Like so many others in lower Manhattan one year ago, I was an unfortunate witness to history’s dark page. The images burnt in my mind are framed not by a screen, but by the pristine blue backdrop of a clear autumn day. Televisions can deliver fear, but they cannot deliver the numbness and confusion that precedes it.
That morning there was a strange quiver in the city’s lock-step momentum: long before I saw the towers, I knew something terrible had happened.
When the second tower exploded and the morning’s truth was revealed, the fence surrounding Washington Square Park Arch became a crutch for the devastated. It stood tall while we cowered.
When the first tower fell, a paroxysm overtook Houston Street. It was the writhing motion of humans in panic, running north en masse.
Hours later we were greeted by the toxic scent of pulverized tower, jet fuel, and flesh. As the President sought to reassure his nation, an unending convoy of military equipment wound its way south to a funeral.
As the years pass, I will forget the faces and flames. What will be forever chiseled in my psyche is what nineteen madmen showed us that day: raw hatred, brilliantly realized.