I'm taking a break from the food today to share a memory. There's so much more I can say here but for now this will have to do...
We were living and working in New York City on September 11, 2001, the day the world changed. I was in my office on 45th and 6th, my husband was in his down in Union Square. As I sit here now, the weather outside my window is eerily similar to that day...beautiful, cool, crisp.
I remember that morning like it was yesterday, my husband left early for work while I hung back to finish sprucing up. Right before I walked out the door, I read aloud (to myself) my Pop-pop's prayer card I had taped to a mirror. He passed away in May 2001. I had never done that before (I mean read his prayer card out loud) but for some reason that morning I did. The words give me chills to this day:
I arise today through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me
God's wisdom to guide me
God's eye to look before me
God's ear to hear me
God's word to speak for me
God's hand to guard me
God's way to lie before me
God's shield to protect me
God's host to secure me
Against snares, against temptations, against vices and inclinations of nature.
Against everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
I left my apartment.
I remember getting on the 6 train, it was as crowded as ever. I was standing holding onto the pole - thinking about the day ahead. The guy next to me had blood on his collar, I could see he had nicked himself shaving. I felt bad for him as I wasn't sure he knew of the blood on his shirt. I looked away. I got off the train at Grand Central Station, made my way up the escalator, through the masses and out the door. I walked west to my office, key tagged in, up the elevator to the 6th floor, said my morning hellos and took my seat - I was ready to work.
My co-worker's phone rang, "What? A plane just hit one of the towers?" We thought for sure it was a horrible accident, a small plane veering off course. The phones began ringing like crazy, the TV's went on and it was that moment we knew something was terribly wrong.
We gathered and watched, none of us knew what to do. I called my husband, my mom and my dad. My sister worked in the same building. I ran down to her floor, we left the building and headed north towards the park. Everyone was heading north. The fire trucks and rescue workers...went south.
On our way to the apartment we stopped off at Dorrian's, a restaurant and bar on the upper east side. It was packed with people not sure where to go. No orders were being taken - the staff simply brought us out food. I recall being handed a chicken sandwich while watching the President speak on TV. I remember seeing a guy walk past the window of the restaurant crying... I wondered where he was going. I didn't touch my food. People were lined up on the street cheering the emergency vehicles ...still heading south.
That's it. We went home, eventually fell asleep and awoke the next morning to a new reality. I was scared. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I honesty sat in my bed on September 12th wondering if it had all been a terrible dream. That could not have happened, right?
Turns out it did happen. I was 25 years old in 2001. It took me a quarter of a century to finally witness pure evil and at the same time...understand the true meaning of heroism.