Sunday, September 11, 2011

New York, NY

I grew up in New York. 

Long Island to be exact - in the town of Amityville (yup, same place as the movie). 

My parents had been divorced for nearly my entire life (from the time I was 4) so once a month my mother would load me into the car and we'd travel 2.5 hours to meet my father at the half way mark to his house. The trips would only be for the weekend. I moved to my fathers house when I was 15.

With that in mind you can figure that I traveled over the Throgs Neck Bridge a minimum of 264 times (twice a month, twelve months a year, 11 years). The reality is that it was probably more than that, but we'll go with that number. It would be a game for me to spot the NY landmarks from my window The empire state building and the twin towers.  I could only see them going home if I remember correctly.

I can distinctly remember the last time I saw them. It was late April 2001. I can close my eyes and see the New York haze clouding their view. I remember thinking that I wouldn't be seeing this skyline much anymore. You see, I was making this trip to attend my mothers funeral. I made a point to remember it. I didn't realize that it would be the last time I'd ever see that sky line and in just a few months it would look dramatically different.

I was 16 on September 11, 2001. A senior in High School. I was in my psychology class, upstate New York,  4 hours from the city. We spent the rest of day in front of televisions until they sent us home. We sat, and we watced. I walked home alone, as I always did. The skies were eerily quiet and empty. I never noticed how many planes were in the sky until there were no longer planes in the sky. I was worried for my good friends that still lived in NYC.

My cousin was supposed to be at the twin tours that day, but wasn't. Ultimately, no one I directly knew was killed that day, but there's likely only a one or two person degree of separation to know someone who died that day. Here's mine.

[Peter J. O'Neill Jr.]
Peter O'Neill Jr

He lived a few blocks from me (ironically in the 'Amityville Horror House'), and I went to school with his younger brother Thomas (along with tons of his cousins that I knew - it seemed everyone was related to the O'Neills in Amityville). One of his uncles was my middle school principle. I played soccer on a team with a few of his cousins. His service was held at the church associated with the school I had attended with his brother, the same church my mothers service was held at just months before.

Think of peace and happiness today my friends.

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