By: Sean Crose
The rain was torrential that day in Manhattan. I had taken the Metro North down to Grand Central in order to meet my sister that night for dinner. I arrived early enough in the afternoon to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as to walk around the city, enjoying its unique vibe. The rain, however, forced me at one point into the Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble. There, I came across one of those oversized boxing-related books, the kind loaded with terrific photos. Honestly, I forget whether or not the book was about George Foreman or Muhammad Ali. It was Foreman, however, who had written the introduction.
And, all these years later, that intro has stayed in my mind, for Foreman – perhaps Ali’s most notable ring victim – admitted he had come to realize he could never have beaten Ali in the ring. That, I thought to myself, took guts. And hard-core maturity. And a spiritual enlightenment that few of us would most likely ever enjoy. Hours later, after dinner with my sister and some time hanging out, I caught the Metro North back up to Connecticut. I remember leaving the city at 11:30 that evening. The next morning, I was woken by a call informing me the first of the two twin towers had been hit.
There really is no need to write endlessly of what my personal experiences were like on September 11th, 2001. My sister, whose Lower East Side apartment offered a clear view of the towers while they stood, got through the nightmare unharmed, and I lost no friends or loved ones. It seems only fair that those more qualified (who experienced the horror firsthand, who lost loved ones, who took part in the seemingly endless attempt to provide rescue services) be the ones to share their experiences. It’s their story more than anyone else’s, really.
As for me – ridiculous as it might seem these twenty years later – I’m glad I escaped the rain by slipping into that Barnes & Noble. Those words of Foreman’s have stayed in my mind as symbols of what it’s like to have perspective in life, even regarding things which hit us hard, and not in a good way. My memories of that September 10th in Midtown will always be clouded by the horrid memories the following day brought with it – but at least, in the recesses of my mind, there’s some light to be found in all the darkness.