That Day in September, by Artie Van Why
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Artie Van Why worked right across from the twin towers on that fateful day in 2001. This book is his personal account of September 11 and its aftermath on his life.
Written in a very simple style and self published, the book describes Artie's life in New York (how he ended up there and got discouraged while pursuing his dream to be an actor). He worked in a law firm's word processing center across from the World Trade Center, and on the morning of 9/11 he heard a horrifically loud boom above him. When he and his coworkers rushed out into the street, they saw people falling through the skies.
Van Why's personal account of his love for the World Trade Center and its surrounds, and the description of how the events of 9/11 affected his psyche, is touching and very personal. He speaks about going to an AA meeting at noon on that day and feeling so comforted and at home with others who had experienced similar trauma.
September 11 served as a wake-up call for Van Why. He realized that life is too short to work in an unrewarding job, coasting through life. He writes of how he tenses each time he hears an airplane overhead...or a siren.
I always think of 9/11 when I'm at the airport, particularly when I'm being dropped off by my family for a business trip. I was on my way out of town that morning and first learned about 9/11 in the airport lounge, as everyone was glued to the television overhead. Now when I fly away from my family, I always think of those people on United Flight 93, whose goodbyes to their loved ones were their last ones forever.
Artie Van Why now lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and works at a small theater. He moved to be closer to his parents. Take a look at this BBC News article to read an excerpt of the book--and view a slide show with Artie's memories. He found that writing about his experiences--and speaking about them live in a play--helped him process his profound, painful feelings and memories.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.