We grew up on a small 13 mile long island off the Eastern Seaboard called Manhattan.

Watching the news today on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 is hard, but reading the stories of our closest friends and families who lived through the chaos and terror brings a sense of strength and togetherness that might be hard to imagine when you realize that tiny island just happens to be inhabited by nine million people.

I missed school that day and woke up to calls from my dad about how there was some type of fire down the block from his office and I should turn on the news. He had worked in the WTC during the first bombings and worked only a few short blocks away on 9/11. I ran to the roof of our building just in time to watch the second building collapse. My dad walked home that night, 13 miles from one end of the island to the other, covered in dust and eyes full of tears. I remember seeing the soot in his nose and ears and crying. The stories I heard in following days were too emotional to repeat.

Today, eleven years later, through the magic of social media I can still follow the stories and recollections of friends and relatives. Reading these stories of our friends- people who lived through that day- I can hear their voices and know for sure that this is without a doubt the greatest city in the world.