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The yellow dress. It is my searing Sept. 11 memory. It was actually a couple of weeks after Sept. 11. The city still felt like it was in a fog. I was walking home from the office, crossing Park Avenue South and 19th Street. There was a group of people clustered on a corner looking up. My gaze rose and I saw a woman in a yellow dress standing on a window ledge, probably 10 or 12 stories up. I was no farther than 30 feet away. Before I could even think about what I was seeing, she was floating through the air, her yellow dress billowing in the wind. And then she hit the concrete right in front of me. I’ll never forget the sound of the thud because I heard it twice in quick succession; she briefly bounced. I didn’t know her, but she has remained in my mind ever since. I never learned why she jumped, but the confusion and sadness around the moment felt emblematic of the days and weeks that followed Sept. 11.
It was a defining time for so many of us around the country, as well as for those of us in New York and the financial industry. We all knew so many people who died. There was so much crying. And when the tears had dissipated, a sense of sorrow hung in the air while we all tried to muster the strength to come back.