- September 11, 2014
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Community & Friendship
This day, the anniversary of the September 11 Attacks, wakes me with a sinking feeling.
I remember the day clearly even though it has now been 13 years.
I was just starting my day at the time of the first attack. My neighbor, and good friend, was calling me on the phone. I thought her call was to say that her son did not need a ride to school that day… I wish that it was to say that her son did not need a ride.
She and many others had called to tell me to turn on the television. Something that I never did before school. The news was horrific.
I felt a sense of disbelief like so many other people.
Then I felt panic.
I live 3000 miles away from Ground Zero but I had family on their way to work in the city on the day of these fateful September 11 attacks, and some already there.
I grew up in New York and it is all a very big part of my history.
As a girl, my mother would often take my grandmother, my sister and I into the city to see “a show” and explore.
We always just said “a show” as people back east don’t usually say “we are going to see a Broadway play.”
On these wonderful days we would explore FAO Schwarz, Central Park, and anything else that was of interest.
I remember at FAO my grandmother wanted me to have a gift but I did not want her to spend the money. Bubble bath in a fancy car container was my choice. I kept that container for years even after it was empty, dried, and cracked.
I remember The Plaza for the beautiful lobby and how grown up I felt drinking Tea and eating croissants with fancy jams. At the Tea Room I remember my grandmother getting excited at seeing the actors of her time. I ate a bowl of sour cream with cucumbers because I did not recognize anything else on the menu. I loved Tavern on The Green for it’s location. Of course, I have no idea what I ate.
We would see famous people in the streets and the taping of soap operas, including One Life to Live. I remember a scene on The Plaza steps with Bo Buchanan and one of his many love interests. This was part of our life. It was what we did and it was wonderful. We did all of this with my grandmother. Later, I did all of this, and more, alone with my grandmother. The Rockettes were her favorite.
My grandmother worked in The World Trade Center.
I loved to go to work with her. Sitting in the window of her office and looking out at the city was a fond memory. I admired all of the activity that would happen 80 plus stories below. I would imagine wonderful stories for all of the people on the streets of one of the most wonderful cities in the world.
My grandmother was afraid to go to work.
She was a strong woman who was afraid to take the elevator to such a high floor. She hated that I sat all day in that window. My grandmother was afraid I would fall out, I loved that thrill of looking down even though it scared me, as well. More than that I loved watching my grandmother be a woman of the world.
I loved to watch her in her office. I admired her and I always looked at that building with love of my grandmother in my heart.
That building is gone. The September 11 attacks have obliterated it.
I visited Ground Zero many years after the attack. As I walked I got more and more nervous about what I would see and how I would feel.As I got closer I got more emotional. As I looked at the street, that used to hold the people that I daydreamed about, I was overwhelmed.
It is so sad to think of all that was destroyed that day. I feel awful thinking of the 1600 people that lost their spouses. It is worse to think about the fact that over 3,000 kids lost their parent.
I was lucky, my family survived.