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The Sound of Silence

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The dark, desolate heavens paint a picture of grief and anguish as it extends itself beyond our furthest sight. The cool yet calm navy waters surrounding us and our country become frozen with the same fear that chilled our heavy hearts that very day. Thousands and thousands of people swarm to their hometown, crowding near those they love most while the innocence of many families evaporates into this haunting skyline as it steals away their loved one’s lives. Many become lost in the world, and wait hopelessly in anticipation to be found. Today, we gather to remember that “Black Tuesday.” Today, we reflect on the surrender of emotions that escaped us all on that early morning of September 11, 2001.
It started off as any ordinary day would. The drowning sound of the early-morning talk shows humming through our radio stations, and the sensational taste of warm coffee filtering between our dry lips awakened us to a day we would always remember. Walking into the office, a waft of the old, familiar scent of maple and rubber boots flared my nostrils, and I was suddenly greeted with warm-hearted, loving faces of those I liked to refer to as my “second family.” These friends and I shared a bond that knowingly well; no one could ever break. And we soon had evidence to prove this.
I remember exactly, the time flashed 8:44, and within minutes, an unidentified noise exploded from a nearby building. As my duty, I knew to answer this call for help.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to hear the noise because as I opened my door, I was trampled by a swarm of quick, pacing feet scuttling through the hallways, frantically trying to find the black and yellow over-coats. Within seconds, I too joined this mass chaos and suddenly found myself darting outside into what appeared as a dusty, ashtray fog. As I ominously glanced all around, debris and ashes fell, surrounding me like snow; and people began running in every direction, covering their heads with suitcases and school bags as if the sky was suddenly falling. A blanket of dark soot coated the streets, and shoes were lying there from those who had desperately run out of them. My shaken legs suddenly melted to jelly and my hands began to tremble as I headed towards the burning buildings. Panic began to overwhelm the streets of New York, and I, along with many others, watched in horror as innocent citizens began to sacrifice their lives by jumping out from high story windows. By this time, many of us had already hurried our different ways once we saw the frightened faces of those needing to be helped. However, as each one of us left that office, we willingly looked each other in the eye, as if whatever lay ahead of us was nothing compared to what we knew, lay within each one of us.
When this early morning chaos had tragically diminished, the sound of silence gradually overcame our nation and here we were, left with only memories. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives still desperately clutched the phone as it continually beeped, signaling a dead end to the life once helplessly breathing on the other line. Their last goodbyes began to rewind and play back in their minds as they thought of how to tell their children that their daddy or mommy left for work one morning and was never going to return home.
Because of this act of terrorism, it was the feeling of sadness and despair that overwhelmed us all that day. It was seeing these familiar faces continuously fade on the television set as if our life was now just a few momentous pages in a scrapbook. And as we remember, we reflect on those who jumped, those who died, and those who yet, barely survived. I remember my “second family,” those friends of mine that were irreplaceable, unforgettable, and now too buried under all the debris. For there will never be a day when I can wake up one morning and not have the familiar scent of maple and rubber boots following me. For there will never be a day where I will forget that look in your eye that replicated in me, what had always lied in you. For there will never be a day when I will ever forget being a firefighter on that “Black Tuesday” that silenced us all.





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