It seems unreal that nine years have passed since a quiet, sunny Tuesday morning in 2001. As vivid as the events of the day were, the events of the night and morning before stand out just as much.
On Monday, September 10, 2001, my friends Ray and Pete, my middle school Spanish teacher, and I were en route to the Bronx to sit in our teacher’s behind-the-plate seats. The night seemed like it was going to be absolutely perfect for baseball. It had that warm-but-comfortable feel of early September, the feeling before the breezes take over and the cool, crisp air of October settles in.
While it didn’t mean much at the moment, there is one thing that now dominates my memory of the night of September 10. As we were exiting I-87 to the streets, this song came onto the radio. Little did I know how the first few words of the chorus would ring just the next day.
Eventually, the game was rained out. Upon exiting Yankee Stadium II, my party and I actually crossed pass with Jordana Brewster, who was dating Derek Jeter at the time. When I got home, I remember watching the Giants and Broncos play Monday Night Football–Ed McCaffery broke his leg.
The next morning was a continuation of my first week at Greenwich High School. After being dropped off in front of the school–for some reason I can’t remember if it was by bus or by car–I walked towards the entrance, looking at the dying and drying puddles on the ground, looked at the glowing blue sky from which clouds seemed completely absent. “Wow, perfect day,” I thought. “Anything’s better than what we had last night.”
Just about an hour and a half after that, life for everyone changed in a way that we never saw coming. Pieces of that day are what I remember most: it happened when I was in biology class, though I didn’t find out until “World Themes” (social studies with a fancy name). My friend Phil said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. While I knew that was bad, I figured “Okay, it was an accident.” Then he corrected me, and told me that it was two planes, one in each tower; that’s when I knew something had gone horribly, horribly wrong on a gorgeous morning.
I remember being in Learning Center (study hall with a fancy name), trying with a friend to connect to BBC.com and get as much news as we could. That’s the first time of many we saw footage of a plane hitting the tower. Everyone in Room 302 was huddled around one computer as my friend clicked video footage and each of us gasped at the sight. Just a few minutes later, the school’s principal–a little elvish looking woman of whom I have barely any memories but her voice on a loud speaker as she left the school before I graduated–came on the loud speaker to tell us the rumors, that the Twin Towers had fallen, that the Pentagon had been attacked, and that another plane had been hijacked and crashed, were true. The rest of the day was a terrible blur of sadness and fear.
There is no way, obviously, for us to go back and erase what happened. There is no way to even hypothesize about how the world would be different had that day been just another day. Each time I go to New York, I’m reminded of something that is missing. Each time I go to the beach here in town, I look towards New York and still notice the hole in the skyline.
I’m not sure if any of us who can remember that day so clearly will ever fully process or recover from what happened on September 11, 2001. For those of us–obviously you if you’re reading this piece–baseball helped play a key part in making us feel at least a little better than we did. The 2001 World Series may have had a disappointing result for us as Yankee fans, but as a catharsis for the city and the metropolitan area it was near perfect.
So, of course, today, if you’re the praying type, keep the families of victims in your prayers. If you’re the thinking type, keep them in your thoughts today. No matter what invisible political, religious, social, or moral flags we fly over our heads, we’re all mature enough to put those things aside and come together in remembrance. That, along with rooting for the Yankees to win, is something we can all agree on.
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