This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. While our country commemorates our shared national tragedy, for me, this milestone memorializes the abrupt end of my childhood and continues to impact my life in unexpected, life-shattering ways.
My father, Steven Jacobson, worked on the 110th floor of One World Trade Center. He served as chief broadcast engineer for WPIX and tended to the transmitter to maintain a clear and crisp TV signal.
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During thunderstorms, he would scale the ladder inside the tower’s 360-foot antenna to make his adjustments. Over the 22 years he held this job, the signal crashed for a total of only two hours. One time, he even revived the signal using his shoelaces.
On the special occasions that I would tag along, we climbed the extra flight of stairs from his office to the roof. Up there, no one else mattered but me and my dad. I felt like the queen of the world, overlooking the shrunken city that resembled a dollhouse sandwiched between the East and Hudson Rivers.
As a 10-year-old, I eagerly scanned the landscape for familiar landmarks. On the east side of the building, I spotted our apartment building on Grand Street, and to the north, ant-sized kids played in my elementary school’s yard. On a clear day, the impressive view rolled on for miles, stretching to the grey periphery framing the lush greenery of Central Park.