Harrison Fields: On 9/11, I was 5 years old and son of an NYPD detective. I wondered, 'Is mommy alive?'

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I was five going on six-years-old, living in upstate New York, and the son of a single mother serving in the NYPD as a Detective in the Medical Examiner’s office on September 11, 2001.   

On that blue-sky morning, I remember St. Joseph’s Catholic School going on lockdown and there being an immediate concern in the air. My teacher rolled a TV into the classroom, and before my eyes were two familiar structures on fire

I was confused, but confusion soon turned into worry as I remembered that my mom worked near those smoking buildings

Soon, my grandfather, a retired NYPD Sergeant, came to pick up my two siblings and me from school. My grandmother was noticeably on edge, the phone rang non-stop, and my mom was nowhere to be seen or heard. Morning turned into afternoon, and still no sign of my mom—just the cold feeling of worry and fear. 


The towers collapsing, the Pentagon attack, and the crash in Shanksville, Pa., doesn’t serve my memory well but the towers billowing smoke and the feeling of fear will forever rest uneasy in my psyche.

Audrey Valentine  

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