Anumita recalls the fright, panic and immense sadness of 9/11. Terror attack on the Twin Towers did not just kill people, it killed a part of every person, in America and elsewhere. It has been 15 years. But, the wound bleeds and the hurt is raw. Despite the immense pain and grief, America emerged strong and resolute, united to banish terrorism. Here’s a soulful account by the author of what happened then and the determination of a nation united now, exclusively in Different Truths.
It was barely 6:30 am, and the sun was making its way over the horizon. I carried my hot brew of tea to the sunroom and sat down to enjoy the view through my misted window. My phone pinged, and the date flashed. It was the 9/11. I closed my eyes and the memories of that fateful day rushed in…it was fifteen years ago.
We lived in our apartment then. A two-bedroom on the third floor of a modest neighborhood. The morning was as any other. My younger son was not born, so I had one child to take care of. After sending him off to school, my husband left for work. I decided to chop and dice the vegetables and bag those. Mundane house work.
The phone’s shrill ring got me scampering into the living room to answer it. On the other end my husband was frantic. He was very anxious. He kept asking me to switch the TV on. My heart thumped, as I did what he told.
All hell broke loose as I witnessed the horrific scenes on the TV screen. The phone fell from my hand and I slumped on the sofa. Tears welled up and trickled down my cheeks. I could hear my husband screaming on the phone. Wiping my eyes, I looked up and quickly picked it up and just uttered “Yes” between sobs.
The screen flashed more images of the dark plume of smoke billowing out of the Twin Towers. My husband kept asking, “Is it true, and is it true?” I could only nod and a feeble “Yes” came out of my lips. I clutched the handset closed to me and said, “Please come back home.” He seemed calm. Then the second plane hit the second tower, and I cried out loud, “Oh my God! Oh my God!…They did it again.” I started crying and shaking. All I could think of was the people in those buildings, their loved ones.
In between hiccups I asked if he could come over and get our son back home. My heart was breaking into million pieces. My husband kept a calm voice. He said he will try, but all buildings are on a lock down. He had called the school. The schools are on lock down and will not allow anyone to come near the building. The country was in a state of emergency.
I curled up on the sofa, and cried. The screen of my television blurred and then focused. And then the ultimate tragedy struck. The Twin Towers crumbled down. I was crying out loud over and over again. My husband did not let go off the phone. His voice broke and he cried with me. The pain was so immense, that every soul in this country and those who watched such the brutal massacre on their television cried. They cried for the souls in and around those buildings, they cried for the loved ones, who lost a part of them.
A special salute to all those brave firemen, first responders and policemen who worked endlessly and those who lost their life while doing their duty during this such immense tragedy. They are our real heros.
Reports of the Pentagon being hit, and another attack being foiled were on the television. The pain had reached its state of numbness.
It has been fifteen years, but my eyes tears up and I cry all over again while thinking of that day. There is a memorial built in honor of those precious lives lost to this horrendous brutality.
America stands a nation changed forever. I believe this nation has come through strong. May those souls rest in peace! And let all know they will never ever be forgotten.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
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