Today marks 19 years since the tragic terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon on September 11th, 2001. Thousands of lives were lost, and our country was changed forever. This is a day that will live in infamy and one that impacted our community in immeasurable ways. As we look back on this date amid a pandemic, we are reminded that tragedy brings life into sharper focus.
When people ask me where I was on September 11, 2001, I always remember the phone call I received from my daughter. She was a student at New York University and was walking to class in Washington Square Park when she saw the smoke from the first plane. She called me to see if there was anything on the news about it. When I said “no”, we said our “I love you’s” and she continued to class. That was the last I heard from her for hours.
A few minutes into her first class of the day, the professor and other students started to receive frantic phone calls about the planes hitting the Twin Towers; her class was dismissed, and she arrived in safety. The phones stopped working but I knew she was okay because I was able to speak with her before the class. While I was fortunate that my daughter was safe, I often think of the thousands of people who were not as lucky, who did not get a final phone call.
In the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, we experienced revived patriotism and a stronger sense of community here in the Huntington township. Neighbors came together to support those who lost someone, our local firefighters joined the search and rescue at the site without hesitation; some of them losing their lives as well. It is important to remember that countless acts of compassion and courage followed closely behind this unprecedented tragedy as we experience an unparalleled time again. Grief and loss are easier to navigate when we come together and support one another.
As we move forward with recovery from the current Covid-19 Pandemic, the true sense of community and pride within our Huntington Community continues to rise. We have seen countless acts of compassion: whether it was food drives, fundraising, or donations to Huntington Hospital, and those small acts of kindness have once again given us hope that in the face of adversity, Huntington stands strong.