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In many ways, this is my favorite time of year. As in seasons past, I’ve been walking and hiking in the surrounding Rocky Mountain foothills, observing deer that roam through the backyard, harvesting apples. I am thinking about promotion for Hand of Ganesh, my newest novel. All good things, for which I’m thankful.

But as I write this, on 9/11, I’m reminded of the tragedy of two decades ago. This morning, the Santa Fe New Mexican published a dozen first hand accounts of New Mexican first-hand witnesses who were near the Twin Towers.

Santa Fean Noranik Zadeyan, then a graduate student at New York University, was walking to a dental appointment. Her downtown apartment was five blocks away from the twins towers. She recalls, “As soon as I stepped out, I felt panic all around me – people running, screaming, frantic. I looked around and thought there was a shooter or something, but then I saw peoples’ gazes were lifted to the sky. I followed the direction and saw the first tower was on fire. Then I heard a plane and saw it go directly into the second tower, and I felt in my being that what had just happened was not an accident.

I stood there in shock for a few moments, thinking about all the people in the towers, in the planes and down below. I saw all the papers flying from the office windows and I saw the poor, desperate man who jumped out of the building. I knew I had to get out of there because I felt like things were going to get worse.” Noranik made it to her dental appointment, but, she relates, “they checked me in, sat me in the chair and put on a bib and I finally snapped out of my trance and realized, what am I thinking, I can’t get my teeth cleaned right now.” She phoned a close friend who was living in Brooklyn and went to her house “for sanctuary and a “safe retreat from all the devastation.”

Barbara Gerber, also of Santa Fe, remembers that, as a friend was perishing in the north tower of the World Trade Center, she was emptying her dishwasher. A journalist, she was supposed to be writing a story on factory farming. She missed her deadline. She tells her story, relates watching Hurricane Ida tear through New York and then comments, “Perhaps it’s the way September feels brittle and expectant. Whatever it is, 9/11 memories have a life of their own.”

Hard to believe that twenty years have passed between then and now. I can’t say that I feel the world is safer. However, I can affirm that personally, I am enjoying a life filled with many blessings. My goal: stay within the confines of each day.


Note from Elaine: Join me for monthly posts. If you have a 9/11 story you’d like to share, I will, after reviewing it, publish it as a blog post.