I was not in New York for 9/11. I was in Boston, in my dorm, watching on TV. At the time, my sister was living in my old apartment in Brooklyn and took the train under the World Trade Center every morning to get to work; my first priority was making sure she was OK. (Thankfully, she was.)
I had been dating Mrs. Quickish for a few months -- she worked up by the Empire State Building and was evacuated. She lived downtown and it was not a place you wanted to be; she joined me up in Boston for a few weeks. When I took her back to NYC -- my first visit back since 9/11 -- I was overpowered by the smell, which persisted for months, and the horrifying mosaic of homemade "Have you seen him/her?" signs by friends and loved ones of people who were missing.
My inconsequential contribution to the media cacaphony was an essay in the business school newspaper the following week. The takeaway is that everyone -- inside and outside of the school -- was impacted in their own way, but the way communities collectively came together (schools, cities, organizations, friends) should be a source of strength, even in the face of harrowing events.
Ten years later, I feel the most pain for those most directly impacted -- people who lost loved ones, first-responders who got sick (and their families who face the burden), the firefighters and police officers, the soldiers.
There is going to be a lot of tributes during NFL games today -- some are heartfelt (Mark Herzlich's tweet, which you can see on Quickish), some seem maudlin (the gaudy red-white-blue shoes worn by players, whose hearts I know are in the right place).
I hope the commemoration bring some measure of comfort to everyone impacted that, once again, the way we can support ourselves collectively is our greatest strength.