Today is always a hard day. For those of us who were in NYC on 9/11 the day itself was crazy and the days that followed were the hardest. On 9/11 I remember being around strangers who all grabbed each other as we watched the towers fall and how everyone I passed that day just looked at me and said, “What the fuck?” I remember later in the day as a group of F-15s flew over and thinking we are at war. I tried to call my mom all day and couldn’t get a signal out and when I finally could she told me she had passed out when she heard what happened for fear I was at the train station at WTC.
My phone was filled with voicemails from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time making sure I was ok. The days that followed found me watching women on the train with missing person signs for husbands who were never coming home, signs on the cars of the people who lived in the building next to mine who had all died, and the smell. The smell is something I will never forget, sweet and burnt. I also remember how the city came together.
My station, WNEW, did not take a commercial break and we all basically lived there and fielded phone calls, going on air to ask for things like dog booties for the rescue for days. We sent beer to the workers and I organized a pub crawl weeks later to help keep the bars downtown in business. I went to many police benefits with my pal Ben Sparks, where Guinness was drunk and bagpipes filled the bar and men cried.
The first Friday night after 9/11 two of us walked down Broadway in the middle of the street and wondered if it would ever be the same again. I remember being proud that NYC was my adopted home and proud to be an American. I realized that although we have our differences when the chips are down we come together and are an amazing country. So today, think about those that died, their families, the people of NYC, and how 15 years ago our country came together like it hadn’t since Pearl Harbor, think how great we really are and try not to dwell on our difference, even if it just for today.