I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.
I live in the East Village of Manhattan and have borne witness to this tragedy at fairly close range. Fortunately, I am okay and able to account for all of my nearest and dearest friends and family. For that I am deeply thankful. The period of uncertainty and concern I felt in the early hours after the attack before I could account for all of my loved ones is something I will never forget.
I have been watching convoys of emergency, rescue, and salvage vehicles stream down Second Avenue in front of my apartment, sirens blaring, intermittently for the past 36 hours. I've seen the same ambulances and official vehicles drive past me multiple times. Apart from the reports on TV and the Internet, that is the way my understanding of the events has unfolded--in stages, based upon which vehicles were being rushed to the scene. Yesterday it was ambulances and fire trucks, this morning it was 20 Mack trucks bearing names like Diamond Point Excavation or half a dozen tankers full of nitrogen coolant, tonight it's Verizon trucks parked up and down the block across from one of their offices.
As I sort through my own grief and confusion, I find my thoughts returning especially to the firefighters. There's a fire station around the corner from me that I've walked past for most of the past three years. Rarely does it occur to me how these brave men risk their lives on a daily basis. Today I made a point of walking by there, to pay my respects and let myself have a healthy sob. Dozens of flower bouquets had been placed there, along with cards and drawings. The garage door was open, and the firemen sat or stood at the perimeter, somber and somewhat dazed. Their equipment was strewn randomly behind them--a helmet here, empty fireman suspenders and boots there, all of it covered with soot. I spoke to a couple of the firefighters and tried, tearfully, to express my gratitude for their heroic efforts. These were men who when all Hell was breaking loose were headed straight into the heart of it. My prayers are with them, their colleagues, and their loved ones.
I have been attempting to assemble my thoughts into a longer report. I would like to relate my experiences to better aid my own coming to terms with this, if nothing else. I will do so in the near future.
Tonight I was supposed to be at a baseball game between the Yankees and the White Sox. I look forward to a time when such mundane concerns will provide me with a few hours of relief from all that has gone on around me.
My best wishes to everyone else out there who may be reading this. I hope you're all as lucky as I am, and that you and your loved ones are safe.