- Samantha Greenberg (right in the middle) Outside the White House May 1, 2011
This is my daughter outside the White House last night drinking in the excitement from the news of the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden for the 9/11 catastrophe that happened 9 years and 8 months ago. She was 9 at the time….. I was, in fact, in New York at the time, it was “Fashion Week”. I was walking back to my hotel from the gym with a Starbucks in my hand when I witnessed the first plane fly into the World Trade Center. I could see papers flying everywhere, I was ten blocks away in Soho. I ran into my hotel lobby shouting that “a plane just went into the World Trade center Building” and people just looked at me like I was crazy…I probably would have done the same thing. I ran up to my room called my husband and described what I had just seen. I had the television on and “The Today” show was on and Katie Couric was just announcing the same story. My husband and I discussed how we were going to tell Samantha, my daughter that her mother was OK and that he would pick her up from school so that no one else would say anything to her. When I got out of the shower my husband called me back to say (to my disbelief) that a second plane had also crashed into the World Trade Center and again made a plan to make sure that Sam talked to me on the phone when she got out of school so she wouldn’t worry.
After watching the remaining disaster unfold (in real time only seen on New York television) I got dressed and walked outside to see if I could help, only to witness ash covered people, hundreds of them, walking up the street towards uptown in a zombie like state. There was a smell in the air even though the smoke and smog didn’t actually infiltrate Soho until the next day. I tried to go to the site but the police had already restricted the area. I remember standing in the street thinking life as we know it will never be the same in America, that safe “we’ll never be attacked in this country” feeling was gone.
I went back into the hotel and called my husband and Sam. She got on the phone to tell me about some incident in school where a girl fell off a swing and had to be taken to the hospital…she really couldn’t understand the scope of what happened. Our worries, we thought, were overblown
The next day I went and stood in line at St Vincent’s Hospital to give blood. It was there that I saw all the photographs being posted. People had already made posters of their friends and family members to circulate near the hospital hoping that their loved ones made it out in time. It was heartbreaking, There will always be a hole in my heart from the experience.
Yet there was something unexpectedly rejuvenating about seeing my daughter celebrating in these pictures last night. I realized that although she wasn’t immediately affected by the trauma of my experience, her life was TOTALLY affected by it everyday thereafter. 9/11 is a noun to her. Every time she travels on a plane, everyday in the newspapers, on TV or online, she is exposed to the resulting wars and acts of terrorism. Hers is a life void of the secure feelings we USED to have. And with Bin Laden’s death comes a fresh sense of hope for her that life might one day return to a world at rest instead of full of unrest.
- Here’s Sam at the gate of the White House
- Celebrating for the Cameras
With all that has happened in this world, three wars being fought and financial instability a constant in our future, it has been reassuring watching the youth all around the world trying to change the status quo, pushing the boundaries to make a more peaceful and caring world. It’s light at the end of the tunnel.