Thursday, September 11, 2014

Things Could Have Been Different…


Another year has come and gone and I can still remember the chaos that surrounded us all on this day 13 years ago. The memories, which I wrote about on this blog last year, still remain and the emotions that flooded both my heart and mind, while faded, still linger. I was one of the lucky ones in that I didn’t know anyone who lost their life as the Manhattan skyline forever changed but, unfortunately, I know many who have since lost their lives in resulting wars.

I think about them from time to time and wonder if I had been able to make it through basic training. I wonder how things would have been different if my body had held up. These are the thoughts that crowd my mind during this day. I guess you could say that I am also fortunate in this regard as well because if I wasn’t discharged the following summer, there is no guarantee that I would be here today.

This is a day of remembrance and reflection for me. Even having working in Manhattan for a number of years, I have only been to ground zero once. However, I can remember the chill that came over me changing trains in Brooklyn… do I take the A, C, or E to work today? I remember that year, I couldn’t take the E, I had to take the A train and get to mid-town as quickly as possible. While it wasn’t necessarily logical, I couldn’t bring myself to walk onto the E train as it waited for passengers at the station.

Now, far removed from those days in New York City, I was sitting and talking with my colleagues about where they were that morning. Some of us were in college, a couple were working, and a few were still sitting in their grade school classes not fully comprehending what was happening as the events unfolded. I guess you could say that none of us could comprehend at the time.

For the first time, I am witnessing the change in the perception of events that I so vividly lived through. The age gap is slowly widening and I am meeting more and more people for whom the memory of this day seems more of the abstract variety rather than the visceral. I will never forget that day and I will forever be grateful for the twists that occurred in my life since then that not only allows me to look back but appreciate all that has changed, all that has happened, and all that could have been different.