I was fortunate on Sept. 11, 2001. I just got to my job 10 minutes before it happened. I remember all the cocky yuppie banker's crying, slightly panicking while the older ones stayed focused with contacting family and making sure everyone in the office had a way home or could stay with friends. I was 5 miles from the attack zone, and one of my brothers who also works in Manhattan was NOT assigned that day to the office that was 1 block from Ground Zero. A quick check confirmed that none of my relatives or close family friends were in the Zone or near it. My brother and I met up, and waited in a Sushi bar for the only car exit off Manhattan (the 59th St. Bridge) to clear up so we could drive back to Long Island. Weird. All those people walking in one direction, no panic. Just somewhat dazed looking and a little scared, concerned, a lot of cell phones. And people constantly looking up at the sky. All the small businesses, shops and eateries were pretty much the same...just going through the motions of closing down or serving people and wondering what would happen next. Outside the radio, we didn't have a true picture of the horrible things taking place at what was the World Trade Center Plaza. We heard over the radio at the Sushi bar that the bridge was open to traffic. We got my brother's car and drove......Man, I will NEVER forget driving over that bridge and looking back at the smoking hole where the Towers once stood. The drive home was amazingly calm and orderly....no panic. We went pass a house that I've must have passed God knows how many times over the years, where a group of East Asian looking folk were standing on their porch, a big sign reading "God Bless America" next to an American flag. I briefly saw their faces and thought, 'Jesus, those folks are scared shitless....they're worried people are going to lynch them. We got home. My next door neighbor was a day care worker in a building within the 1 block radius of Ground Zero. She told me how she, staff and kids were put on a ferry at the Hudson River and taken to a safe point further down. Man, I counted my blessings that day. No one I personally knew was a victim or fatality. As we watched the news, all I could say was there but for the grace of God go I. In the following week, a poster in my neighborhood had a picture of one of the missing.....a guy who I did a couple of courses at community college with 20 years ago. I would once in awhile see him around town, and we would just briefly fill each other in on life after school (an inside joke among the people that survived community college). The guy was a family man who was trying to better himself.....he was doing pretty well until 9/11. It always bothered me that I didn't make the effort to know him better. A friend of mine who lives in Manhattan was out of the country when the attack came. She came home a month later and found out that several families in her neighborhood had lost their NY fire fighting husbands/brothers/fathers/companions. She knew those people as nice neighbors. Yes, I was fortunate that day....and can't forget just how fragile and short life can be.