Cookies For Firemen

Cookies For Firemen

Me at the Statue of Liberty, with the World Trade Center behind me, 2001

In the days following 9/11, firemen got us through. In a city devastated by loss, we had a single bright spot, the fire fighters and rescue workers who risked, and lost, their lives for the people in the Trade Towers. On the night of the 11th, not knowing what else to do, we found ourselves back outside, standing in silence and solidarity with neighbors we didn't know. We stood shoulder to shoulder, staring downtown, weeping. Then a firetruck, covered in dust from the fallen towers, would come roaring uptown, lights and sirens blazing, American flag flying high. And we would cheer and clap and yell and cry. I remember this almost more than anything else. Because it's what kept me afloat in the dark waters of trauma and grief that I didn't know how to navigate. But I knew how to feel pride in my city, and I knew how to feel pride in the men and women going into those Towers day after day, when the rest of us were paralyzed with grief and fear.

In the 14 years since I witnessed 9/11, I have kept my feelings and memories of that day locked up. I am now trying to live my life with an openness around my experience and the affect it had on me. Tonight I baked cookies and hand-delivered them to my local fire house. John drove me there and waited while I went inside. I only spoke to one fireman, and I told him that I baked these cookies for their station as a thank you. I said that I was in 9/11. He asked me if I was in the Towers, and I said that no, I was outside on the street. His eyes filled up with tears and he said he can't believe what it must have been like to see it since it was so unbelievable for him to have watched it on television. I started crying and told him that I'm only beginning to deal with it and that delivering these cookies and saying thank you would help me. He took the cookies and very sincerely thanked me. I cried the whole way home.

The following pictures are mine from the night of the September 11, 2001.

Union Square, NYC, 9/11/01

Union Square, NYC, 9/11/01

Union Square, NYC, 9/11/01

Union Square, NYC, 9/11/01

Union Square, NYC, 9/11/01


P.S. More on my 9/11 trauma.

P.P.S. Unpacking my trauma, a work in progress.

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Thank You

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