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Where Were You On….

 

9/11?

Do you remember when it was a conversation starter to ask someone that question? Where were you on 9/11? If you are in my age range- age 51- you likely know what I am talking about.

I was 30 years young when 9/11 happened and had moved from The Big Apple to Columbus, Ohio, to work for Victoria’s Secret Stores less than three years prior. My brother, Bryan, lived in NYC and worked for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Yesterday 9/11/22, was the 21st Anniversary of 9/11. I saw posts here and there, as expected—”Never Forget.”

 My husband Ryan feels he didn’t see enough posts. Is that because we have moved on? Lord knows we have enough current challenges to consume our minds and suck up our time. Are people forgetting?

One such IG Story I saw was my 14-year-old niece Sienna Bryn’s. She shared a 9/11 graphic initially posted from the clothing store chain Altered State.

In the full fashion of the memory of it being a conversation starter, I asked her, “Where were you on 9/11?”

She responded, “I’m still aware of what it means.”

Whew, I am glad! I don’t know if they teach it in schools yet, but I dare say many younger people do not understand what it means.

 

However, it will never be the same as actually living it, which goes for any big or small event, tragic or mundane event.

And my experience, even though I was alive and old enough to remember, will certainly not be the same as someone who lived or worked in NYC.

Where was I? I was in my office at Victoria’s Secret in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeff, a planner on my team, had a small tv at his desk. We worked A LOT of very long hours, so no one thought much of anything personal in your desk area—we lived at the office.

Jeff was watching the morning news as I happened to walk by his desk and saw the first tower get hit. I stopped in my tracks, and he commented on it being fake.

That was the assumption from the majority living in the US that we are fortunate that war is usually somewhere else and being bombed isn’t a regular part of our existence.

I looked at him and said, “No, we are being attacked.” Minutes later, I was unfortunately correct. My intuition nailed it.

This week happened to be a week where our NYC-based design team was with us in Columbus. Again, we switched off weeks of traveling back and forth; this time, it was their week to work in Ohio.

I can still hear the screams and cries as the team learned what was happening.  

What made it even more horrifying was our CEO came out and told everyone, “Get back to work.”

I will never forget the look on the VP of HR’s face. How do you respond to the big boss telling you to return to work? Even HR was speechless, and so we did. While the rest of the country scrambled to get gas in their cars, we continued to work.

My heart went out to the design team because not only could my family not get in touch with my brother, but imagine all the others who knew they had loved ones that worked in those buildings or were police officers, firefighters, and more.

TV news of people fleeing the area and the city as fast as possible is sketched in my brain.

The Brooklyn Bridge was flooded with people on foot trying to figure out where to go. All airports were shut down, and people were stranded across the country.

I can only imagine the depth of worry, “Will they bomb again?”

As the towers were not the only things bombed that day.

We all lived in fear for quite some time and years, and perhaps some still live in anxiety or trauma. My heart goes out to them every day.

My friend Georgia and I had booked a trip to London that November. We were told countless times, “We should cancel; we would be crazy to travel.” So we did not cancel; we kept the trip and were grateful it worked out flawlessly.

The younger generation will also never experience what air travel was like before 9/11.

Since I always lived away from my childhood hometown, it’s the warm memories of my dad patiently waiting for me at the gate when my plane landed or sitting with me quietly waiting for my plane to board. Unfortunately, as you know, non-passengers are not allowed in the terminals anymore.

Time spent together was permanently changed that day on many levels.

May we never forget.

_____

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