Monday, September 11, 2006

On a day such as this

I want to write about two events today and both events happened on a day such as this. Beautiful, sunny, early autumn weather, a normal day in many respects. 11 September.


Danny and I had returned home from Germany the day before, where we'd been spending the weekend with a few of Danny's good friends from America and Europe. We'd stayed in the beautiful town of Bad Hamburg, just outside Frankfurt. It was a lovely weekend. We flew home on the Monday, and Tuesday morning Danny was back at work.

And then my mum rang. "Switch on the TV!! A plane has just hit the World Trade Center in New York!" Staying on the phone, we both sat and watched the events. A tragic and terrible accident? Very visual, whatever it was...the building being so tall and well known. And I'd seen them in real life a few times...they were completely, mind-bogglingly huge. Then the second plane hit. It was horrible. Reports of a third plane hitting the Pentagon, and another crash landing somewhere else. I was completely panic stricken. I have a very very dear friend, Lee, who works as an Art Director in an ad agency just a few blocks from the Trade Center (and who, in fact, designed my Scrappers Unlimited logo). At the time of course we didn't really know what was happening or when it was going to stop or whether, in fact, it would get worse and worse. All I could see on my TV was a sinister blanket of smoke choking the whole of Manhatten island and I knew Lee was in the middle of it...somewhere.

Funnily enough, Lee was literally in the middle of emailing me when the planes hit (and anyone who knows Lee will know that he is a shocker for phoning/emailing, so it was bizarre that he should be doing that right then. A twitch on the thread...). A second paragraph after the first normal chatter, where he explained that he'd just been stood at the office window with some colleagues, watching the first tower alight and discussing what a terrible accident it was, when he watched a second plane bank sharply and head straight into the other tower. He said all hell broke loose in the office...everyone scattered for phones, the internet, televisions...anything to make contact and find out what was happening. He finished his email by saying he had to evacuate and would be in touch later. I was then desperately trying to call New York and managed (much to his partner's complete amazement) to get through to his apartment. His partner told me he was fine and was walking home but could I call his parents in New Mexico and let them know he was okay, as neither of them had been able to get a line out of the city. His partner had also just stood on the top of their apartment building and watched the towers coming down. He was pretty shaky.


What he watched, what Lee saw, and what we all witnessed on TV was the murder of thousands of innocent people. Including this 28 year old 'proby' firefighter, assigned to Brooklyn Ladder Company 131 and covering for somebody else on the morning of 11 September. His name was Christian Michael Otto Regenhard. I am paying tribute to him just as one person chosen randomly from the 2,996 who died. There's more information about him here. He was a real person...not just a face and story... much loved by his family, who is no doubt missed and will be forever. God bless you Christian.

It was Lee's birthday the next day. It wasn't one of his best.

2002 - One Year On

11 September and I was in hospital. I was having an elective C-section because I'd found out the day before that my overdue baby was back to front, lying sideways, and had something blocking her path out into this world! My nursy friend Clare (who I spoke about last post) had on her NY t-shirt and was anxiously hovering around outside the theatre. Danny was with me, dressed up in greens (he said he looked like George Clooney in ER and I said things like, "I WISH!" and "In your dreams love!"). The weather was remarkably similar to the previous year's - bright and sunny and beautiful. Several of my friends had wondered whether I would perhaps change the section to the following day, as 9/11 seemed such a sad day to have a baby. "Hell no" were the words that sprang to mind. I was HUGE and I just needed to have this baby and soon!!

(Layouts created by me when I was a much newer scrapper!)

At 12.43pm my beautiful daughter, Celyn, was born. She was so, so beautiful. And completely perfect, weighing a fabulous 9lb 2oz. She was very much wanted and waited for and I loved her with all my heart from the second I saw her. And I thought about the people from the year before, and it occurred to me that bringing new life to this world on that day was somehow fitting.

So happy 4th birthday to Celyn. We've not long finished having her birthday party (jelly and ice-cream and pass the parcel with lots of screaming girls!) and I'm knackered!

And happy birthday Lee for tomorrow - love you.


Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for honouring Christian by introducing him to us today. My honouree's name is Michael Ragusa and he was also part of the same firehouse and team that Christian was. By all accounts, they ran into the building together.

Feel free to drop by my blog and read my tribute to Michael. The more that read him the louder I feel his voice becomes, albeit for just a brief amount of time.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Celyn! Hope she had a lovely day! :o)
What a lovely way of paying tribute to such a brave man. Thank you for sharing his story.

Carrie said...

Such a wonderful tribute... and happy birthday to Celyn!!