September 11: I Will Never Forget (and a 9/11 Movie giveaway, ends 9/12)
This original post appeared on Drugstore Divas in 2012. The giveaway portion was added in 2017 and is sponsored by Tether Group.
I’m from New York, born and raised. I lived in Queens until it was time for me to go to school, and then we moved up 30 miles North of New York City to the suburbs because Queens is one of the five boroughs, and my parents didn’t want to raise their kids in the City.
My dad still drives the subway in the City, has since before I was born, still does, and did on September 11.
I was in class in college when the first tower was hit. We didn’t hear about it in class. I was in college and there wasn’t a PA system. Plus, no one really thought anything of it.
I had a meeting after class with the student activities director. I was in her office and she had her radio on. “A plane just hit the twin towers,” she said. Very calmly. She didn’t think much of it.
“Was it terrorists?” I asked.
That’s the first time in my entire life I remember saying that word. It was such a foreign word, and why it came out then was just a reaction. I didn’t think much of it. She turned the radio off, ignored her ringing cell phone, and we carried on our meeting about some school related activity I wanted to have: a fondue tower or a fundraiser.
My then-boyfriend ran into her office. “There you are!” he exclaimed.
“I’m in a meeting,” I said, slightly embarrassed.
“School’s closed. We have to go home. Planes hit the twin towers. You have to leave now.”
I didn’t know what was going on. All of a sudden, those phone calls and radio broadcasts we didn’t think much of became a reality. School was close to the City and we were asked to leave. Immediately.
“Will you come home with me”?” I asked my then-boyfriend. It wasn’t even 11am. My house was going to be empty. My parents were at work and my brothers were in school. I didn’t want to be alone.
“I can walk you to your car, but I have to see if my family is okay,” he said.
When I got in my car, I froze. I wanted to drive down to the City to see what was going on. It was so close. Not even a 30 minute drive to get to the George Washington Bridge to cross into Manhattan. But what if I got stuck there and couldn’t cross the bridge to get back. No, I couldn’t do that.
I figured I would go home and go online and see if there was anything there. But then I realized I would be tying up the phone line (yes, we still had dial up) and what if someone needed to call?
And then it dawned on me. This was huge. This would be on the news.
I went home, turned on the news, and the now iconic footage was there. They kept showing the destruction, the people, the road closures, the subway closures.
Subway. My dad.
I prayed so hard, on my knees, literally, begging God for my dad to be okay. “Bring him home, please,” I prayed, “Even if he is missing a limb, please bring him home.”
I called my mom at work and told her I was picking up my brothers from school. She said no, to leave them there. But I couldn’t. I didn’t know what was going on, exactly, but I didn’t want to leave them at school. I went to the high school and picked up my brother. I went to the middle school and picked up my other brother.
“Why are you picking me up?” he asked me in front of the 7th grade English teacher.
I looked at the teacher, and then at my then 12-year-old brother. “Because it’s a sunny day,” I said. The teacher nodded in approval.
My dad came home late that night, but he came home in one piece. That’s a lot more than I can say for so many men and women who were in the September 11th attacks and so many men and women who have been lost since, defending our country.
No one I know personally was lost in the tragedy. I know people who made narrow escapes, people who should have been in the towers at the time, but that’s as close as it got for me. I know people who know people who were lost, who were in the rubble, who escaped. I heard stories that bear no repeating but have branded my heart and soul.
Today is September 11 and with a few moments of collective silence around the country, let us remember what happened, how it affected us, and those who lost their lives because of the day. Let us honor them by never forgetting. Because no matter your race, creed, sexuality, or any other difference that tears us down and breaks us apart, remember, on September 11, 2001, we all remembered that we are American. And American we still are today, eleven years later.
The movie opens with a few quick scenes to introduce the characters: young father Michael (Wood Harris) whose daughter is celebrating a birthday; young Tina (Olga Fonda) who has a dog; billionaire Jeffrey Cage and his soon-to-be ex-wife Eve (Gina Gershon) who is filing divorce papers; custodial engineer Eddie; and late to work elevator control monitor Metzie.
By fate, all these characters beside Metzie get stuck in an elevator in the North Tower as it is struck by the plane. They get a little play-by-play of the situation from Metzie, but mostly, they really don’t know what’s going on. They’re confused and scared.
And that’s exactly how I felt on 9/11.
Metzie has a television in her office where she (and, by that, us the audience) are watching old footage from that day, footage that I can still see when I close my eyes.
I’ll be honest: I was worried about this movie. A 9/11 movie starring Charlie Sheen. The last time I saw him, he was on an entertainment show talking about he was winning. He wouldn’t be the one I picked to star in … well, anything. But he was born in New York City, as was Whoopi, and maybe that compelled them to be a part of this, to invoke those feelings.
Because that’s what this movie does for me.
They mention the 1993 attacks, which I remember hearing about in middle school. I didn’t understand them then, but I remember a friend telling me about them. They are having cell phone trouble, which I remember so well from that day. They mention people jumping from the towers, and, as much as I want to forget that, I remember it so well too.
There’s a scene when the five characters are just talking, about themselves, about their lives, about their families. It has nothing to do with 9/11 and everything to do with character building, to make them normal and relatable. I didn’t need that though. Anyone watching this doesn’t need that though. Because you already know these people. When you lived through 9/11, you already know how normal people were affected.
People are concerned that this movie is ill-timed; they’re worried about anything with Charlie Sheen’s fingerprints on it. No one needs to be worried about this. Is it going to win awards? No. But is it going to pull at your heartstrings when Eve’s mom makes phone calls to tell people their loved ones are safe? Yes. Because those are the feelings I felt when my dad finally walked in the door.
The ending of this? The ending sucks. Not for the ending itself but because it just abruptly goes to black with no resolution. It’s one of those “draw your own conclusion” type endings, and I like more of a “tell me what happens” type of ending. But other than that, I didn’t hate it.
The movie opens on September 8, if you ant to see it. For now, you can enter our giveaway. We are giving away a 9/11 poster hand signed by Charlie Sheen, a “Hope” pendant necklace, and a guide to Talking To Your Children About 9/11 thanks to Tuesday’s Children.
Tuesday’s Children is an organization providing supporting youth and families impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss relating to 9/11. I didn’t even know that group existed until now, but I’m so glad it does. Those families may still need help and I’m glad they have resources available to them.
If you want to win the prize pack, enter via the Rafflecopter below. And if you want to check out the movie, head over to this link.
This giveaway starts now and ends at 11:59pm EST on September 12. The winner must be a US resident who is 18 or older.