Kids and 9/11

A couple of minutes ago I was directed toward the above video, which was taken from a police chopper on 9/11. If you cannot handle images from that day, please don’t press Play. I watched because, even though I’m haunted by 9/11, I’m also riveted by 9/11. Hard to explain, but I think fellow New Yorkers who were in the city that day understand. At least to a certain degree.

My daughter Casey is 7. She was born in 2003. As far as she knows 9/11 never happened; there never was a World Trade Center; all those people never existed. This breaks my heart, but also makes sense. I don’t want her flying in fear every time we board a plane, and I certainly don’t want her cowering whenever we take an elevator. There’ll be a time and a place to tell her; a time and a place that’s near. Not yet, but soon.

Casey even knows that, had she been born on her due date of August 7, 2003, her name would have been Tyler. What she doesn’t know is the reason.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated about a former Columbia University basketball player who died in one of the Towers. He was a wonderful guy; just 23 and filled with vigor and love and life. In the aftermath of the story I became especially close with his family. They’re wonderful people forced to live a horrific nightmare. Here’s the article—easily the most meaningful of my career.

The man’s name was Tyler Ugolyn. His birthday was August 7.

2 thoughts on “Kids and 9/11”

  1. Amazing article Jeff. I did not know Tyler, but being from Ridgfield, came to know of him under horrific circumstances.

  2. While not a New Yorker, I certainly understand this sentiment. My heart literally hurts every time I see those towers. I find myself looking for them in movies that contain a New York skyline from that era.

    I recently watched the documentary Man on Wire about Phillippe Petit who walked a tight-rope between the two Towers. There was obviously lots of footage of the Towers and their construction. It was both painful and mesmerizing to watch.

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