A bell struck in four sets of five strikes is a 19th century New York tradition used to mark the death of a firefighter or noted community member.
I can't believe it's going to be four years already. It's amazing how time flies. We rang the bells at work today in recognition of the lives lost on 9/11, we do it every year and it always shoots me back to that day. I remember it vividly. At the time I was on a late schedule and I didn't start work until ten. I always got ready to go to work while watching Fox News every morning, so I pretty much saw the second plane hit live. My mom was at the laundrymat so I went over to pick her up, I don't think she even knew. People on the radio, I was listening to Mancow at the time, were serious as cancer. Yes even him. It was insane, it was the most surreal day of my life. My dad was at work, he works downtown on the 80th floor in the AON Center, I wanted to check that he was okay and that he was going to be working. I don't remember if he was getting off early or if he just told my mom he was okay. I think eventually he did get off, but I remember that I had covered enough bases where I felt comfortable going to work. I'm still surprised that I actually went to work. I never missed, and I'm sure it wouldn't have been a big deal if I didn't go, I contemplated just waiting to see what else happened. Word came through about the other planes around this time, but part of me felt like I had this duty, this charge, that I needed to go to work. Was it duty, or was it just that I didn't want to be a coward? Simple machoism? Or did I really know it was going to be okay? I'm not sure. Anyway, the school I work at has a large population of middle-eastern students. Needless to say some people thought something could happen there, I was more concerned that something would happen to them. I think we all pretty much knew that terrorists were behind the attacks, but I wasn't so sure how we'd react. I have to say I'm proud of our city, of our kids, proud that they didn't lash out at the wrong people. Of course some people immediately pulled their kids from school, early dismissals and what not. They didn't want their kids at school with "those people". It was a minority though, but that made the day all the more hectic, I was neeeded and I'm glad I went. School was eventually dismissed that day, we had half a day or so, our prinicpal told us to go home to our families. No one really knew what the rest of the day held for us, but one thing we all knew was that things were never going to be the same. Empty skies, a deserted downtown, and countless hours of news coverage followed. It would be a long time before things were even close to normal.
It still seems surreal to me.