Mixed emotions as I write this...I remember that beautiful peaceful blue sky day so well.
I was taking my two boys to IKUEI Japanese international school. It was a straight shot north from West New York, NJ (Jacobs Ferry) to Englewood Cliffs, NJ...driving along the coast of NJ where the Hudson River was east of me...after I dropped off my happy little guys, I drove back the same route. I had the radio on and that was when I first heard that there was a plane that crashed into one of the towers. The radio announcer didn't have much information as it just happened and speculated that maybe the pilot had a heart attack. I turned off the radio, thinking what a way to die and was anyone hurt in the building and down on the ground!
I stopped by Target in Edgewater but no one was in the store...not even an employee! I spotted one coming in from the back door/the dock area and that's when he informed me that the crash was not an accident but a terrorist attack. I went straight to the Japanese supermarket to get food (since it was the holiday weekend, we had no food) and saw what everyone was talking about on TV. My DH called me and told me he was on the ferry headed towards the Wall Street area but the Port Authority would not let them into New York so he was on his way home. Thank goodness...he had clients at the Towers and would pop in to say hello to them every once in awhile. Luckily he had such a bad conversation with the Tokyo office that he went into work later that morning. He saw the second plane hit the Towers while he was on the ferry....he couldn't believe what was happening (like the rest of the world)!
I got home with bags full of groceries and we headed off to get the boys...the 20 minute drive took over an hour as the George Washington Bridge (GWB) was closed off (inbound to NYC). We finally reached the school and the kids were told that there was a HUGE fire in NYC and everything was closed. Our trip back home only took the normal 20 minutes because the police were worried about the GWBridge and we had taken the back road. I found out later that they closed our street (we live between the Lincoln & Holland tunnels and the GWBridge) after we got home. All the fathers from the "IKUEI families" were safe...although it took them until 1 or 2am to get home.
We saw the smoke and what was left of the Towers from our neighborhood. When the winds shifted, we could smell that terrible smell and we were forced to close our windows. I am left with this empty hole in the NYC skyline...I've known that skyline all my life. When I graduated from university, I had celebrated my graduation with family friends in the Windows of the World Restaurant. I stayed at the Vista Hotel in the Tower on my business trips to American Express headquarters across the street, walked through to get places in the neighborhood. It will be sorely missed. I pray for all those who have perished and to those who were left behind to morn their loss. Hug your loved ones tighter tonight as I will with mine.