|Photo by K38 Rescue, courtesy of Flickr|
Sept 11, 2011. The worst day on American soil
I remember when the Twin Towers were being built… I was very young, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember going with my Dad on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan to see the “new Twin Towers” that had been finally completed. It was an exciting day! 110 stories soaring up into the heavens.
The Empire State Building had the Old New York charm and was pretty spectacular at night all lit up — but when the Twin Towers were finished, it was incredible. Two modern tall silver sticks shooting up into the sky and when lit up at night — WOW. So dramatic and electrifying. They stood for luster. They stood for pride.
We took the elevator up to the observation deck. (First the indoor level at 107th…. then the outdoor/roof level!) I will never forget that elevator ride. I turned to my father and asked him why my stomach felt like it had dropped out below the floor. (It was the beginning of a life-long battle with motion sickness.)
When the elevator doors opened up onto the 107th floor, high above NYC — a 360 degree panoramic view awaited us. You couldn’t even see cars or people or anything below---Just the occasional city bus that resembled a matchbox vehicle.
And the Hudson. And the East River on the other side. The water. The city that we forget is surrounded by water. Manhattan ISLAND is yes, an ISLAND! And despite the crowds and the smells and the pushing and shoving — it is indeed a spectacular city.
The roof level was just as wonderful in a different way. One could almost touch the clouds above. And ironically, the airplanes going by above our heads seemed just a tad too low for comfort.
When I heard about the Towers being demolished on 9/11/01 — I felt a tug at my heart. All of these innocent lives were lost and our naivety about feeling safe and removed from any kind of war was shattered forever.
And I was shattered in a new way. There was a permanent scar on my childhood. As there was on all of us Native New Yorkers who grew up admiring all the magical, tall buildings that seemed invincible.
I love New York. And my heart goes out to every New Yorker who feels the loss of these sky-scraping icons.
And of course, much more so — my heart bleeds for every victim and their families. None of us could imagine the horror they must endure every year on this day.
Joe Symon is a writer, director and performer. He is originally from Brooklyn and resides in Los Angeles.