The next day, a young man, Michael, that had worked for me three months prior but was at that time working down in lower Manhattan across from the World Trade Center, a.k.a. the Twin Towers, came to see me in my office in New Jersey. He was still in shock as we all were. You see, he was one of the survivors you saw walking/running up the streets in New York City to get away from all the debris that was falling from the Twin Towers.
He cried as he described the horror he saw. He personally witnessed jumpers as they leaped from the windows -- some 70, 80 or more stories up -- to avoid the flames. He saw the body parts that were hitting the ground as explosions continued until the towers collapsed.
The billowing smoke could not be seen from where I lived, but there was definitely a discoloration in the sky. For a week the phones in our office did not ring. The average daily call count for one department alone had been 300. The silence was deafening.
Oh, I WILL NEVER FORGET.
May God Bless this country, although I am no longer sure we deserve the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.
It was not until a few days later that I learned our former neighbor, Todd Beamer, was one of the heroes that went down in the plane of flight 93 in a field near Shanksville, Pa. He and some other brave Americans tried to foil the plot to take down the plane.
Todd, his wife and two young sons had lived just down the block from us. They had moved to Cranbury, N.J., just a year or two before. I remember him as he walked with his young sons. The youngest he pushed in a stroller as they walked past our house. I never met his daughter, but then, neither did he. She was born after his death. Our exchanges were brief but I was impressed with him and the love he showed for his sons. I have not forgotten.
Many people, I am sure, have forgotten about the anthrax terror that followed. Not me.
My husband and I still have mail that was forwarded to us that had been in the post office where the anthrax letter was mailed just one week later on the 18th of September.
The post office was the bulk mailing center that serviced all of central New Jersey. It was only a few miles from where I worked in New Jersey. I drove past it every day.
We had just sold our home in Hightstown, N.J., in anticipation of my retirement at the end of the month. I was staying with our son and his family. My husband, Scott, was already enjoying our new retirement home here in Carroll County.
Seeing the building that was large enough to cover the equivalent of one quarter of a city block completely encapsulated in plastic was a steady eerie reminder. It sat empty for 2 or 3 years while the authorities formulated a plan to clean the building up and make it safe once again. Fortunately, the fatality count of those infected was small in comparison to the Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in rural Pennsylvania. It took nearly 3 months but we finally received pieces of our mailm forwarded to us here in Arkansas, encased in plastic with a note that it had been irradiated to kill the anthrax.
Oh yes, I WILL REMEMBER.