--> Gill Blog: September 11: Two Years On

Gill Blog

Thursday, September 11, 2003

September 11: Two Years On

I remember the moment so well. It was a little past nine in the morning of September 11, 2001 and I was rushing to get out of my brother's house for a midday meeting in midtown. There was no time for a real breakfast, so I lifted one of my nieces' Klondike bars out of the freezer. I walked over to the den, turned on the tv, and while clutching the Klondike bar between my teeth so I could free my hands to tie my shoes, I saw everything unfold in front of me. I don't have to describe the range of emotions I felt, because I think for the most part we all felt them. What occurred to me, however, was my brother and my sister in law had taken a 7:30 train into the city (their house is in New Haven County) for meetings and bank appointments in lower Manhattan. After about an hour or so, I tried to make contact with no luck. By noon, still no word. I was beginning to think about the unthinkable. Fortunately, they both arrived back at the house by 2 (as it turned out, an early morning squabble between the two of them caused them to miss their morning train).

Within 5 minutes of their arrival, I got into the car with my sister in law. Her first instinct? We have to go give blood. We drove down the main drag of town, and eventhough only a few hours seperated us from the moment the first plane struck, it seemed that the entire town of Hamden Connecticut had put their own DR plan into action. Moms with babies in strollers were handing out 1-page instruction sheets they had just got printed from Kinkos to people through their car windows. Seniors were directing motorists to emergency stations that had been set up for people to donate blood, clothing, food, or money. The town had rallied together and vividly demonstrated the depth of the human spirit.

I suppose we were all so focussed on how to best contribute to that moment, that we still were unable to grasp the magnitude of what had happened just south of where we were. Reality began sinking in by the dinner hour, when local hospitals (who earlier in the day had cleared their emergency rooms in anticipation of an overflow of patients from Manhattan) quietly resumed their normal operations. There would be no patients coming in from New York.

We remember a terrible day, 9.11, but our sense of resilience and our collective need for continuity allows us to forge ahead.


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