“Get up, son,” my mother said, tapping softly on the door of the bedroom of my childhood home in Missouri. “An airplane hit the World Trade Center.” I came awake a split-second later, my head full of memories. For years, I had wondered when the long arm of terrorism would strike again at New York. I thought of a sunny Saturday morning back when I was living in an apartment house on a hill north of the city. A small earthquake shook the building as I lay sleeping, and the groaning of the old walls woke me. I heard a soft whir through the open window, the rustle of the leaves on the shaken trees. It’s a car bomb, I told myself, unable for one stunned moment to conceive of any other possibility.
All these thoughts flew through my mind in the time it took me to pull on my pants. Then I trotted to the living room, there to behold the coming of the new age….
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Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 9/11 memorial concert on September 20, 2001. I was there: