My brother was living there when it happened.
Frantic doesn't begin to describe how we felt. All the phone lines were dead. Cell service was gone. All we had were the news cameras and the flames. And then... then the unthinkable happened. The buildings fell.
Not knowing was the worst part.
Nerve-wracked, we waited by the phone in case somebody called with bad news. Or in case my brother called. To our great relief, my father managed to get through via a land-line. My brother was alright. He was alive.
A huge wave of relief washed over my whole family who were gathered in front of the television that day, but I'll never forget the terror I felt not knowing if my brother had died in NY while I sat helpless, watching it unfold on live television.
We went to visit shortly thereafter, to visit my brother and give him company after experiencing first-hand such a terrible tragedy.
Of course, we did go to ground zero. Going to ground zero was a solemn and hollowing experience.
On the way back to my brother's apartment, we walked by a fire station and there was a dalmatian sitting in the entrance. I bent down to pet it and a firefighter came over to me and talked to me about his brothers he lost in 9/11.
I didn't know what to say, so I just said thanks for sharing his stories with me. And I said thank you for your service. He asked where I was from, and I replied, "Montana." He was impressed by the fact that I'd come from so far away. And I thanked him again before parting ways.
I'll never forget that. It's just one of those memories that sticks with you.