Almost 9 years ago, I was awakened by the sound of my husband pounding up the stairs, two at a time, shouting to turn on the television. I groggily got up and followed him to the TV. Screaming, smoke, confusion…I didn’t know what I was looking at. Father was on the phone with his mother. He explained: a plane – the big kind – had flown into one of the World Trade Towers. I stood there horrified while babies played at my feet. After about ten minutes he went back downstairs. I was still staring transfixed at the screen when there were fresh shouts and screams and the camera swiveled around in the sky. My heart in my throat, I watched another plane slide into the remaining tower. My screams brought my husband and he held me while we stood there in disbelief. We realized the first plane had not been an accident. I looked at him and wondered if the world was coming to an end. My oldest pulled on my legs and asked why Mommy was crying. Her innocent face. How do you explain this to a two-year-old child? I told her a lot of people had been hurt and Mommy was very sad. The reports and the horror did not end. The towers collapsed on top of any survivors and the rescuers. Another plane crashed in Pennsylvania. [We lived in Pennsylvania, close to New York.] Another plane into the Pentagon. All flights grounded.
I reported to the hospital early that day. Our three hospitals were some that were designated to receive transfers from New York hospitals to make room for the thousands of expected wounded.
They didn’t come.
Cars stood abandoned at local bus stations. The people in our community who had taken them to New York never came home to claim them. I still have the newspapers from the fourteen days following September 11th, showing the bleak faces of the bus station personnel, the portraits of the dead.
My cousin, who worked in the Towers, was not heard from
until a few days later when the call got through.
And St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which had stood in the shadow of the Towers,
was completely buried.
Now, the Port Authority wants to build a mosque and Muslim cultural center. A monument to Islam. A monument to the faith so adhered to by the Muslim hijackers that they took more than three thousand innocent people with them to their deaths.
And they are blocking the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church,
which still owns the scarred land on which it once stood.
Lord Have Mercy!!!