Thirteen years ago I was a mere three weeks into my freshman year of college.
Thirteen years ago I was passing through the student center after an early morning class when I saw a huge group of students huddled around the TV.
Thirteen years ago I joined that group just in time to see the South Tower collapse. I was still standing there half an hour later when the North Tower fell.
Thirteen years ago I sat in the dorm room across from mine with two girls I barely knew and watched the news for hours. We knew each other very well after that day.
Thirteen years ago I watched as a girl on my floor tried to get in touch with her mother, who worked in the towers. She was safe, on her way to work but not quite there yet.
Thirteen years ago I watched another girl on my floor crumple to the floor in tears when she learned that her good friends had not, in fact, been on that United flight bound for Los Angeles, like she thought they were supposed to be.
Thirteen years ago I watched a roadblock set up at the entrance to lock down my predominately Jewish college campus located in the suburbs of Boston, ten miles from the airport where the planes took off. No one was allowed in or out without passing through security.
Thirteen years ago we all wondered what this would mean, and what would happen now.
Thirteen years ago today.
This morning on the train to work I sat next to two men who were talking about fleeing their World Trade Center offices on that day. We were sitting in the quiet car but not one single person told them to be quiet.
This morning Grand Central was filled with police and the extra security that always marks this day.
This morning I walked to my office in Manhattan. In this city that is my city now.
This morning I thought about the life I have built here and the memories that I have made here, and how proud I am to be here to experience the grit and glamour and energy of this city that is unlike any other.
This morning American flags lined my way to work, flying at half-mast to remind us all of the darkness of that day, and how nothing ever will be, or maybe should be, the same ever again.
Here are those flags.