This year was the first year that I voyaged the 1 hour train ride into Manhattan. Usually, my father and I take NJ Transit to Newark Penn Station and from there take the PATH to the WTC station. I have gone to Ground Zero every year, but this time was different. We did not go to the WTC. We went to 9th Street on the PATH.
Today is the time I reflect; the notorious "what if" questions come to mind. About a week or so before 9/11, I was at the top, the Windows Of The World, my father and sisters among the many who went to the sky. We gazed across the city on a perfect blue sun shined day, we were on top of the world. Alas, it was an experience, that I look back upon with admiration, because it was the only time I visited the Towers (BTW, I have a 100% fear of heights). When 9/11 came round and the soulless terrorists destroyed NY, I could only wonder, "what if this happened a week earlier?" apparently, it was not my time to go, I was fated to live.
My uncle (not Beak), worked at the building directly next to the Twin Towers and was there when the planes hit. Immediately after the first plane hit, he fled the scene, not really knowing what was going on until later. I didn't know that the building he worked in was so close to the Towers until we went back to Ground Zero. FYI, his building was one that remained intact, less the windows. Fortunately, everyone in my family and close family friends were safe.
From 9/11, we have learned the frailty of life, morality, humanity. We as a nation have learned grief in the hardest way, and we should never forget what happened. We learned unity to the truest extent- people in the Midwest, south, west, southwest, and any other spot, felt the pain that NY, NJ, PA, and even CT did and showed an outstretched arm of compassion.
I urge everyone to live everyday to the fullest, whether it bring you joy to see a movie, climb Everest, or write music. Because now we have proof that something unexpected can happen on any given day; 9/11 up until 2001, was just an ordinary day.