Editor's Note: Libertyville resident Julia Randolph emailed me this evening to share her memories of 9/11.
"On Sept. 11, 2001, I was feeding my then one year old daughter early that Tues. morning. All the sudden, I remember people began calling me, including my husband from work. They all were concerned since we used to live in New York City. When I turned on the TV, the second building was just about to be hit, I was in shock. Not our beloved buildings I thought... I have some pretty cool pictures of those buildings! My husband and I used to go for long walks in the city ending up in Battery Park and the WTC buildings. I had just bought my first Canon camera and we would take pictures of New York City on the weekends. At the trade center, I would lay down on the ground with my camera between the 2 bldgs. in order to get a shot of my husband's head and the top portion of the bldgs. It turned out to be a cool picture. Then we would go up to the top and take pictures of the city, etc. We took pictures night and day. We also took our family up there at various times. We knew how far down the ground was and what it looked like from on top. The Statue of Liberty wasn't even the size of my thumb! So, when we heard about how people were having to make choices to jump off the top floors of those buildings, I and my husband personally knew just how far down they were looking. My heart ached knowing there were many people having to make such awful decisions for themselves. When the buildings began to fall, my husband and I sat on the phone together speechless and stunned. A week later, I was on a plane to LaGuardia to help the Red Cross. I stayed at a B and B next to our old apt. on the upper east side. I would take the subway down as far as I go in the city since the WTC subway stop was no longer. I walked to the wreckage site with my camera and took one more roll of the the buildings we once loved. The site was enormous, more so than it looked on TV. It was amazing how fast the city had cleaned up the dust in the area, but some stores left the dust in their windows for everyone to see. In Brooklyn, at the Red Cross headquarters, I heard stories of how traumatic those first days were, even for the volunteers. I was in awe of how all these New Yorkers were coming together for each other. I had always loved New York City and had always thought it was one of the nicest cities I had ever lived in...anyone will be happy to assist a lost tourist, etc. New York is a melting pot of people from all over and therefore a very accepting town to newcomers, no matter your accent ;). I also, felt oddly safe, for there were alot of military personal there ready to protect our freedom. Thank you service men and women! When I left the city for home awhile later on the plane, I took one last picture, but this was a picture of the Chicago skyline peeking through the clouds as we were flying over Lake Michigan. It is an awesome picture, and I hope it always stays that way! God Bless America!"