Footprint/water fall Tower #1 North Tower
(photo courtesy of Rory Etherington)
In September 1980, I moved to New York City. I didn’t have a work permit to work in the U.S.; however, I was able to work off-shore so I hit the pavement and applied at various consulates. Much to my surprise, upon return that day I had an interview set up to work at the Australian Meat and Livestock Corp. at the WTC, specifically the North Tower, 32nd Floor, the tower with the antenna, I used to say. I got the job as office manager and because I also lived downtown, I could walk to work every day. Little did I know back then that life would change so drastically in a few short years.
I loved living in New York City. It was so alive and so vibrant. I walked every day past the stock exchange and Trinity Church. As long as the towers were within my view, I knew I was going the right way.
Working for the Aussies was quite an experience. I learned everything I needed to know about lamb and good Fosters beer which was always in supply in my boss’s office. Many times we would be taken out to lunch at Windows of the World. I had a hard time with heights and would plaster myself against the wall and put up a brave front. But, for a Canadian girl from a small town, this was pretty exciting, to say the least!!
One memory I have while working in my office was a distinct sound. A long creaking sound, then silence followed by another long creaking sound. Finally I asked my boss what was making that sound. It was the building swaying when the wind kicked up…7 feet one way, 7ft the other way.
I loved the twin towers. I loved eating lunch outside and marveling at their gorgeous presence in New York City and I was so happy to be a part of living there. Anyone who visited us was always treated to the overlook in the south tower. I felt like I was giving them a tour of my buildings. And, of course, who could resist a nightcap at the Windows of the World. Living a stones throw away from it all had its perks even though downtown New York was very quiet back then.
Fast forward to 911. I was in the living room in my home in Edgewater watching Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer when the news reported a plane hit the tower. I saw the 2nd plane hit the other tower. I was numb. How could this possibly be? By this time, the Australian office had shut down and I knew of no one except my dentist who I hoped was able to escape since his practice was on the ground floor. Words cannot describe the horror I felt that day as did so many millions of people.
I visited Ground Zero and my reaction was of heavy heart. It hit me hard. The towers were gone and I could not find my way to them. That was crushing. But seeing the work being done gave me faith that we will persevere.
I wanted to go back and visit the 911 Memorial with my son who I would take up to the observation deck when he was less than a year old. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel. The memorial was breathtakingly beautiful and done in such a tasteful manner and to see hope rise again in the Freedom Tower released me from all the pain I had felt all these years. And, I could find my way around town again because all I had to do was look up and see the Freedom Tower.
Downtown New York has changed quite a bit since my day and it is all for good. Take time and visit the memorial. It will restore your faith in humanity and make you a proud American citizen. I know it did me!