I can still remember what I was doing 19 years ago when the first two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Growing up in the suburb of Manhattan, my father and many other friends’ parents were working in New York City. That morning, my father specifically told us that he has to be in the City (we usually call Manhattan “the City”) for a business meeting in downtown. Then he dropped off my sister and me at the high school.
I had just began my senior year in high school, so that morning, we had a senior assembly with the school principal. Our principal was in mid-sentence when someone came into the auditorium and interrupted her with an emergency news. She was silent for a moment and closed her eyes a little bit. Then she opened up. “Guys, the World Trade Center was just attacked this morning. Planes crashed into them. Please everyone go back to your homerooms and wait for further instructions.”
Needless to say, there was a huge commotion in the auditorium and then when I walked out into the hallway, everyone was flooding out of the rooms to get to the homerooms and trying to call home. Many of the students’ parents at my school worked in the City, and some worked at the World Trade Center (“WTC”). It was a gloomy day. I also called home and found out that my father found out about the attacks before he left New Jersey, so he was safe.
Thank the Lord.
Because I lived so close to WTC, and I lived through the tragedy, 9/11 feels more dear to me than any other national commemorative days.
Since I have been living abroad for the past few years, I wasn’t able to visit the Ground Zero on 9/11. So this year, I decided to pay a visit to commemorate the victims and the first responders who served to rescue the victims. Because it was during the pandemic, they closed off the area in the afternoon until about 3:30 PM to the general public. After 3:30, they had a one-way direction for the visitors and social distancing measures in place. They also required everyone to wear a mask over the nose and over the chin for a safe visit.
Just as we expected, Ground Zero was not crowded with people this year due to the pandemic. But there were still plenty of people visiting to pay respects to the innocent people who died during this tragic event.
The beams were still on to pay tribute to the terrorist attacks 19 years ago.