Sept 11, 2001. One of the dates that will never be forgotten in our generation’s memories.  Where were you on that fateful day – when everything changed? Suddenly we all felt vulnerable, no longer safe in our own backyard. This is the day the airline industry changed forever. And the day when our trust was shaken to the core.

At the time, I was working at Dupont Canada in Mississauga and we were on a conference call. I even remember who the call was with.  She said, a plane has hit one of the Twin Towers – in a voice of surprise, because of course at that point, we all thought it was an accident. We hung up and tried to take a look at CNN.  Nine years ago we didn’t have Twitter and Facebook, and internet capacity was much slower. I do remember seeing the first photos though.

They set up a television feed in one of the conference rooms downstairs, no one was able to work, especially after the 2nd tower was hit. I remember a sense of panic and fear, I’d never felt like that before. I snuck out for my usual lunch time run, met up with my (now ex) husband to run together. There was an eerie silence all around and in the sky, since all flights had already been grounded.  And the skies stayed quiet for the days that followed.

For the next week or so, we were obsessed with CNN.  We kept watching and listening to find out more about the tragedy. It completely consumed us, and affected us in a way that left a permanent mark on our lives. There were tributes, memorials, stories from those inside, phone calls from the those on the planes and the painful stories of those whose partners, spouses, children, families did not survive. After some time, I was no longer able to watch or listen to any of it – it was too overwhelming and I needed to move on.

I had the chance to visit the site in October of 2006.  Before then, I had no idea of how vast the area of destruction had been.  It was shocking that 5 years later, there was still a gaping hole – an empty space, filled only with construction cranes and the beginning of some foundations. Nine years later, it still doesn’t look like much:

The goal is to have the memorial ready for next year’s 10th anniversary.

Take a moment today to remember where you were on that fateful day.  And perhaps take another few moments to remember those lives that were lost and to be grateful that we are safe and alive, 9 years later.

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