It 's Friday the 13th. Mean anything to you? Doesn't to me, but I was thinking about what I wanted to write today and after a week of a virtual news onslaught here in New York City about 9/11, I reached the proverbial fork in the road. Would I write a column that was entirely devoid of any reference to 9/11 or would I follow what seems to be the norm for most columnists and journalists this week--that is, touch the subject?
My colleague, Tracey Miller-Segarra, editor in chief of Electronic Accountant, just did a rather moving piece on what transpired a year ago and I had no way I was going to try and top that. Actually, no one could ever top the horror of what actually happened.
In my family, there were two of us who were eyewitnesses to this nasty slice of history. My office is a few blocks from where the World Trade Center stood and we watched the horror of it all right from a big picture window in one of our conference rooms. We actually saw people jump from 90 floors up. I think the only other time I felt a similar knot in my stomach and admittedly, I was much younger at the time, was the day Franklin Roosevelt died. The taxi driver pulled over to the side of the road, slumped over the wheel, and wept uncontrollably.
My daughter, Michele, who is a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve, works two blocks from the towers. She was in her office when the planes struck and had to evacuate immediately, or is that an understatement?
The smoke and odor almost rendered her unconscious when she rushed out of her building to run, literally race, north to escape what was happening. She trudged for miles and then across the Brooklyn Bridge, pausing every now and then to look back and to witness something that she said had to be a movie, except that it wasn't. "It can't be real. It can't be."
Our office was shut down within the hour and I started walking uptown away from the disaster, past St. Vincent's Hospital where the first of the victims were being brought, and watched the cots lining up outside the building. This scene too I had seen in a movie.
I don't want to even view those film clips anymore. Enough is enough. However, it won't leave my mind. It's something akin to people who ask me why I don't take a camera with me when I go away on trips. My answer is that I don't want to waste time peering through a lens, lining up shot after shot. I would rather photograph with my mind so that it becomes indelible. Michele and I don't need film clips to tell us what we have seen first-hand, and not via television, although in retrospect, maybe I would have preferred it that way.
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