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Where were you on 9/11?
Trisha and I were in our New York apartment watching the TODAY show, waiting for an author who had written a biography about Howard Hughes. Then the news broke that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers. When the second plane hit, we realized it was a terror attack and in disbelief and bewilderment we joined many of our fellow New Yorkers who flooded onto the streets. Our shock turned to despair after we tried giving blood in Midtown later that morning, only to be told there was no need.
New York, a city whose trademark is a nonstop cacophony of noise, was eerily silent. We watched as hundreds of survivors, many covered with ash made the several miles walk to the Queensborough Bridge, a few blocks from where we lived. For hour that alone played out as a grim, almost post-apocalyptic march home.
9/11 was by far the single worst day in our 26 years of living in New York. But the few weeks that followed were the greatest ever. New Yorkers were united. Differences that had separated us were temporarily forgotten, we were all simply Americans. It was a unity forged from a great, shared tragedy. And everyone tried helping in any way they could. For us, that turned out eventually to be a book published two years later about how the FBI and CIA had missed the warning signs and had failed to prevent the attack.
As with our friends with whom we shared that singular experience, we can never forget, nor do we want to.