9-11 Ten Years After
Performing the National Anthem at the
2001 New York City MS Walkathon at the World Trade Center.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani and TV’s Dr. Max Gomez in the backgroundThe following is a reprint of the post I wrote five years ago…
Today is the 5th anniversary of 9-11. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since that awful day. I was here in New York City, and I believe it was a day that changed my life. I had always felt close to the Twin Towers as I had played many concerts there, and had even done a professional photo shoot at the foot of the towers for my last CD just weeks before the attacks.
Back then, I was sharing an apartment in Midtown. That morning I was still asleep when my roommate knocked on my door and woke me up by telling me that something terrible had just happened. A plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I immediately woke up, climbed down the steps of my loft bed, and went into the living room to join my roommate in front of the TV where we would spend the next few days.
I immediately tried to call Last Guy. He worked in the Wall Street area, and his office had a magnificent view of the Twin Towers. Almost every day, he would have been in those buildings to run errands in the shops under the towers. I can’t tell you how scary it was to NOT be able to get through to him at work or on his cell phone.
Meanwhile, we watched the second plane hit on TV. It was at about this point that my phone rang. It was LG and he had finally got through to me. He had heard the first plane hit, and was actually looking out his window and saw the second plane go into the second tower. He told me he was getting the hell out and was heading uptown to see me.
It took him a while to make it to Midtown. He was very lucky that day as he was able to catch a bus that took him part ways uptown. At some point, everyone had to get off and walk. I’ll never forget standing on 3rd Ave, looking downtown and seeing what looked like an atomic cloud at the end of the island. And the ashen covered people who had walked miles and miles…
I was fortunate enough to be able to actually DO something. One of my ex-violin students worked for the Red Cross. She was able to get me on a crew at Ground Zero on the days immediately following the attacks, serving food to the firemen and rescue workers. I was as close to the wreckage as one could get without being in the pit. I spent another day cutting up veggies in the kitchen of a famous restaurant for the dishes their gourmet chefs were preparing, to take to the site for the workers.
The kitchen and serving volunteers those days consisted mostly of actors and artists. The feeling among us was that we were there to try to take people’s minds OFF of what was going on just a few feet away from us. Mind you, we didn’t make light of the situation. How could you? It was right there. The smoke and the smell… But while serving up plates of well deserved food, we would offer up a smile and maybe even a harmless joke to try to break the mood for a couple of seconds. The firemen thanked us over and over for that.
I also played MANY benefits. As a matter of fact, ALL of my gigs for a couple of months turned into benefits. I noticed that many performers would play songs that were slow, depressing ballads. Maybe they thought that these songs were relevant under the circumstances. I am proud to say that I played the most UP-TEMPO, FUN songs I knew at the time. I felt that most people NEEDED to relax for a minute after the horror of the attacks. The best compliment I EVER got was from someone who was in the audience of one of these benefits who thanked me because hearing my songs were the first time she had smiled in a week!
PERSONALLY, I DON’T THINK THAT ANYONE SHOULD FEEL BAD, OR GUILTY FOR FINDING A MINUTE TO ENJOY LIFE!
So in honor of the victims of 9-11, I would like to suggest that you turn off your TV. Find some time to be grateful for what you have. LAUGH & ENJOY YOUR DAY! Celebrate life! Do this in their honor.
Tags: 9-11, Deni Bonet, World Trade Center, WTC