Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 07 September 2012 00:00
I wasn’t alive when John F. Kennedy was shot, but anyone who was can describe what they were doing, when and how they were doing it at the time the president’s death was announced on November 22, 1963.
Sadly, I can say the same, just more than a decade ago.
I was sitting in second period Earth Science at Sewanhaka High School; Mr. Maser’s class, wearing an Amani Toomer New York Giants jersey, taking notes on sedimentary rocks when the announcement came over the loudspeaker. We weren’t sure what it meant. The call made it sound like an accident.
Maybe it was intentional to not startle the students…but seconds after the public address system announced that two planes had hit the World Trade Center 11 years ago, Mr. Maser had a look on his face I had never seen before. He seemed worried.
If you ever had the pleasure of learning from Kevin Maser, you’d know he was a man of action, discipline and commanded respect and undoubtedly returned it to you twofold. I couldn’t put my finger on what it could possibly be, but the rest of the class felt uneasy and when I left the room, the building itself felt uneasy.
It wasn’t until seventh period, when I was walking out of the lunchroom when a fellow student of mine, Chris Strachan, ran up to me and said my mother was looking for me. At that point I knew something was wrong. I jogged down to the principal’s office from the third floor and saw my aunt Denise sprinting down the hall, saying we had to leave. My mother Adeline turned the corner as Denise caught up with me.
Children were crying, adults looked frazzled and everything seemed to have gone awry. Denise and mom explained to me what was happening as we reached the parking lot, not sure what was next.
My brother Joe was supposed to be in Manhattan that morning, but overslept…thankfully.
Every channel had the footage of the horrifying scene. ESPN, Starz, HBO…you name it. There were no live look-ins to baseball games, Superman wasn’t playing on TV, although we needed him then more than ever and The Sopranos weren’t hogging the small screen that day.
The news footage looked almost as if it were plucked out of a film. People running from dust clouds and sprinting to nearby stores to dodge soot caking New York City streets; one of the many visuals that will be hard to forget…but I guess we never will.
The brave men and women who risked their lives and future health to run toward the horror when everyone else was running away from it should be commended for their service and sacrifice ranging from the NYPD, FDNY, clean up crews, the armed forces and the like.