I Could Never Forget.

11 Sep

Even if I wanted to, I could never forget.

Ten years ago today, our lives were changed forever. Living in the height of an incredible career path, traveling back and forth from NY city on a regular basis, we should have been in NY on September 11, 2oo1, and thanks to someone’s accidental forgetfulness, we were home safe in Los Angeles, on the day of one of the greatest American tragedies.

I woke up to a phone call at 5:30 in the morning the Tuesday before our trip back to NY. My old band was supposed to have left on Sunday, but thanks to an “accident” someone forgot to book our flights, and we found out Friday  evening, that we would be leaving on Monday or Tuesday instead. By Monday, we confirmed our return to the city for Wednesday morning.

I answered the phone in fear that something had happened to Blythe’s grandmother. There was literally no other reason I would expect to hear from Blythe at 5:30 in the morning on a non-travel day. Her voice was shaky when I answered the phone. She said, “Steph, I need you to go turn on the TV. Something happened in NY and I don’t think we’ll be leaving tomorrow after all.” Still groggy, I hobbled into my living room, trying not to wake my roommate, and turned on NBC.

Within a few moments of having the TV on, still completely confused by what I was seeing, I watched as a second plane flew directly into the second building. I remember hearing Blythe start to cry and I couldn’t really tell what I was supposed to feel or do. For once in my life, I didn’t feel emotion, because I just couldn’t process the magnitude of what was happening. Again, within what felt like moments later, the first tower fell, as I watched from my Sherman Oaks apartment, on my red couch. That was when it hit me. The world as I knew it, had just changed. I once took a picture from the ground level of one of the towers, and now, I didn’t know who was safe, who was alive and what was happening in the world. The word “terrorist” was still foreign to me.

I woke up my roommate Dana, who joined me on the couch. Within a few hours, we were distraught – still confused – and rendered helpless as we couldn’t reach anyone in Manhattan and didn’t know if Los Angeles was the next target.

The rest of the day and that week are a blur. Between friends and family all reaching to each other for comfort and strength, we still weren’t sure what would happen next, or how we would ultimately be affected both personal, and globally.

My band was back on one of the first planes to return to NY city after the tragedy of 9/11. We nervously prepared ourselves for the unknown, but we had work to do and the record label needed us back in the studio, so we went.

Flying was scary enough on it’s own, but landing in a city who’s heartbeat was always filled with excitement, was heart wrenching. The city’s heart had stopped beating with the strength I’d always known. It was replaced with a broken, weak, and devastated stillness. People everywhere were nice. They were caring. They ached together publicly. Flowers and dust were on everything. Memorials, everywhere. My heart ached for everyone and everything that survived. It was fragile. Delicate and humble. I was fragile. Humbled.

I had the opportunity to take pictures of the city, and as close to Ground Zero as possible, but found that the more incredible things to shoot were the children eating ice cream, people mourning at memorials, shops who’s windows had been blasted, “missing” signs win the subways, drum circles in the park, fire-stations filled with flowers and thousands and thousands of flowers, notes, letters, candles and American flags, commemorating the lost, the heroes, and the fallen.

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3 Responses to “I Could Never Forget.”

  1. Lucy Taylor September 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    so true. 😦 have a look at my 9/11 stories here http://taylormadein1996.wordpress.com/the-posts/

  2. I went to work super early that morning. Ben was in NYC and normally I would leave for work at 11am but since he was out of town I went in at the buttcrack of dawn so I could get done and have a day at home. I heard it on the news driving on the 170 into September 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    I went to work super early that morning. Ben was in NYC and normally I would leave for work at 11am but since he was out of town I went in at the buttcrack of dawn so I could get done and have a day at home. I heard it on the news driving on the 170 into h-wood. called home and told Ken to turn on TV, He must have woken Blythe up. I am, to this day, one extremely thankful momma cause you all were still in LA. horrible day.

    • Mrs. Arnow September 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      Tina, thank you for being there during that time. We needed our Momma Tina to get through it and we were SO glad there were mix ups on our flights… xoxo.

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