I’m sure we can all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in high school, my junior year, in Latin class. At that point, very few people had cell phones – and the ones that did had the very basic Nokia devices. Googling the news or watching live streams wasn’t even a possibility. Silence struck the rooms and the halls. We were all laced with fear and concern. When I came home from school that day, I remember the hugs my parents gave me. I remember the eerie silence and sadness at dinner that night. I think even then, as a teenager, I knew that nothing would ever be the same.

Fourteen years later, I moved to New York City. Despite the excitement and pride that I felt once I got here, I also knew that I had respects to pay. I knew that New Yorkers had a pain in their heart that I would never be able to understand. The first time I went to visit the 9/11 memorial, I was overcome with emotion. It was almost as though you could FEEL the loss. It was so incredibly moving. Every time I go back down to the site, I’m moved and humbled.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of that tragic day. It’s an anniversary that won’t be celebrated. It’s a day that will have every single person reflecting on the tragedy, remembering loved ones that are lost, honoring those that served and fell.

This will be the 6th year that I’m in New York City on September 11th. Every year, there’s always a silence that falls upon Manhattan. It’s almost like people whisper instead of talking. You catch people lost in their thoughts, gazing out the windows. Some people cry. It’s a day that affects everyone.

Since this year is 20 years since the attacks, you might be thinking about what you can do to honor those that lost their lives. It’s a bit tricky due to the ongoing pandemic and the safety measures that we’re all taking to stay safe, but there’s plenty that you can do to mark this historic day.

1. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

This location will be reserved for family members of those lost for health safety purposes. While the location will be highly trafficked this day, it’s best that you reserve this spot to let the victims’ families have this moment to mourn, honor, and grieve. This memorial is always open, so if you feel the calling to show your respects, please consider a different day of the week or later in the month.

2. Visit your local church or place of worship

Most holy locations will be holding special services on this day for people to pay their respects. No matter your belief system or religion, you’re bound to find a location that will fit your needs so that you can honor the anniversary in your own way.

3. Stream the experiences

Because of our place in the current pandemic, it’s also not a terrible idea to honor the day by staying home. Thanks to our streaming capabilities today, there are tons of documentaries that tell the personal stories of people affected by 9/11. You can revisit the day through other peoples’ memories, learn about those that lost their lives, and honor their memories through storytelling. I’ve done this a few times on select years, and it always leaves me humbled. I recommend this for anyone that is looking for a way to understand, cope, and mourn.

Like the Titanic sinking, Pearl Harbor, or the JFK assassination, anyone alive during historic events like this will never forget where they were when they heard about the attacks. I’ll never forget that day in Latin class, and I’ll never forget the feelings of sadness when updates continued to come in that day, that week, and that year. While I wasn’t in New York City when the attacks took place, I know people that lost loved ones. I’ve listened to the stories of those that were here, who they called, how they coped.

Now that I’m here, and now that I’ve seen the memorial and visited the museum, there’s a newly found relationship I have with the event. Emotionally, I feel connected. Our company will be holding multiple moments of silence on the day, and while I’m not a religious person, I do plan on paying my respects to the fallen. I plan on calling my family and telling them how much I love them.  I plan on going to bed that night, thankful for my life.

Category : Stay in New York