10 September, 2011


There are many remembrances happening in NYC this weekend for the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center events on September 11th, 2001. There's the major opening of the September 11th Memorial at Ground Zero. (And another in Pennsylvania for Flight 93.) And of course, the dozens of "possible threats" that keep us all a bit nervous - even if we don't want to admit it. But it was a simple artist's vision that caught my eye: rows and rows of empty chairs in Bryant Park. 2,753 empty chairs to be exact - one for every person who perished on that fateful day.

CBS New York reports, "Near the chairs, there's a row of manual typewriters where people can stop and record their thoughts..." It's striking simplicity like this, rather than pomp and circumstance, that really gets to me.

People are also sharing their stories - where they were on that Tuesday morning in September, ten years ago. With each other, with their schools, on their blogs, with the media. I wasn't living in New York when it happened. I was in Pittsburgh, in college, about an hour and a half from Shanksville, PA where Flight 93 went down. I was in tap class. We had just started our warm-ups when one gal's cell phone started ringing in her bag. Then our teacher's cell phone rang... then a few more. Then the words I heard started to piece themselves together. Airplanes. New York City. World Trade Center. Accident. Attack.

We all started - everyone started - to slowly leave their classes, looking for TVs or radios or a place to find some news, some information, about the day. I remember watching a very blurry television in the office on the performing arts floor. Then we were told to go home. All of downtown Pittsburgh was told to go home. We were evacuating - but I wasn't sure why. Everyone just started walking away from downtown. I think it was something about the U.S. Steel Tower being a possible target - because it was the tallest building in Pittsburgh? Or maybe everyone was just being extra cautious?

So, I went home. And I watched the TV non-stop. And I fell asleep to the news on the radio. And it was a bit of a blur. I only really knew a few people who lived in New York at the time; and only one that I really wanted to talk to - to make sure he was okay. And 11 months later, I packed a few bags and got on a bus to move to New York.

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