By all accounts, the New York City skyline was pristinely clear on a gorgeous Tuesday morning in September. I had just woken up for my usual Tuesday day off from my college classes. I went into the downstairs living room of my father's house and turned on MTV for no reason of particular importance to Christina Milian's song and video for her hit single "AM to PM." My father came down the stairs to the doorway to leave for his construction job at the new Palisades Mall. I very distinctly remember telling him "I love you," I didn't always. After deciding that I had some work I should be getting to, I went to my computer upstairs climbing in my handicapped-accessible manner. (I mention that part for those readers who wonder about such matters.) I checked my email and to started to work on my assignments for my classes as I was then a 20-year-old Sophomore at my local community college. I went about my business for at least an hour with my headphones playing my personal internet radio playlist filled with everything from Michael Jackson to Marvin Gaye and The Cranberries. Strangely even thought I recall that Cristina Milian song, I don't recall any songs that might have been playing as I was given the incredible news by my dad's girlfriend at the time, "Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center", she shouted."
I rushed back downstairs for some reason and I turned on the radio. It was set to 92.3 K-ROCK, the station that carried Howard Stern's radio show from New York City. It was already after ten o'clock and the damage had largely been done. Howard broke from his typical raw and jokingly lecherous character to be a kind of comfort to his listeners -- taking calls from friends, family and whomever happened to be on the phone lines at that moment. He seemed almost prayerful and while howard Stern had always been notoriously irreligious, his tone, though not religious, seemed to somehow call me to prayer on the living room floor as he gave updates. I spat out spirited rounds of Hail Marys and Our Fathers from my Catholic upbringing and wondered how for it would go. Who would or had already died that I know? What if the plane in Pennsylvania got to the White House or the Capitol Building? What if they hit the Indian Point nuclear power plant near my area? Was I going to die? I remembered what I last said to my father and in knowing that he would try to help that day, I wondered if I had seen him for the last time. I thanked God for everything I had been given in my life and asked forgiveness for where I had fallen short. I must have prayed for over three hours non-stop lying belly-down with my face buried in my folded hands
The YouTube videos below contain the audio of that special Howard Stern radio broadcast. Thank you, Howard. I will never forget this.
Let's roll... on!
To those lost on that day and especially Michelle Bratton: may the comfort of God find you well and happy always!