The Anniversary of 9/11 Hits Home for Matt Pidich
September 11th for most people is a day of distant remembrance, but for the Bats’ Matt Pidich and his family, the day is a reminder of how lucky they are to have each other. Pidich grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey and unlike most kids in his area, both
September 11th for most people is a day of distant remembrance, but for the Bats’ Matt Pidich and his family, the day is a reminder of how lucky they are to have each other.
Pidich grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey and unlike most kids in his area, both his mom and dad worked at the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, Pidich was in first grade, attending school as usual until he was called to the school office for early dismissal. “Typically, I went to before school care and after school care, just because my parents had to commute into the city by train, so they had to have a lot of time to commute so typically I just got dropped off at seven o'clock in the morning and then was there until six o'clock at night,” said Pidich. “So, I got called down and it was kind of weird because I had no idea what was going on. My dad picked me up and I found out afterwards that he didn't go into work that day because my grandma had to go to the hospital.” Despite the unfortunate circumstances, that was blessing number one for the family on that day.
Although just six years old, Pidich recalls almost everything about that day. “We got back to my house and my neighbor Joe from across the street was at our house and I thought that was weird,” Pidich said. “My dad and Joe were standing in the living room watching the TV, watching the news, and my dad told me not to look at the TV. I had been to the Trade Center many times, so he said don't look at the TV. Me being a kid, I was rebellious, and I looked at the TV and I saw what was going on and I obviously saw that the building was on fire.” Still unsure of the full effect of the events, Pidich went on with the day, waiting for his mom to come home. “I just assumed that my dad had talked to my mom already and that everything was okay,” he said. Finally, around 6:30-7 pm that evening, relief came. “I forget how she communicated to say that she was okay, but she ended up coming home at like 6:30-7 o'clock at night, it was late, and she was just covered in soot, it was crazy. We were all just relieved,” Pidich recalled, adding “she ended up walking the whole city with one of her co-workers and they eventually got a ferry because everything was down, all the radio antenna towers I guess were down, so there was no service anywhere in the city.”
Thankfully for Pidich and his family, his mom made it home safely, but not everyone made it home that day. His mom worked on the 88th floor of Tower One and most of her co-workers never made it out of the building. There were countless heroes in New York that day, including those in the burning building. “They saved a lot of the people that she worked with, they were heroes, some of her co-workers went up instead of down to get people out because a lot of the staircases were blocked off, you couldn't just open the doors. It's a tragedy that something like that had to happen but because of some of those people, a lot more people got to live, which is pretty cool,” Pidich said. To Matt, his mom is a hero in her own right. “One of her co-workers was in the bathroom at the time that the plane hit and the fireball the impact came through the ceiling and burned her. So, my mom and another one of her co-workers were helping her down the stairs, because she could barely walk,” he said. Despite the effort, her co-worker didn’t make it, “by the time the fire fighters reached them, they told my mom and her co-worker they had to go and that they would take care of her, but she didn't make it,” recalled Pidich.
Given the extraordinary circumstances of his mom’s safe arrival home and the incredible fortune of his dad never going to work that day, Pidich thanks God for his life and his family every day. “I feel lucky and blessed every day now that God gave me both of them. I don't know if I would be here. I don't know where my life would be. I don't know truly what kind of person I would be if I didn't have my parents.” As he has gotten older, Pidich says he understands the events more and more each year, “that was 2001, this is 2022, almost 21 years later now, every year it hits a little bit differently because I'm able to process it and understand a little bit more. When I was younger, I obviously knew it was a crazy day and all that stuff, but now I don't know if I could be sitting here today, if my life would be the same.”