Many of you may not know that Suzanne Bowen, creator of the BarreAmped method, worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines 14 years ago today when our nation’s history and future would be changed forever by the tragic events on 9/11. Today, Suzanne shares her story of the night and day we all remember. Soon after 9/11, Suzanne started working at the Lotte Berk Method — the original barre method in the States. She fell in love with barre and eventually moved South and evolved the method, creating BarreAmped. She finishes her story saying “Life does go on,” and for all of us who have been changed by this method we CELEBRATE this Truth. We celebrate, we remember, and we will not forget the losses and the lives that changed our future.
Fourteen years ago last night, I was scheduled on a flight back to NYC from Denver as a JFK based United Airlines flight attendant. After arriving home late at night, via the subway and a cab, I was dead tired. I had no idea how my world was about to change.
I remember we had a mouse in our apartment who had eaten my Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bar that I had left on my loft bed. LOL! It had ripped up the wrapper and shredded it all over my bed. None of the chocolate was left. I slept on the bottom bunk in my roommate’s bed but I knew that little mongrel was running around somewhere. I am still surprised I slept!
Late the next morning (about 10AM) I was eating breakfast and watching Fashion Week planning to head over to Crunch on Broadway to work out when I heard screaming in the street from my Greenwich Village apartment. My neighbor, Sumati, started banging on my door to tell me our city and country had been invaded by “bombs.” He said, “maybe terrorists!” He was probably late to the game because he didn’t own a TV. He came in and we turned to the news only to see all the horrific events unfold. I ran up five more flights to the roof and found the super and another man telling me it wasn’t safe, but I could see two black clouds shooting way into the sky.
I realized I needed to call my parents and FINALLY got a line out to them. They had been watching what was happening on TV and hadn’t been able to get through to me. They were distraught. I remember when my mom answered, she was hysterical. While they were relieved to hear I was safe, many more people worldwide, but especially in NYC, Boston, and DC, learned that their loved one was not.
I remember walking outside and seeing bewildered people covered in ash aimlessly walking north because they had escaped. I remember the first missing poster sign that went up. (That sign of a jolly bald man who seemed about 70 and was probably a grandfather. His poster still makes me cry.) I remember all the posters to follow. I remember the smell. The Smell. So disturbing. So tragic.
I remember the vigil in Washington Square Park. I remember feeling no hope, for at that time, I didn’t know Hope.
I remember, in my dreams, seeing hateful people with the most evil grins who STILL HATE flying planes…into me. I remember the fear; the insomnia.
Walking through the village, I remember people clapping for me as I wore my wings and rolled my bags through the streets on the way to the subway for my first flight. (As IF I were some sort of hero– um, let’s clap and stand up for our POLICE OFFICERS, FIREMEN, and MILITARY!!!) but still, I felt proud to be an American and I appreciated their honor.
I remember the flight meeting and the somberness of our brave pilots who had lost friends and who were likely quite frightened themselves since it was one of the very first flights to leave NYC since the attacks. I remember being so afraid and calling my mom from the tiny bathroom. She prayed Psalm 91 over me and the whole time I was thinking in my mind, “I wish I were as naive as she is to believe in the ‘cop out of a God'” though somehow she and her prayers made me feel better.
I remember walking through the plane full of desperate-to-get-home passengers all clapping for the crew. I remember how they all had to pledge to stay in their seats on that six hour flight. I remember there was no alcohol served and we were to stay in our jumpseats after two of us served 130 economy passengers their meals. It took us about three hours! They were so thankful and so polite.
I remember how we all cheered when we landed.
And I remember the camaraderie of our country having patience, helping others, and showing love that was simply amazing. Especially in NYC. Even in the subway. Sadly, it was also short lived.
Regardless, I will NEVER forget. Please don’t forget.
Pray for our country. Pray for our law enforcement and military. With the threats coming from those filled with hate even inside this country even now toward law enforcement, our men and women of service need our support and prayers. God Help Us!!!
I am glad that not so long after that horrific event I asked God to show me if He were real… And He did. In a BIG way. He Is. He Really Is. God Bless Us.
Oh, and the super who told me to leave the roof ended up coming to my apartment the next day to catch a very fat mouse. Life does go on. But we must not forget.