to overcome the anxiety I felt when remembering that day.
Living in densely populated Fairfield County I was surrounded by people who worked in the city. My typical evening commute was characterized by driving bumper to bumper on I-95 or being crammed like a sardine on the outbound New Haven commuter train. But that afternoon, the afternoon of September 11th, the interstate was empty. The trains weren’t running. The emptiness combined with the silence of no flights overhead was eerie and surreal. I will never forget.
My heart continued to break with each passing moment as the reality of the events sunk in. As Anne and I listened to coverage on the radio and helped our colleagues find a way to get back home we just couldn’t visualize the destruction the terrorists had left in their wake. It was truly unbelievable. Only that night as I sat in my living room in tears watching coverage of the day’s events, did I start to realize the hole that had been carved out of our country.
To this day I am grateful for two things. One is that I had Anne with me that day. I could not have made it through without her. And two, that I was able to go into Manhattan many times over the next several years, watch it heal, and help it grow stronger.
I fell in love with New York City when I lived there in the early 90s, and I fell in love with it all over again a decade later beginning on September 11th, 2001. Love is the only thing I know that heals loss.