In Memoriam …

In September of 1986 my dreams were coming true as I started college at Pace University located in the heart of the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. It was my personal fairy tale; I was 18 yrs old, majoring in Accounting and beginning my adult life with my knight in shining armor, New York City. While the academics helped relocate me to his fortress, they quickly paled insignificance to the education, culture and belonging my new residence provided me, I was finally home. With only 950,000 square feet of space, the absence of the traditional campus life of sprawling greenery and spaciousness was replaced by an erected apartment living dorm that overlooked the Brooklyn Bridge and was walking distance to Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Chinatown, Little Italy, City Hall, the World Financial Center and the World Trade Centers, to name a few; as well as 24 hour subway access to the other 13 miles of The City That Never Sleeps and therefore I never slept…

Then while 33, almost exactly fifteen years to the day, living 2,700 miles away, at 5:35 am PST, with sleep still in my eyes, I got my 4 week old son back to sleep after his morning feeding and successfully back to his crib in record time. I felt very fortunate to have such an easy baby and all was right with the world as I headed back to bed; it was September 11, 2001…

Less than 15 minutes later and moments before REM had a chance to kick back in, the magnification of the house phone ringing over the newly installed baby monitor jolted me from my bed like an Olympic relayer grabbing for the phone as to not wake my first born…

At that hour of the morning, regardless of who was on the other line, I instinctively knew something somewhere was wrong, but with whom was the question. The Caller ID showed it was my sister in-law which narrowed it down some but now had my mind racing for answers even more so. As I finally mustered up a groggy ‘Hello’, more in the form of a question, I could never have been prepared for the bone chilling unwarranted death, devastation and destruction caused by unequivocal American hatred that I, along with the rest of the world, witnessed that morning after her brief and, at that moment, confusing call…

For what seemed like eternity, now with my infant in my arms and husband by my side, like millions of others, I stood frozen and in disbelief as time stood still for an hour and 21 minutes as we desperately scanned cable news channels one after the other for information and answers; while at the same time never felling more helpless in my life. The more times the same imagines were repeatedly flashed in front of our eyes, the less it felt real, how could it possibly be real?; until reality hit….

It wasn’t long before area code 732 registered on my Caller ID like it had so many times before when there was hometown news, but this time it was different. There wasn’t a wedding, divorce or entertaining drama I was going to spend brainless hours talking or laughing about as I chain smoked through my past; this time in real time there was a list of childhood friends that worked at or around Ground Zero that were currently unaccounted for during this world altering morning. This information, like what was presented on the television, was sparse at best but as accurate as it could be under the mass confusion of the day and was mind numbing. Thankfully I continued to get updates as that local list got shorter as some of those believed missing, or worse, were eventually found alive, but tragically, from what I understand, 13 beautiful souls of the close-knit community I grew up in are included in the incomprehensible 2,996 casualty count…

As a new mother, woman and American, I quietly feared as a nation we would never be able to recover from this deliberate disaster and questioned if it would weaken the strongest country in the world; that is until time started moving again and so did the country. The instinctual solidarity and compassion that slowly began replacing the horrific imagery on the news was just as emotional to watch unfold; and if intended or not, a clear message to our enemies and allies alike, as well as our own citizens, that even in our weakest moment, we were stronger than ever and without question or hesitation, ‘United we stand’. I could not have been prouder to be an American…

Now at 48, as the fifteenth anniversary approaches of that gruesome Tuesday which is permanently engraved in my memory and our history, I find myself with similar questions of recovery and strength as the same political, religious and social beliefs our enemies condemned us for that very day are the exact things we are fighting our own friends and neighbors over today; in one word FREEDOM!

More specifically, the very principle our country was built on 240 years ago and our nation has fought for repeatedly, continually defeating the tactics of ‘Divided We Fall’ ever since…

So, while this presidential election, that currently has two candidates claiming New York as home at one point, which in itself is historical, has us not only drawing political party divides as it has in the past, but also divisions within each party, turning us more from ‘We the People’ into ‘Us vs. Them, and Them, oh and Them too’, please remember on election day, November 8th 2016, that if your candidate or political party takes office or not, this monumental election will also earn its own place in US history by already nominating the very first Female presidential candidate of a major political party. So regardless of who wins the election to become the leader of the most powerful country in the world; and your political, religious and social views aside, like it or not, in the end, that’s another win for our freedom and you as an American!

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ ~ US President Thomas Jefferson (March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809) Democratic-Republican Party

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