Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Post: Artie Van Why

Not too long ago, Artie Van Why sent me a review copy of his very touching memoir: That Day in September.

Synopsis (from the back of the book): We all have our stories to tell of where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. This is one of them. In That Day in September Artie Van Why gives an eyewitness account of that fateful morning. From the moment he heard "a loud boom" in his office across from the World Trade Center, to stepping out onto the street, Artie vividly transports the reader back to the day that changed our lives and our country forever.

After reading and reviewing the book (click title above for my review), Artie and I have exchanged emails and he has very graciously agreed to write a guest post for the blog. Please read on for Artie's very moving follow-up to his memoir.

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In the 8 years
since I moved from New York City in 2003 to Lancaster, PA I hadn't been able to go back. Not even to visit friends. Though I left the city for, what I consider, a right reason (to be near my parents), I had to deal with a fair share of guilt for having left New York. Even though it was two years since 9/11, I still considered the city recovering and rebuilding. I felt as though I had neglected and left my family after the loss of one of our love ones. I know, rationally, the guilt was not warranted, but when in grief we don't always think in rationale ways.
It wasn't until this past April that I was ready to go back. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred to prompt this feeling. Perhaps all the hours of therapy were now helping me move forward. I just knew it was time to go back. To face what I feared the most; seeing Ground Zero again.
I knew I didn't want to go alone, so my parents and my sister and I took the train from Lancaster into NYC on Good Friday. We were there less than 24 hours. But it was enough time to do what needed to be done.
Going back to where it all happened was, as I knew it would be, very emotional. I stood there and cried; my family comforting me. With the construction taking place in the spot where the WTC once stood it's hard to remember just where every building was. But no matter what is there now, or will be there in the future; that spot will always be "Ground Zero" to me. I also consider it sacred ground; the burial site of many.
I didn't realize how healing it would be to be able to point out to my family just where my path led me that morning. To be able to point to a certain part of the street and say "that's where this happened" or "that's the direction I ran."
Looking back now I wonder what I was so afraid of. I think the fear of being there was far greater than actually being there. I left Ground Zero and the city believing I had taken a tremendous step towards moving back into life. It might have taken these ten years, but healing takes as long as it takes.

1 comment:

Karen C said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us.