Ten years later. I will never forget.

Ten years ago at the end of September of 2011, my daughter and Amy went to New York City. 

We were there exactly two weeks after Muslim jihadists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center buildings and left a gaping hole in the New York skyline and in our collective American consciousness.

The wreckage was still smoldering and burning and the black cloud was still very visible from everywhere in Manhattan when we arrived. 

Fire fighters from all over the country and the world were there helping in the recovery efforts. Human remains were being pulled from the wreckage that day and photos were forbidden. 

Do not cross

The line of ambulances and coroner's wagons wrapped around the block. I remember that the crowd of us looky-loos stood there stupidly, impotently, reverently. Most of us had were teary-eyed and choking back emotion. The devastation was so much bigger in person than on our tv screens.

How could this have happened in our America?

After what seemed like the longest time, we left the scene quietly, deep in sorrow and contemplation. 

We walked all over Manhattan taking in the touristy sites that were still accessible. Marveling in the amount of volunteers that had descended upon the city. 

Then we turned a corner and came up on this makeshift altar:

Station 8

It was at this spot that my emotions, which were already raw from the past two weeks, found an outlet. I didn't care that I was sobbing audibly. I didn't care because everyone around me was doing the same. 


Eric and I returned to Lower Manhattan in May of 2009 with Lucy and Jonathan.

WTC site May 2009

They were so young when the attacks happened that we had not told them exactly what had transpired on 9/11. Now we used the words "jihad" and "terrorists" in proper context. I hated having to tell them the story. I hated participating in the theft of their innocence.

But we were also able to tell the story of true courage. Of real heroes. Of the selflessness of men running into burning buildings and of the first Americans to engage in the War on Terror on Flight 93 that ended in deaths in a field in Pennsylvania. 

We told them of the volunteers that came from everywhere to help with the clean up. And how the caps with the initials FDNY became the accessory of the day. 

Badges from St

This was taken in St. Paul's Chapel, which now houses most of the memorabilia from those terrible days after the attacks. 

We told them of the miracle of Trinity Church and St. Paul's chapel which remained standing while everything around them crumbled. 

During the September 11, 2001 attacks, as the 1st tower collapsed, people took refuge from the massive debris cloud inside the church. Falling wreckage from the collapsing tower knocked over a giant sycamore tree that had stood for nearly a century in the churchyard of St. Paul's Chapel which is part of Trinity Church's parish and is located several blocks north of Trinity Church. Sculptor Steve Tobin used its roots as the base for a bronze sculpture that stands next to the church today.

Trinity church roots of tree 

We felt patriotism and pride when we saw the Ten Truck. (Members of the FDNY Ladder Company #10.)

Ten truck

We touched the bronze wall of the FDNY Memorial Wall and read the 343 names of the firefighters that perished on September 11, 2001.

Memorial wall

The wall reads:

"Dedicated to those who fell and those who carry on. May we never forget." 

We lit a candle in memory of the fallen.

Lighting a candle

Now it is 10 years later and we are 3,000 miles away. Time and distance has separated us from the horrific events of that terrible day in September.

But, I promise you, I will never forget.

"The time for mourning may pass, but the time for remembering never does." ~ George W. Bush

{To view Amy Kikita's video tribute, An MTV Generation, click here.}