It was a beautiful Tuesday morning September 11th, 2001. I was taking a uncharacteristic early morning walk in Montreal, when I saw a friend opening up her clothing store at 9:30am near my house. She had a harrowing look on her face.
“Have you heard?” she said to me in an all-out panic
“What?!” I answered back.
“We’re under attack. Terrorism. Go home and watch it on TV”
Back then, barely anyone I knew had a cell phone, and although I had no indication of what exactly was going on and what exactly she meant about “we,” I speed walk home in 6 minutes flat.
I ran into my apartment and turned on CNN and I immediately see a visual of a plane hitting the New York World Trade Center with an audibly shaken correspondent doing a voice over. I watch as a second plane hits. I call all of my family members who are all in Canada except for my father who is in Florida.
As I am on the phone with my mother, I watch as the first tower collapses. We are both in d-i-s-b-e-l-I-e-f. Then the second. We both gasp.
In what feels like another nanosecond there is a frantic ring at my door.
My heart skips faster as I ask in a suspicious shrill “Who is it?”
“It’s the landlord“…
I’m beyond paranoid. I take a look through my peep hole to verify and I open my door.
“You have to evacuate the premises, there is a bomb threat next door at the synagogue.”
I. Can’t Believe. This. is. Happening. My small apartment complex is right next to a beloved Montreal synagogue and with the TV left on, I grab my cat (who HATES going outside) in a small blanket and run downstairs and outside without even locking the door.
I go across the street into a green field and sit down on the the grass, with my cat in my shaking arms with other members of my building. I keep looking up into the sky, looking for any sign of possible ‘incoming‘.
About an hour later we are given the go ahead to return to our apartments, but I am shaken to my core with the added awareness of how Hate & Evil has hit so close to home; both literally & figuratively.
The next few days were spent in tears, and many times I have to just shut off the television completely. Not an anniversary goes by where I don’t have a massive pain in my heart for all of those who perished in that terrible tragedy.
On behalf of each precious innocent soul who perished twelve years ago today, to all those who were injured, and to all those who lost someone; be especially kind to one another.
It matters. Today and always.