Kansas City Remembers 9/11

Ruth Baum Bigus

A strange day, month

Overland Park KS

I was working for the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, with offices in the Jewish Community Campus near Sprint. Someone came in about 8:50 and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. While we speculated that it must have been some horrible accident, the events of the day began to unfold. I went with my boss down to the conference room, turned on a television and we watched--and in disbelief saw the towers fall. It was like watching a movie, but we knew it wasn't fiction. Quickly thereafter, I checked on our children, two of whom were in school in the building, Being a Jewish institution, there were immediate security concerns, but we figured we were safer staying put. Fast forward three weeks later when I flew to NYC on a pre-planned trip with my aunt. There were about 10 of us on the flight, using plastic forks and knives to eat--but real glass for wine glasses.We visited restaurants, attended Broadway shoes in nearly empty theaters. Everyone stopped and thanked us for coming despite the terror attacks-we felt it was the very least we could do to show these terrorists that life goes on. I remember telling my aunt that we must go see ground zero to believe it really happened. I will never forget wandering through the NY streets seeing tanks and armed soldiers -- this was not a war zone, it was my country! I was particularly struck by the inches of dust on new fall sweaters in a Gap store near the towers, glass blown from its front as we passed. There were the hundreds of candles around the site and at fire houses all over. New Yorkers were so friendly and glad to see us. We thanked everyone we saw for demonstrating their resolve to go on, giving hugs, a kind word -- anything to bolster them and ourselves that someday the world would return to normal. Now 10 years later we continue to battle terror -- and hope we will never exhibit another day like it.

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