Ten years later
CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, September 8, 2011) - It’s been ten years since September 11th 2001, but Chivas USA midfielder Nick LaBrocca remembers it like was yesterday.
“I was in the cafeteria at Christian Brothers [High School in Central New Jersey] when I first heard.” said LaBrocca, who was beginning his junior year. “I didn’t really believe what people were saying at first. After that, in the next class, they brought in a TV and we watched the news to see what was going on.”
For the students at Christian Brothers, the tragedy unfolding on that TV was hitting close to home, too literally. They were only a 35-minute train ride from Manhattan.
“There were a lot of families [involved], a lot of guys whose parents worked in the city.” said LaBrocca of his high school class. “Luckily I didn’t have any family members who were working in the city, but a lot of my friends had parents who did. A couple of them were lucky that they were late getting to work.”
As more and more details came through the news, LaBrocca and his classmates tried to piece together the events and make sense of what was happening.
“There was a lot of disbelief, a lot of not knowing what was going on.” remembered LaBrocca. “As soon as it happened, you hear a plane did it. You think, ‘one plane, that’s kind of weird, I guess there was a mistake or something’. But then you hear about another plane, and it’s ‘oh jeez, I wonder what’s going on?’ Then you hear about the Pentagon and of the other plane, the one that goes down in Pennsylvania.”
Just as things were starting to sink in, there was a moment LaBrocca will always remember. As he and classmates stepped outside, about an hour after the towers collapsed, they realized they could literally see signs of the destruction.
“You could see the dust clouds from New York creeping their way down.” he recalled. “It was a pretty intense moment. I still feel a sense of anxiety and nerves about it.”
For someone who grew up in and around the New York area, the lack of the towers was tangible. The train to Manhattan goes right by the World Trade Center site, and the first time LaBrocca visited the city after September 11th the lack of the Twin Towers was ‘eerie’ he remembered.
“I was fortunate not to lose anyone immediately close to me.” said LaBrocca. “You just felt you had to keep going, you can’t let this affect you, really. You have to continue to live somewhat of a normal life. It was a crazy time and its one thing that I’ll never forget; where I was at that moment. I still get the same feeling whenever this time of the year comes around.”