5 Years: The World Stood Still

| September 12, 2006 | 3 Comments

This is a food blog. But every so often there is something so important it finds it way into these pages. This is one of those things.

It was 5 years ago today, and it still seems like just yesterday. It was everywhere on television, radio, newspapers and internet that day, and again today. You can’t ignore it. You cannot miss it. It’s reality. It is our reality. Five years ago today, terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing one into the Pentagon, two into the World Trade Centers and one in Pennsylvania, thanks to some very brave people.

It was 5 years ago today that the world came to a screeching halt around us.

Where were you when it happened? Where were you when you heard?

Me?

I was on a train, running very late for work. It was my last week working for a New York directory publisher and I had intended on heading down to the World Trade Center that morning to grab breakfast and eat on the plaza. But I had missed my alarm, then my train and was desperately late. I called my boss, but had the worst time getting through. Finally I reached her and told her I would be late. She said not to come. At the time, I thought she was angry at my lateness.

The MTA conductor told us there had been an accident, a plane had hit the World Trade Center. They didn’t know many details. It was only later through spurts of cell conversations that the other passengers and I discovered that it wasn’t one but two planes and we, as a country were under attack. It wasn’t a single engine Cessna. They were full sized airline planes, filled with innocent people and they smashed into buildings filled with innocent people. Do you see a theme here?

I made it into the city that morning, albeit for just a few moments. I left the train for seconds before deciding to head home and reentering. Shortly after, I stood with the conductor and other passengers in the last car of the train as it pulled out of the tunnel into daylight. We watched the plume of smoke rise up into the air, clouding the skyline we all loved yet took for granted. It grew smaller and smaller till it disappeared from the horizon.

Tears still spring to my eyes when I see the images and hear the sad stories of child who will never know their moms and dads. Five years later, I am still crying for all the souls lost that day.

But I made a decision that Sept. 11 will not be a stigma for me or for my family. We will not let the world stand still every year because of this. I think I said it best in a letter to the editor that was published in the New York Times in August 2004:

My fiancé and I chose to be married on Sept. 11, 2004, because we cannot live in
fear of what was. As a country, we must move ahead while never forgetting what
happened three years ago.

Some people are surprised by our choice.

I can say only this: my loved ones and I were personally touched by the terrorist
attacks, and we decided that it’s time. Sept. 11 is a day just like Feb. 26,
April 19, June 6 or Nov. 22.

Forgiving the date isn’t neglecting what happened or forgetting those who died; it’s letting the stigma pass and normalcy return.

It’s not letting terrorists sway our lives.

I stand by those words.

Category: Thoughts

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in countless online and print publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Connecticut with her two kids, two beagles and husband.

Comments (3)

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  1. Kalyn says:

    Great post. What a scary experience for you at the time.

  2. Jaay says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine. I know how I felt, how scary the whole chain of events was for me and I’m no where near New York, nor did I know anyone at the time that was in New York.

    As Americans, we were all effected by what happened, it has touched all our lives, but I can’t begin to imagine how I would feel had it effected me in the sense that I saw it first hand or lost anyone close to me. The thought is terrifying.

    Great post, and great outlook on the situation. Happy Anniversary also.

  3. Patti V. says:

    I was touched by this post. I, too, want the world to go on, without forgetting what happened. I applaud your tying the knot on the day. Happy 2nd anniversary!
    Life does indeed go on.
    My husband, who was out of work at the time, and I were home and the TV was tuned to a cable news network.
    We watched the horrifying events unfold from the safety of our suburban home in our quiet neighborhood. And it was such a picture-perfect, sunny September morning.
    I can’t imagine being in NYC that day.
    On this Sept. 11, five years later, my son and I attended a prayer service at our church. In addition to us, it was attended by our pastor, Donna, and three people who attend local Catholic churches. They expressed disappointment that their churches were not marking the day, and gratitude that ours was.
    Thankfully our pastor opened the doors to our church that evening.
    Some may think of Sept. 11 as a day to show patriotism. But as our pastor said, and I tend to agree, it’s a day to remember and to reflect.
    The six of us sat together for a brief while, prayed and talked about our feelings.
    We left, glad that we had attended and hoping that next year a few more souls would be joining us.

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