Jessica Sporn, a local actress and artist, lives in Glen Ridge.
As my children and I walked to my car at 8:15 AM on September 11, I remember noticing the brilliant blue of the sky, and the clearness of the air, and thinking — this has got to be one of the 10 best days ever.
After dropping my older daughter off at the Ridgewood Avenue School, I brought my baby over to my friend’s house on Forest Ave., because we were sharing a babysitter at that time. When she came to the door, my friend told me that she had just heard that a commuter plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I went home to watch the news.
As I watched, the newscasters all seemed to think that the plane was small and that this was an accident. But then, right before my eyes on the television, a second plane flew directly into the second tower. As the
flames poured forth, I thought, this is no accident. I woke up my husband, who had worked the night shift the previous evening, and who had not gotten home until 5 am, and said he had to watch this with me. It
was too horrible. As we watched together, one of the towers appeared to crumple. My husband thought it was behind all of the smoke, but then it was gone. And of course, the next one followed.
For most of the day, I was unable to contact my father, who works at the South Street Seaport, my sister, who was supposed to attend a meeting at one of the towers at 11 am, or my cousin who, as it turned out, had luckily missed her train in New Rochelle, and was therefore late for an 8 am breakfast meeting at Windows on the World. (None of them were hurt.) Plus, I used to practice law at Cleary Gottlieb, located at One Liberty Plaza, directly across from the WTC. In fact, the lawyers at Cleary who faced the WTC had “waving relationships,” with people on the corresponding floors across the sky, as we could see directly into each others offices. So I worried about my friends there too.
As the hours passed, I gradually learned that my family and friends were safe. However, the best man from a very close friend’s wedding was missing. Although I only knew him from social gatherings, I lived through the pain of my friends, as they searched for him, tried to stay hopeful, and then finally accepted the reality that he wasn’t coming back.
That evening, four other moms from Glen Ridge came over with their children, and we all cried together for all the pain, all the losses, all of the children who lost parents, and parents who lost children, and for the future of our children, whose America was forever changed.