A couple years after the towers were built I arrived in NYC from Hawaii.
It was the first major American city I’d ever been to in my life besides San Francisco, which at this point, does not matter.
I rented a basement apt. in the Bronx and caught the train 5 days a week to Church street and walked from there to Fraunces Tavern where I worked as the Maitre D`.
Each day after getting off the train I’d stop at or across from the towers to shine my shoes, buy a bagel, a dog, a newspaper. On some weekends I’d visit the observation deck
Each of those days I was amazed at the stark contrast between where I worked, the oldest building in NYC where Washington sent off his troops, to the towers, an amazing and intimidating display of what a great country we’d become.
Fast forward to September 11th 2001
I’m back in Hawaii, married with children, homeowner, business owner.
At this time after 6-7 years of sobriety I lost my father in my arms and 6 others close to me in one year and was struggling to sober up again.
I got up that morning still buzzed from the night before. It was about 6am and I had just turned on the T.V, and not a few minutes later the news flash came that a jet had just flown into one of the towers. Like most of America I thought it was an accident and after they get that plane out of the side of that building they’ll fix it and it’ll be alright. Then came the second one, and I felt like I was going to shit my heart right out of my ass.
When the first tower came down I cried like a little girl. By the time the second one came down I was delirious. I was picturing all the people I use to see every morning on my way to work being crushed. The guy at the news stand, the hot dog vendor and the tour guides that would take us to the observation tower evey couple of weeks. I was 6000 miles away and couldnt do a thing about it. And if that wasn’t enough I found out a couple days later a guy that worked with me, had lost his wife on flight 93.
At this point I knew that if I went on drinking it would be one of those “slips” that would put me away for good.
Today is still as hard a day for me as it was in 2001
But that day, eleven years ago, gave me purpose.
A purpose to first remain sober so I can be the father, husband, and American I need to be so nothing like this ever happens again.
America, I love you.