Monday, September 11, 2006
Story Behind It
It has been five years since the sad day of Sep 11, 2001.
The above photo was taken on the Sunday morning of Sep 9th, 2001, when I took my parents onto the cruise around Manhattan island. The twin towers at the far right of the photo, which my hand was happily pointing to, would be no more in 48 hours.
That Tuesday morning, my parents woke me up to tell me that one of the twin towers was on fire. I looked outside my window of a highrise building at the waterfront of Jersey city and saw fire on top of Tower One.
It had to be office fire. I assured my parents and told them to stay calm. "Firefighters will put them out soon." Our TV was broken, I got no news. I forgot to check the computer. I took the shower and got ready to go to work.
By that time the second town was hit by a plane already. My parents were dumbfounded and my mother was in tears. We did not know we were witnessing history at that time.
I was loyal and stupid enough to decide to go to work, walking through the crowd outside the office tower in Pavonia Newport and got on the last path train to 33 street. It would took me the next 8 hours trying to get back.
Path train to the station of World Trade center was still running at that time. No one knows what was exactly happening.
When I got above the ground and walked 15 minutes toward my office on 40th and Madison, I felt a werid vibe in the atmosphere. Midtown was not impacted yet by what was happening downtown.
I got into elevator, two of my co-workers were hugging and crying.
"The towers collapsed." I was bursting into tears.
At that evening, when all other transportation stopped and we had to take the ferry across Hudson river to come home. I saw the south end of my beloved island covered with dark cloud, a open wound that was too fresh.
On the river, World Trade 7 collapsed in front of my eyes like a nightmare. I was crying silently. I was crying tonight, re-watching the live video of that morning.
For 2 weeks, we smelled the burning smell brought over from ground zero to the Jersey side by the west wind.
There was now only void and emptiness in the part of the sky that I used to look into at night, before I feel into sleep. That sky used to have the fantastic profile of the twin tower, shining at night. They dominated my view, at night, the first of New York city since I moved from Memphis.
I used to think: They were so sleek and confident, they will be there for a long long time. They will be there long after I am gone. Would they remember me like I will remember them from my window, at night, a Chinese immigrant girl who looks at them with awe and admiration, the young and pround symbol of this new home city of mine.
They were gone too soon. Maybe because they are perfect, tall, straight, honest and defenseless. But the city was back. This city won't bend for anything.
Five years have passed. Much have happened. We don't forget, we still hurt.
Concrete and construction might not last, vows and promises might not last, but the belief and feeling of heart will, memory of love will, while we strive to get better and stronger.
September 11, 2001, I was living in New York. I still do.
I will forever live here, in certain way.