• Takisha Ogunyemi

No Regrets, accept your past, even the tragedies. My first time accepting that 9/11 had to happen.

I want to start off by letting you know that I have never spoken or written about my personal experience with 9/11. I attempted to last year, and wrote a whole blog and did not go into any detail because I wasn't ready. Never even posted the blog. It's hard for me, very hard to be that vulnerable, that open. You see, once I get through something, I lock it up, all the memories of it and move on, and that's just what I did. I locked it up and moved...on. I was a senior in college at this time. I was working part-time in the Mercy College's Admission's office and I was maybe 30 minutes at work when it happened. I was working at the Bronx campus, so I was nowhere near it however, it was one of the most horrific days of my life. It was absolutely terrifying. Everyone was in a panic, not knowing what was going to be hit next with a plane. What building or area was next to be targeted, left everyone afraid and frozen. It felt like a war zone and all you could do was pray. All public transportation had stopped and life was frozen. Just when I felt somewhat safe, I received a call. As I am typing this, I am tearing up. It was an experience I never want to have to go through in my life ever again; and that would not be physically possible to do today anyway. You see, I was no where near the Twin Towers, however my mother was. She was a Social Worker at the time for New York Department of Children Services (ACS), and one of her clients had an appointment either in the Towers or near the Towers.

I remember the call like it was yesterday. She said, "Takisha, I am down here, there is smoke everywhere, there is no public transportation and no cars are able to drive in the streets, I am going to follow the crowd and walk across the bridge...". My mother was a survivor however it wasn't without any consequential effect on her, or on me. I mother suffered smoke inhalation and developed terrible anxiety, that had crippled her unemployed. We sought out assistance from FEMA, and was told to do this, that and the other, in which she just wasn't capable to do at time. Her sister, my aunt Dee Dee, had moved to Virginia a few months prior to 9/11, and told my mother to come and move with her; to get out of New York. My mother without any hesitation, packed up her and my younger sister, left her condominium in Co-Op City and moved to Virginia. I continued to submit the documentations required to FEMA, and for months and months, we waited. Finally, after 3 or so months, FEMA decided to issue my mother almost $3,000 for disaster assistance. No more assistance was provided, no follow-up, absolutely nothing! Our lives had changed and It was never going to be the same. Soon after I graduated from college, I moved to Virginia to be with my mother and help her through this rough time. It took her almost 3 years for her to get back on her feet. That was a load I wasn't ready to carry, but one thing that positively came out of 9/11, that I can now understand is, it needed to happen. That tragedy needed to happened for everything else that happened after to take place. It taught me and most people to understand, to remember, the value of God(love), life and unity; without these, our country would not have made it through, especially our SURVIVORS.