Being a church singer, I was off to my church on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, to sing at mass. But when I arrived at the church, the pastor asked me where my husband, Barry, worked.
I told him that my husband was on his way to the World Trade Center for a meeting. That’s when the priest told me to pick up my son, Michael, at school and to go home immediately.
At the time, I had no idea why he would say that. Then I turned on the radio in my car, and I could not believe what I heard. I raced over to pick my son up at school. He was already crying, thinking that his father could be dead. I started crying, too.
We came home and tried endlessly to reach my husband, but all communications were down.
We finally saw him walking down our driveway at 5 pm that evening. He had stayed near the World Trade Center to carry several elderly and disabled people who couldn’t make it over the Brooklyn bridge.
He was covered from head to foot in white ash, and was holding his hat over his face so he wouldn’t breathe in any more of the dust.
He literally looked like a ghost, but we were so happy to see him, because he was one of the lucky ones who made it home. My son’s godfather, Joseph Calandrillo, died when the first plane hit and my cousin’s husband, Anthony Dionisio, was also killed that day.
Joseph was one of the nicest people I had ever met in my life. His wife, Debbie, still hasn’t gotten over the fact that her husband was “murdered” that day.
Every year on or around Sept. 11, I make it a point to sing the Alan Jackson song, “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning” at my church as a tribute to Joey, Anthony, and all the firefighters and police who gave up their lives on Sept. 11. May they all rest in peace.