Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago I was undergoing a routine medical test when the incredible happened. It was just about 9AM when I exited the totally enclosed (no windows) lab room and walked into a waiting area that was overlooking a usually quiet cross-town street in midtown Manhattan. There, I was supposed to be met by a friend, who was scheduled to accompany me home, as recommended by the laboratory.

It took just seconds to notice the large number of people scurrying outside, while someone inside was blabbering that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. Was it an accident? How did it happen? What was going on?

The questions began to fly around the room as additional news were being received and spread around, including, at a certain point, the order to evacuate the premises I was in because the building was being shut down. Meantime, a hurried doctor had shared with me the good results of my test. Although still a bit light headed, I stepped outside and decided to just wait for my friend to arrive in front of the building, as the stream of people was rushing by, seemingly with no sense of direction. I began to realize the extent of the event when I, and my friend, headed toward my apartment, further uptown.

The flux of humanity in the streets and avenues kept on growing, while the public transport was coming to a halt. It was impossible to even think of taking a bus, so we walked. That day I was also supposed to vote in a primary election, but the voting place was shut down by the time I got to my neighborhood, and the local supermarket turned out to be a place of pure bedlam.

Although I did not suffer a direct, personal loss that day, what I still distinctly remember is the terrible smell of the smoldering ruins that permeated the entire city, and kept on seeping into open windows for a long time, while the stench of death that surrounded the city morgue, saturated the nearby streets for months, due to the make up tents set up to hold thousands of remains.

While I reacted calmly on 9/11, I actually felt the brunt of this event the day after, when, for the first time in my life, and quite abruptly, I had a weird, stirring sensation in my chest that made me rush to my doctor's office, who performed an EKG. It turned out to be just an awful, disturbing experience.

To date, and especially throughout this past week of intense replays of recorded experiences, 9/11 resurfaces to evoke great emotions not only in the ones personally involved, but continues to have vast resonance throughout the entire world.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the ones who have endured and still suffer the consequences of this destructive event, while I wish that sense of harmony and togetherness could persist among people without having to set in only during times of catastrophes.

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