Today is a day of sadness and a sense of closeness with my hometown and everyone in it.
It is also a day to reflect back on that day seven years ago and everything I -- and my city -- went through. There are so many individual moments that leap out from the bizarreness and gut-wrenching whirlwind that was that day.
I remember wondering where my older brother was. I knew he was closer to the towers than I was. I remember walking co workers up to the ferry near the Javits center so they could get across to New Jersey and then turning around and walking others down towards the Brooklyn Bridge.
I remember the fighter jets that came and circled above. I remember later that evening, when night fell and the weight of the day finally crashed down. I found myself heading down 3rd Avenue from my apartment on 33rd, heading to a local bar I hung out in on Thursday nights. As I walked quietly by my self, small groups walking around me up and down the avenue, I remember a fire truck coming up 3rd, on their way to get a couple hours of sleep before they would return to ground zero. I remember standing there and the spontaneous applause that broke out from people on the street as they passed us by.
And I remember sitting at the bar with my friends, and some bartenders from another bar nearby coming in and sitting down. We all sat there quietly together. I think we all felt better being around someone we knew, even if it was just from a bartender/patron relationship. That was the first sense of normality I had since that first plane hit.
And I remember the first time I realized things would be okay. It was when the New York Rangers held their first pre-season hockey game at the Garden a short time later. This game is often overlooked whenever there are sports shows about NYC and Sept 11th. This game was the first sporting event in the city following Sept 11th.
Being there in the Garden watching the team my family had followed since my grandmother in their early days, I began to feel better. It was the most emotional sporting event of my life. The Rangers invited many of the firefighters and payed tribute to those who had died. They also payed tribute to the FDNY hockey team. Many of the wives of the firefighters were in the audience. I sat in a row down near the glass near a whole group of them.
Then, once the ceremonies were done, and the tears were shed, the puck was dropped. And hockey had come back to New York. The City itself was coming back from that terrible day.
Nothing will ever be the same after the events of Sept 11th. But I can look back at that day, at that Rangers game, as the moment I knew I -- and my city -- would be okay.