Ese día hace 10 años. Remembering Sept. 11

Qué rápido se han pasado 10 años.

Como todo el mundo, recuerdo perfectamente el momento que me enteré, la hora, la reacción y el shock de ese día que cambió al mundo. I had not revisited it and had even forgotten about it a little, pero esta semana las noticias y los medios han hecho un recuento y es difícil evitar el tema. Este domingo 11 de Septiembre será un dia solemne aquí en Estados Unidos y creo que todos haremos algún tipo de reflexión acerca de cómo hemos pasado esta última década, cómo nos ha cambiado la vida y por supuesto hacer oración por todas las almas de las personas que perdimos ese día.

As my personal recount, I remember that morning when my aunt gave me the news. She had just turned on the television. The first person who called me afterwards was my best friend Alex Munguía. The Towers were burning but still standing. He kept repeating “I can’t believe it…I can’t believe it…” I asked him if he had anybody flying that day. “No, thank God.” Then we remembered we had been there at the towers exactly one year prior, Sept. 11 in the year 2000, before 9 am, our first tourist stop on a weekend visit to New York. We had seen people working early, riding up the speedy elevators and browsing the gift and coffee shops on the 110th floor. I could not stop thinking about the lady who worked at one of the bathrooms by the observatory deck and who had said “Buenos Dias”…and asked where I was from, we spoke a little, she was very nice. So she was on my mind immediately, and I prayed for her….Then we saw the first tower fall, as we were both watching tv, and just gasped. Neither of us could speak so we had to hang up.

Those were strange days, the weeks and months after. I don’t know how anybody ever recovers from that experience if they were affected by it personally. There is never any closure. Two stories come to mind, which were featured on StroyCorps and NPR. They are very sad, beautiful stories to hear, but important to hear, because they remind us of the fragility of this life. Here is the link to NPR/StoryCorps if you want to listen to them.

This is one of my favorites, but get some kleenex before you watch.

And the New York Times has an excellent compilation of stories and opinion pieces that are worthwhile for reading this weekend. It has published a special section called “The Reckoning: America and the World a Decade After 9/11” and the link is here:

You can also participate in the collective blog post and leave your impressions and memories of that day. It’s very moving and intense to read how it affected all of us in different ways.

Front page for the New York Times Special Section: "A Reckoning: America and the World a Decade After 9/11."

As a personal note, I wanted to add this picture of Alex, who recently passed away in 2009. I took it during that trip when we were on the observatory deck of the World Trade Center, one year before 9/11.  I just couldn’t bring myself to the edge to see the view. But he went to the railing and just looked out there, he was so happy. He use to love this picture and had it framed in his office.  We were so lucky to have been there and seen New York City from above, in all its glory. It is a moment I will never forget.

Alex on top of the world at World Trade Center in New York City, Sept. 2000.

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