because i was there

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Today I deviate from my normal photo posts to remember.

I lived in NYC for several years and I was there in lower Manhattan that morning. I was just getting out of the subway minutes after the first plane hit. I had no idea what was going on and what everyone was lined up across the street looking at as I climbed up the subway steps…. until I crossed the street and looked up myself.

I couldn’t believe what I saw when I looked up myself and yet I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much worse the situation was about to get. Everyone was saying something different as to what was happening, a bomb went off, a fire, a helicopter, an airplane.  I witnessed the second plane hit with my own eyes while standing there on the sidewalk. I saw people jumping…. rather than burn alive. The sound of the buildings collapsing, the avalanche of dust and debris falling down on everyone,  the coughing.

It’s one thing to see disasters unfold on the news or in the movies…it’s quite unimaginable and very surreal to be right there in the middle of it.  Hearing the sirens of fire trucks and ambulances, policemen shouting, people crying, smelling the fire of steel, paper and rubber, breathing in the dust and god knows what else….. running away with crowds of screaming people, seeing a look of fear in every single persons face around you and feeling like a fish in a barrel.

Walking across the Queensburo Bridge with thousands of other New Yorkers, looking back and seeing the city smoldering. Not knowing how to get home from Queens to Brooklyn because I had always taken the subway. Luckily I had a bicycle ( I couldn’t ride it for quite sometime until I got into Queens because the streets were so crowded with people) Funny that I remember people giving me bottles of water and asking if i needed directions, wanted a candy bar, actions so seemingly small but the acts of kindness and heart felt concern from EVERYONE in the streets I experienced on my way home made a huge difference.

I saw things that day I wish I never did, but I also saw people come together with a sense of community and humanity…. helping others in ways I’ve never experienced since.

So take some time today to be thankful for what you have and for those around you.

These are a few pictures I took from that day and the days after.