Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th....I'll never forget....

A decade ago on this very day of September 11th, I was blissfully unaware of what was happening in the world. I was on a flight headed to Seoul, Korea to fulfill a 3 month modeling contract. Once I landed, I was picked up by my manager and taken to the apartment I would share with him and another model, Phillipe, who was from France. We had a nice, traditional Korean meal that night then I went to bed.

The next morning when I woke up I could hear the TV on in the living room. I thought nothing of it, went to shower, organized my new room and lackadaisically made it out to greet my flatmates. The minute I walked into the living room I noticed what looked to be footage of the Twin Towers with smoke billowing out from them. The news coverage was in Korean, I had no idea what to make of be honest, I assumed it was a clip from a film, or some hoax, just not the actual Twin Towers being attacked & destroyed. My manager was looking at me with his eyes and mouth wide open. At this point Phillipe walked out of his room and also stared at the TV confusedly. I started asking my manager what was going on and he frantically started changing channels until he found the BBC. We sat in silence for what seemed like hours watching and listening. My skin was crawling, my heart was in my stomach, and yet I could still not fully wrap my brain around this being real. Everything that happened the rest of that day seemed like slow motion to me....I remember going to the phone and trying to call my family in LA and my boyfriend in Portland....and I wasn't able to get through to anyone. Phone lines were busy. I remember emailing my friends living in NY at the time. I remember just being stunned.

Over the course of the next few days I was able to get through to family and friends and heard that everyone I knew in NY was safe. I heard about how somber the mood was on all of the streets of every city in the US. Yet there seemed to be a new found sense of camaraderie and patriotism that arose from this devastation. I felt terrible for being so far away from my country during a time like this.

After fulfilling the jobs I had booked prior to arriving, I made the decision along with my North American manager, that it would be best and safest for me to go home early. After 2 weeks in Seoul I went home...I remember seeing armed guards not only in the airport in Seoul but also even in Portland which before this time was unthinkable. I arrived back to an America where everyone had a US flag on their car...something that in my lifetime I had never seen before. We were UNITED.

A year later I was in NY for a booking and went to Ground Zero. The energy surrounding the place was heavy. The pictures, candles and flowers on the fence around the church right by gripped my heart and brought tears to my eyes. So many people lost...fathers, mothers. children, grandparents....Tragic does not begin to describe this....To this day it is difficult to wrap my brain around what happened.

I will never forget the devastation of September 11th. I won't forget where I was, what it felt like to hear the news, and never will I forget the lives lost on that darkest day in our history. I pray none of us ever do.