Tuesday, September 11, 2001

9/11: Sirens and Silence

The following entry was composed on the fifth anniversary of the event, and inserted here for context.

On 9/11, Michael Sweet and I were in the compact penthouse office that housed Blister Media's recording studio. It was early; we were tired; and so we had the blinds drawn. We had arrived especially early that morning for two reasons. I had promised to messenger some elements to Cheryl Richman at McCann/NY for delivery by 9AM; and we were obligated to present another set in a long line of deliverables to our client, Sesame Workshop.

An architect who shared our floor rushed in and told us that a plane had hit one of the towers. We ran up to the roof to assess the situation, finding one building with a smoking hole in it, and another seemingly intact, but also damaged.

Among the sounds I was conscious of hearing that morning were first and foremost sirens from every kind of emergency vehicle –ambulances, fire trucks, police cars– and moving in every direction from every part of the city.

Despite the fact that our offices were more than a mile away, it was still possible to make out objects falling from the towers. Intermittent debris seemed to flake off the south tower, but from the north, a shocking procession of what we at once knew to be mortals fleeing some even greater horror within.

I knew that each building potentially held thousands of people, and each was a city unto itself, so I realized the magnitude of casualties must be immense. We still didn't know the tragedy was the result of a terror attack, so how to find meaning in this chaos?

It was then, briefly, that the sirens receded from my senses and I felt as though I stood in a silent bubble –a vacuum– watching the world change, from the surface of my skin to the sky above me, and right before my very eyes. And for those few moments, before another fire truck raced down Fifth or Park, all I could hear was the sound of my own blood rushing though my ears.

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