It was August 22, 2001. I was in New York City with my sister, Amy, and our 8 year old niece, Nicole. I do not remember a lot about that day but I do know that we were doing the downtown double decker bus tour. Eventually we ended up at the World Trade Center and went in. We were hungry so we went to Sbarro in the building and had pizza. It was about 2pm but it was very crowded. There were men in ties and women in pantsuits scarfing down a slice before heading back to their offices on the upper floors. When we were done we walked over to a little camera stand to buy film for Nicole's camera. As we were walking to get to the line for the observation deck we passed a Ben & Jerry's stand and stopped to get ice cream. There were revolving doors between the two main towers and my sister went through and Nicole followed right behind. Unfortuntely my sister did not see her trying to get in the door with her and Nicole's arm got stuck between the two compartments. I yelled for Amy to stop, which she did, and Nicole held onto that ice cream sandwich like her life depended on it! Thank goodness she was just scared and not hurt. We got in line to go up to the observation deck and waited. There was a nice young man who was taking tickets at the elevator who was really sweet to Nicole. We rode up to the top of the world and entered the glassed in deck. It was a very clear day and we could see forever. There were steps that led down to benches where we sat and looked out over the city. We were lucky because the open deck was open that day, it was often closed because of high winds. We went up there but it was hard to see anything because you are not close to the edge like at the Empire State Building. Before we left I decided to buy a beautiful pencil drawing of the two towers. The building where I used to work at in East Lansing was also designed by the man who designed the WTC, Minoru Yamasaki, so I thought it was cool to have that drawing. We left and went on with the rest of our sightseeing. Nicole loved being at the WTC. She even asked to have it in the background of her picture that we took on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty the next day.
Fast forward 20 days to September 11, 2001. I was at work that day when I received a call from my boyfriend, now husband, stating that two planes had just been flown into the Trade Center. I was in shock. A bunch of my co-workers and I went to one of the conference rooms to watch the TV in there. All I kept saying over and over was "I was just there, I was just there." Every year on this day I think back and wonder. Wonder about the people I saw there that day. Did the young man who took our tickets survive? Where did that guy in the blue shirt at Sbarro work? Did he make it out? What happened to the people who worked on the observation deck? Were they up there even though the deck did not open for another hour? What about the cute old man we bought the film from? Where were those people I saw coming and going on the elevators while I was waiting in line when the planes hit and the towers fell? I know I will never know the answers to these questions. However, I also know that every year on September 11th until I die I will ask those questions and wonder.