That Day In September by Artie Van Why

That Day In September by Artie Van Why

I can still remember where I was when I heard the tragic news, as I’m sure most of you can. I was in sophomore year of high school and we watched the news that entire day, shedding tears for the people who lost their lives and for their families. As much as we can imagine what it would have been like to be there, we simply can’t. The terror, the helplessness, the confusion. Wanting to help the people trapped inside the World Trade Center, but knowing that there is nothing you can do. This is why That Day In September is such a powerful book; the author, Artie Van Why was there and he experienced all of it first hand. He was working across from the World Trade Center when the first plane hit and in this book he gives a chilling and detailed account of what he experienced that day.

The book jumps back and forth just a bit in the beginning, starting with when he first heard the news that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers and then going back to describe just how he ended up in New York City in the first place. It was interesting to learn about his life and the events that lead up to him taking a job right across from the towers.

I really appreciated his fond memories prior to the attacks. In particular he described the World Trade Center plaza as being an “oasis” for people who worked around the area. This was helpful for someone like me who has never visited New York City, much less the World Trade Center while it was still standing; through his memories I was able to form more of a connection and see exactly what everyone loved so much. Not only did he mourn the people who died that day, but he also mourned the loss of something he cherished very much: lunch time at the plaza, sitting by the beautiful fountain. We like to take things for granted and assume we’ll always have them around; the author had no clue that his last day at the plaza would truly be his last.

I found myself getting very emotional while reading. His emotions just jumped off the page and I couldn’t help but cry with him. The things he witnessed that day, scenes that no one should ever have to see, he will carry those around for the rest of his life. That day ended up changing his life forever. The book also details the days and months after the attack and the difficulties he faced even then trying to cope with what happened. Returning to work he was faced with seeing the rubble and destruction, a reminder of exactly what happened. It was heartwarming to hear just how unified everyone in New York City was; how people he didn’t even know would come right up and comfort him when the emotions and grief became too much to bear by himself.

I can’t describe how much I enjoyed reading this book. It’s not especially long, but it touched me immensely. I recommend this book to everyone and know I will be purchasing a copy to display proudly on my shelf.