On the morning of 9/11 I was living on the 28th floor of a 30 story building on East 40th Street in New York City. From my living room window I had a clear view of the World Trade Center. In fact, I once watched as a man climbed up the side of one tower years earlier. The phone rang. It was my friend, Tom Cooper, a Wall Street broker who was a fellow reporter for an online GI JOE fan site called Real American Hero. He told me that there had been an explosion in one of the towers. I rushed to the roof of my building and could see the black smoke streaming across the sky like a billowing banner that, over the next few hours, would become a black ribbon stretching all the way to Long Island.
I watched in horror and disbelief as the plane struck the second tower. Watched as one and then the other tower crashed to the ground sending a huge gray cloud through the streets of lower Manhattan.
Tom and I began reporting the events on the RAH website and in the hours, days, weeks, and months that followed we told the story from our personal point of view. Our reports were picked up and repeated by other websites around the world.
At the time I was an on call grief counselor for the Red Cross and in the days that followed I worked with both survivors and those seeking survivors.
My job as a counselor went on for years as I worked with the firefighters and rescue workers who were emotionally devastated by the loss of their comrades and their inability to do more.
I have many sad memories from those days. Perhaps the worst was working with a group of children who had found each other during their search for their parents. They were all children of single parents and now they were orphaned by this horrific event.
Tom was a volunteer at Ground Zero and today has many physical problems caused by working in the toxic rubble. We both still have terrible memories of that day and all that followed in its wake.
And nine years later they are as vivid as the day they took place. The pain of loss and the grieving go on. We honor the dead but the survivors must carry their sorrow for the rest of their lives.