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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Although it’s been 20 years since 9/11/2001, it has never left me. It never will. There’s always going to be before 9/11 and after 9/11.

I was walking my late Yellow Lab, Sammy, on my way to the Farmer’s Market at the World Trade Center. We lived three blocks south on West Street.

When the first plane hit, I knew immediately that people were dying. I just didn’t think my own life would be in danger – until an hour later.

I don’t want to re-tell the whole story. I’ve written about it every year here on the blog.

Time stopped

Like so many other New Yorkers, I hate to write the date 9/11 or see 9:11 on the clock. I will always have physical remnants of that day, in my lungs. Thankfully, nightmares about the jumpers stopped after a few years. The images still appear in dreams occasionally and wake me with a start.

The PTSD triggers are with me to this day – 20 years later. I freeze any time there are prolonged sirens, a low-flying plane, a sudden loud noise, or a bright blue cloudless sky like on that day. I’ve learned to hide it over the years. But it still happens.

Remember the love

What I wish is that America could come together as one in the way we did for a short time after 9/11. When politics didn’t matter. Ethnicity didn’t matter. What you did for a living or where you lived meant nothing. All that mattered was that we were one country, united and filled with love for one another.

That’s what seems so far away.