I remember 9/11

I arrived on one of the last PATH trains that went into the North Tower after it had already been hit by the first aircraft.

04 Sep 2020 | 08:19

I arrived on one of the last PATH trains that went into the North Tower after it had already been hit by the first aircraft on September 11, 2001.

It was a beautiful sunny morning. The train was packed, and I was literally strap-hanging and talking with another woman. When the doors opened, the smell of jet fuel was immediate. As hundreds of us walked up the stairs to street level, a janitor was urging us to hurry, as there was a fire in the building.

As I approached the exit to street level, “my friends” -- the cute firemen I said good morning to every day on the way to my office -- were walking into the building. I smiled at the familiar faces and said, “Be careful.” I don’t know if any of them made it out.

It was raining fire paper, that’s the best way to describe it. I walked over desks, glass, computers, and chairs as I exited the building and looked up. “Darn it! My new blouse got burnt,” I said to myself as I walked towards my office, three blocks away. Oh how trivial.

I arrived at my office at 8:59, and the secretary informed me the 9 a.m.meeting had been moved to 11 a.m. OK, whew. Let me give my sister a call in case she hears there’s a fire so she won’t worry.

As I spoke on the phone with her, I watched impact 2 as my office mates started screaming in horror. My sister didn’t realize I was that close.

There’s a lot more to my story and my personal journey home that day.

I’m here however, to offer this poem for publication if you deem it worthy. On Thanksgiving morning, 2001, I woke up and this just came pouring out. No re-writes, no edits, it just came out.

At this time in our country’s history, I hope the unifying messages within this poem speak to folks, reminding them we are one country, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

A Very Special Thanksgiving

Fresh air has new meaning

“Glad to be here” is not cliche

As I hold a little child’s hand

My worries seem to melt away.

I say I’m a witness

Though some say survivor

A singed blouse, some ashen shoes

Are merely small reminders.

For those memories it’s odd,

But I’m actually grateful.

My experiences grim,

But to me it’s all fateful.

The brethren I met

As I walked through the horror

Confirmed my Faith

That Love has no color.

They saw me in sadness,

In shock and in grief

And while they spoke no English

The affirmed my belief

That Love is Real

And people are good

And to help one another

Is to be as it should.

I remember the men

Who weren’t really strangers

“Be careful” I said

As they walked into danger.

I remember speaking

To all those I love

And although I was fearful

I trusted God above.

So I’d like to say “thank you”

To each and every one

Who called, who came

You’re all second to none.

Perhaps to a child

I will tell my tale some day

And perhaps they will grow

To understand and pray.

It’s for them that our country

Must keep its resolve

To preserve our Freedoms

So mankind can evolve.

Editor’s note: Toni Busuttil is a Sparta High graduate who now resides in the Lake Hopatcong area. Her family still lives in Sparta.