Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Where were you on 9/11?"

I was at home eating oatmeal.

There was a Regional Managers meeting for the Property Management company I worked for that day, and as I was presenting the Marketing Strategy, Findings and Forecast Report, the meeting was being held at my Property. This meant I got to have a lay in and relaxed morning watching the news while having my oatmeal and coffee.

I was a spectacular morning. Perfect Autumn day, and the sky was so blue!

I sat enjoying the news and my breakfast, a rare treat, as I was usually at the Office already by this time. The morning News Anchors interrupted their Report abruptly to announce that there had been an explosion in Downtown Manhattan; minutes later they report that it’s been a gas explosion in one of The Towers. Now, the news starts moving at record pace, as reports come in that “something” may have hit one of The Towers. By now my heart is racing. They have gone live and all you can see is one of The Towers FLAMING!!

I am still holding the bowl of oatmeal in my hand, as if I’m frozen in suspension. Amid the confusion, all the reports, all the while showing the live footage, out of the right corner of the screen [like a nightmare or train wreck in slow motion] you can see something small, a plane and it is headed straight for The Towers……

It slams in, the explosion is monumental! I start to shake and cry!

I jump up from the couch, put down the oatmeal and run into the kitchen to ring my Mom. “Mommy, we’re under attack!” I scream through the phone, no hello or anything. I’m talking a mile a minute trying to warn my Mother.

Everything gets very blurry. It’s like walking with a blindfold on; I course on trying to shower, dress, and all through streams of tears and with one eye on the TV trying get as much information as possible. It’s out the door and up to the Office.

Five minutes later I arrive, the TV is already on and the Office is full with Staff. The Regional Managers Meeting has been pushed back to allow people time to get to the Office. There is already chaos on the roads. Some make it up and some don’t. Some have come from the Home Office in Philadelphia and we must make arrangements for their overnight accommodation as Philadelphia is put on Lock-down, they can not return home that evening.

We watch the TV. We wait. There is one image that has been indelibly etched into my mind. Not long after the attacks, after all emergency services had been activated news crews arrived at all the NYC hospitals. They showed Doctors, Nurses, EMT’s going into Crisis mode. I don’t know, maybe it’s because my Father was a Doctor and he was part of the Emergency Team of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel that was on call throughout the Agnes Flood of ’72, that made the site of Medical Professional ready at a moments notice to help repair injured bodies that got to me. But, that image turned disturbing as minute after minute and hour after hour passed news crews continue to report from empty Emergency Rooms! At first there were lines of Doctors and Nurses with gurneys assembled in neat lines outside of hospital E.R. Doors. They waited and waited and we watched them wait. They waited and we watched.

No bodies came.

As the hours passed you could see the horror setting in on their faces as there was nothing they could do to help. No one was bringing bodies to repair, because they weren’t any. The injured were easy absorbed into a few hospitals closest to The Towers. Late in the day, one Doctor who sat with his head down and coffee in one hand, was interviewed. It was clear he had been crying. As he shook his head all he could say to the Reporter was, “There’s no bodies. There’s no bodies.”

It’s in the hours and days that follow that the horror begins to sink in, amidst the sheer panic of trying to locate the many family and friends living and working in N.Y.C. and Washington D.C. I come from a very close-knit community and as “the network” spreads and shares news the shocking reality and relief that awful mix, as names are called. This person has been contacted, this person is safe, this person was in the Pentagon and we have not heard from them, this person was in The Towers and we can not find them.
The Community is both relieved and torn to bits as prayers continue to flow. Prayers of thanks for the safety of those found and prayers and pleas of hope for those who are not fill the Wilkes-Barre air.

That day I lost a friend:

Lenny Snyder:
I had gone to Bishop Hoban High School with Lenny, and his siblings, his brother Chris was in my class. I had gone to King’s College with Lenny and his widow Janine. When I think of Lenny, I immediately think of his smile. Lenny had the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. His smile entered the room before he did. He was a great laugh, full of life; kind, generous and he played a mean Sax! And the parties at King’s were legend! Janine was great and she and Lenny were one of those perfect couples you just knew were always going to be together. In class, Janine had a great eye and instinct for Design, P.R. and Advertising. My Uncle, the late Fr. Tim Delaney, was very close to the entire Snyder Family. He thought so highly of the entire family, and loved Lenny and his incredibly positive thirst for life. It is not an exaggeration to say that it was a loss to the world that day when Lenny was taken. He sheer output of positive energy into the Universe was a source of good for the world!

“Some weekends are just harder than others”

“Some weekends are just harder than others”

Please send your thoughts, prayers and good wishes to the People of Northeastern Pennsylvania, who are suffering through a traumatic weekend!!! They are currently dealing with Disastrous Flooding, nearly 40 years after one of the U.S.'s worst natural disasters, The Agnes Flood of '72. This was always going to be a difficult weekend anyway because of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks.

Because of the proximately to N.Y.C., the people of NEPA were terribly and deeply affected by 9/11. People lost family and friends when the Towers collapsed. Family and Friends who were lucky enough to survive, now live with the scars of the days, weeks and months that followed. Most people were directly affected themselves or family or friends directly involved. If you were one of the lucky not to be, it was the knowledge of the City that got you.

It's a quick 2-1/2 hour drive from my hometown of Wilkes-Barre, PA to N.Y.C. So, it's all those years of Class trips to the Museums, Statue of Liberty, etc. The family trips and day trips to see family, friends or just hang out, take in a Broadway show, hang out in The Village, head Uptown for some great food and clubs. Whatever your fancy, from a young age there was a constant and strong connection that was built over years.

For Northeastern Pennsylvanians, this weekend is trying at best and we won't even go into the "at worst". Dealing with the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks as well as Disastrous Flooding and the very raw memories for those who lived through The Agnes Flood of '72 have all been brought back. I'm not sure if I can adequately explain how this level of trauma feels to people and exactly how difficult this weekend is turning out to be for most. I do hope I'm at least scratching the surface.

Additionally, over the past tens years NEPA has seen an influx of two new groups of people, for which this will be equally difficult. 1st - the many New Yorkers who moved out of The City to the Pennsylvania Burbs after 9/11 and those who were Relocated to NEPA following Hurricane Katrina. They will find though, that they are now living in amongst strong people in a strong community that TRULY take care of each other in a way in which I have NEVER seen in all my travels, in all my life!!!

My wish is that anyone who reads my story will attempt to understand the trauma of this weekend, and will PLEASE send thought, prayers, vibes, whatever and however you think or pray please make a Positive Effort for Northeastern Pennsylvanians this weekend. THANK YOU!