A day in the old country

I worked in Manhattan then. My mother called and said don’t go in, a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I turned on the need in time to see the second impact. I grew up on a rise before the Passaic river, where the two steel fingers of the towers were always visible over the trees. My stomach sank when the first one fell and plummeted when the other followed.
A week later I was back on the bus to Manhattan, watching the island smolder like the end of a cigarette in a condemned man’s lip for the next sixty days.
Twelve years later, the cold fist no longer clenches in my stomach at the memory, but the impressions remain. Chill echoes in the empty sky where the towers stood and holes where the people had lived. Our first taste of war up close, on our own soil.
Warren Zevon and Hunter S Thompson wrote “You’re a whole different person when you’re scared.”
In many ways we’re a different country, since that day. One with PTSD.

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2 thoughts on “A day in the old country

  1. I was driving across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge as the Pentagon was on fire. I drove up on sidewalks to get back to my job as a security officer at the DOJ. I remember finding out a co-worker had a wife who lost all her fingers in the DC attack. She placed her hands over her face as the flames shot toward her. Yeah. I remember. And a lot more I won’t forget.

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