We all knew where we were that morning.
I happened to be in Upstate New York when my phone rang. Before I could even say hello I heard, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center.” I didn’t have TV at my little farmhouse in Woodstock, NY so I ran to my neighbor’s house. Then the second plane hit and, in an instant, in my mind, I said, “they got us.”
That started a strange series of events. In my tiny town, there were Army vehicles at the end of my sleepy road keeping all vehicles away from the Ashokan Reservoir fearing that someone may be attempting to contaminate New York City’s water supply. We were essentially quarantined. The image above shows how remote an area I was in.
An hour later my phone rang.
It was an elderly woman who I did not know asking if I was OK. This was not a day for disputes; it was a day for compassion. So I just assured her that I was in fact OK. I stayed on the phone with her a bit and learned that she was actually trying to check in on Michael Lomanaco who was Chef/Director for Windows on The World, the restaurant located atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. So I guess he also had a home in Woodstock, NY. Michael Lomonaco wasn’t in the North Tower at the time, but everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 hit either perished from the plane’s impact, smoke inhalation, or died in the when the tower collapsed 102 minutes later.
My brother was a fireman in a town 19 miles outside of New York and he wanted to help. It took almost a week for his ladder company to get clearance to go. When he arrived, he said people were lined up as they marched to the sight cheering them as if they won the World Series. He spent a day at the site, but got an unspoken message from the New York City crew that they “wanted to dig out their own.” He understood and in the most uncomfortable of ways, so did I.
And about two weeks later, I learned that I lost a little league buddy and a high school friend on that day.
I am not one to give big props to celebs, but George Clooney’s acceptance speech at the Emmy’s rang true to me. And that was “to help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away.” To me, it was a fresh turn of phrase on, “We will never forget.”
Where were you on 9/11?
And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? ~Mike