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ghostlights2.pngBy B.L. Ochman

The sight of the bright blue cloudless September sky made my heart skip a beat this morning. It was the same color as the sky on 9/11. The temperature was about the same too: cool enough for a light jacket. I was horrified.

Nine years later, I still have not re-gained my lost memory of much of that awful day. But I remember the jumpers, the ties flapping in the wind as they fell like stones. Some of the jumpers were holding hands. With flames screaming behind them, most stood at the windows a long time before they jumped.

I remember the sight of the red-hot steel inside the building moments before it fell, 2 blocks north of where my beautiful, late Yellow Lab, Sam, and I, and thousands of others, were waiting for what at first seemed like a fire drill to end so we could go back to our morning tasks.

The remains of the day

The sensory remains of the day are many. I have dog ears: even in Central Park, miles away from LaGuardia Airport, when the wind blows a certain way, the roar of planes taking off is just like the sound of the towers crumbling. The prolonged sound of sirens still chills my blood. My lungs never recovered from being inside the fetid black cloud as we tried to out-run the violent hurricane of dust and body parts that blew through West Street.

Some good things came from that day too. I hold my family and friends much closer than ever before. I know I would do anything – absolutely anything – to save someone I love. While my sense of safety after growing up in peace-time is gone, a sense of the community with all mankind has taken its place.

The miracle of the day

Now I try to think more about the miracle of the day: that the planes stopped inside the buildings rather than going through them and crashing on the ground.

Horrific as it was, the devastation would have been even worse if whatever man or heaven-made force hadn’t made the planes stop where they did. Much worse.

It helps, somehow, to think about that.

Never forget.
9/11: The Slip
On 9/11: for the boys