gratitude-a-thon day 696: remembering (and being grateful for my obnoxious cousin, ed!)

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On 9/11 I am always grateful for my (snarky and hilarious) cousin Ed. He was in one of the Towers, and for a time, we didn’t know if he’d made it. The panic I felt, EVERYONE felt on that day would haunt me for a long time.

It was the most beautiful day. Sunny with crystal blue skies. I walked with my friend Toni around the reservoir. We plotted what she would do about just having lost her job. I heard some weird reports on the radio on my way home about the Pentagon, was talking to Peter and asked him if something had happened, came home, switched on CNN and watched the towers fall. I could’t even imagine what this meant. Peter got on his bike and rode home from M.I.T. The reports went from “an accident” to “intentional.” The word “terrorism” was used.

I called my cousins Bob and Barb immediately to check on their son Ed, but couldn’t get through. I called my good friend Deb, who lived in Manhattan, to see if she was ok, but got only busy signals over and over again, before finally, amazingly getting an answer. She was safe and so was her boyfriend. She asked me to call another friend of hers to let her know she was safe because the lines were a mess. After dozens of tries, I  got through to find Ed was ok. I wondered if we should pick up our kids at school.  I was literally terrified of what the ramifications of this were. Was the attack over, was there more to come? We spent the afternoon as a family, watching Ally’s first ballet class. Pre-school girls in pink tights felt like a last gasp of innocence on a day that would change everything.

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We spent the night in the park with our friends, watching our kids play, unaware, as we all sat like zombies, downing wine and conjecturing what the hell was happening.

Ed has a harrowing story to tell about getting out of the Tower, about the aftermath, about what he saw that nobody should ever see. But he’s alive to tell it. And so is John, his brother, who worked across the street, and for a period thought his brother was in the Tower when he saw it fall. It’s a day etch-a-sketched in my memory, as vivid as it happened five minutes ago. Today is that day’s rainy anniversary. To Ed (love you, cuz), who made it, and those who didn’t, I will never forget.

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